5. VP, VP, VP: One of the political traditions that hasn’t been much affected by the coronavirus crisis is the unending jockeying among and speculation about who former Vice President Joe Biden will choose as his running mate.
The big storyline to keep an eye on the veepstakes this week is how the contenders choose to deal with the possibility of being picked. Act interested? Or pretend this isn’t even something you have ever considered or heard about?
So, Abrams is way on one end of the spectrum while Klobuchar is about as far as you can get on the other. Watch where the other major contenders — California Sen. Kamala Harris, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — land on the question this week.
And yes, they will all be asked about being VP. Over and over again.
4. Biden (still) struggling to break through: Quick, name how many times you either thought about or read about Joe Biden in the past week.
The simple truth is that Biden has found himself on the outside looking in on the national conversation since coronavirus gripped the country a month ago.
Yes, in that time, the former vice president won more primaries and became the de facto Democratic nominee against President Donald Trump. But all of that has been overshadowed by the coronavirus crisis — and Biden, who is not currently in elected office, has struggled to get his voice heard on the issue in any meaningful way.
It’s not for want of trying. His campaign has organized virtual press conferences, released policies aimed at combating the spread and put Biden all over cable TV.
But he still feels like a secondary or tertiary voice on the crisis. And it’s not at all clear to me how Biden can change that — given that he’s not going to be a governor or president in the next month. And he’s still largely confined to his house in Delaware due to stay-at-home orders.
3. A(nother) bipartisan spending deal?: Last week, the Payroll Protection Program — a fund established in the $2 trillion-plus economic stimulus package passed by Congress last month designed to help small business stay afloat — ran out of money.
But there were signs everywhere on the Sunday shows that a deal to provide another $300 billion for the PPP — as well as another $150 million for hospitals, testing and loan programs favored by congressional Democrats — is very close.
Which is noteworthy! Not just because Congress doing anything bipartisan is rare but also because of Mnuchin’s ability to negotiate with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
To be clear: Trump knew exactly what he was doing — and the likely outcome. He wants more protests. He wants to be able to cite them as evidence that the country wants to reopen, which is what he badly wants, too.
“I notice there were a lot of protests out there,” Trump said at Saturday’s daily coronavirus briefing. “And I just think that some of the governors have gotten carried away.”
1. How Trump lost the public: In the early days of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, Trump experienced a polling surge the likes of which he has never seen before in his presidency.
People gave him high marks — or at least a majority approved — of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and that translated in overall job approval numbers that neared 50%.
Those days are now long gone. Trump’s job approval numbers are back in the low- to mid-40s as a majority of the public now disapproves of how he has handled the coronavirus crisis.
The turn in Trump’s standing appears to be the growing view that he moved too slow to address the virus — and its impact on the American public.
Regardless, public opinion has turned on Trump over coronavirus — and it has returned his overall approval numbers back to where they were before this all began. The question now is whether his perceived too-slow handling of the virus pulls his numbers down even lower.