Amy Walter/Cook Report:

Can Biden Undercut Trump”;s Continued Advantage on the Economy?

Why are voters still willing to trust Trump on the economy, even as we are mired in the midst of an economic downturn?

A GOP strategist who has been involved in conducting focus groups of suburban voters tells me that Trump benefits from the fact that these voters don’t blame the president for the current economic collapse, and “they think it [the economy] was good before, why can’t he make it that good again?” This is true even of voters who tell them that they are voting for Biden this fall.

What is keeping these voters from supporting Trump is not that they are disappointed by the economy, but they are exhausted by the chaos. The three words that matter most to these suburban voters, said this strategist, are “Normal. Presidential. Leadership.”

A poll taken by the centrist Democratic group Third Way, and shared exclusively with the Cook Political Report, finds similar antipathy to the president’s overall behavior from suburban voters, even as they give him decent marks on the economy.

Remember, there was no model for a virtual convention. The DNC didn’t just have to fly the plane while building it, they had to invent the plane. This was a brilliant undertaking that will change conventions forever.

–; Geoff Garin (@geoffgarin) August 21, 2020

Chris Truax/USA Today:

Joe Biden battles Donald Trump for the soul of America. Our choice couldn’t be clearer.

There”;s no question that a lot of Americans believe in Donald Trump”;s world, but if they could, they”;d like to live in Joe Biden”;s.

American political conventions are an odd tradition. In theory, they are about formulating policies and choosing candidates. But it”;s been 68 years since a party risked not choosing a presidential candidate on the first ballot and probably longer than that since anyone really cared what a party had placed in its official platform.

Instead, political conventions are an opportunity for political parties to publicly work out a version of their ideal selves and display it to the nation. In one sense, all the speeches, including the nominee”;s, are just so much hot air. But in another, who gets speaking time at these conventions and what the nominee has to say gives you real insight into how these candidates view themselves and the country, and how they hope to govern.

.@JoeBiden isn’t that good an actor. That speech came from the heart and it reached mine.

–; Rich Galen (@richgalen) August 21, 2020

Dana Milbank/WaPo:

Biden speaks from a place Trump doesn”;t know –; the heart

President Trump has tried every dirty trick in the book –; and a few new ones –; to cast doubts about the workings of Joe Biden”;s brain. But Trump has been focusing on entirely the wrong organ. Biden”;s appeal is from the heart.

The Democratic presidential nominee, in the most crucial speech of his long career in public service, had no problem clearing the low bar Trump had set. The evening began with a clip of Biden quoting Kierkegaard and ended with him quoting the Irish poet Seamus Heaney.

But the power of Biden”;s acceptance speech –; and the power of his candidacy –; was in its basic, honest simplicity. The rhetoric wasn”;t soaring. The delivery was workmanlike (he botched an Ella Baker quote in his opening line). But it was warm and decent, a soothing, fireside chat for this pandemic era, as we battle twin crises of disease and economic collapse and we only see each other disembodied in boxes on a screen. Biden spoke not to his political base but to those who have lost loved ones to the virus.

A leader with empathy. A president our children can look up to. That”;s @JoeBiden. #NHPolitics

–; Joe For New Hampshire (@JoeForNH) February 7, 2020

Greg Sargent/WaPo:

Biden just brutally exposed Trump”;s sociopathy –; by telling simple emotional truths

Joe Biden”;s heartfelt convention speech effectively dramatized what will surely be one of the most compelling contrasts of the final stretch of the election. It”;s this: Biden grasps on a gut level that untold numbers of Americans feel like they –; and our country –; have been kicked hard in the teeth by events, by life.

President Trump, by contrast, will not or cannot demonstrate any ability to grasp this, either because it would require admitting to fallibility, or because he is incapable of empathizing with the suffering of others on a basic human level, or some combination of the two.

The overarching message Biden sent on the final night of the Democratic National Convention is that he grasps that truth because he has lived it himself. Just as crucial was his recounting of his efforts to wrestle with how to overcome those episodes of extreme adversity.

170,000+ deaths Think of them as customers so you understand it, Jesse

–; Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) August 21, 2020

Boston Globe:

Let the world watch the 2020 election

The United States should give access to international election monitors to fully evaluate our electoral process.

In its report assessing whether the 2020 US election needed international observers, the OSCE wrote, “;Elements of the electoral process that… merit specific attention include voter rights, registration and identification, security of election technologies, legal framework for and implementation of alternative voting methods, campaign finance, and the conduct of the electoral campaign, particularly online and in the media.”; That”;s a long list of processes that require attention, and the organization should do its best to monitor our election despite the obstacles to observing polling places imposed by some state laws.

A sign Biden”;s convention speech was effective: Rush Limbaugh complaining being couldn”;t give such an address without error for so long, says it”;s “;the prevailing theory”; that it was pre-recorded and stitched together

–; Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) August 21, 2020

David Lauter/LA Times:

Biden put “;character on the ballot”; at the DNC

Every challenger needs to find a way to get voters to see him or her as a potential president –; to transform in their eyes from just another candidate to the person behind that big desk in the Oval Office. To complicate the task, Joe Biden faced the unique problem of delivering a convention acceptance speech without a live audience, one that would not depend on the energy usually generated by applause lines.

The Biden campaign”;s solution: Give the speech the feel and framework of a televised White House address to the nation, a format that for many Americans conveys an almost automatic, subliminal sense of gravity and consequence.

And – when they met – Joe Biden rounded a corner, saw JJ and (much to JJ”;s surprise) yelled “;JJ”; like he”;d been waiting all day just for JJ Brayden & JJ”;s experiences with the VP are EXACTLY who Joe Biden is: .. he does care .. and Brayden & JJ are counting on all of us to VOTE

–; Alison Holmes (@AIisonHolmes) August 21, 2020

Tom Frieden:

COVID Epi This Week: The Peril and Promise of Immunity

Covid continues to spread in most of the US at rates too high for effective contact tracing, safe in-person schooling, or economic recovery. Important hints published this week about immunity.

Getting harder to track the virus. Test volumes all over the map are …; all over the map. Big increases (Alabama, Arkansas, NY, SC, TX), big decreases (Alaska, FL, LA, MS, WI), some stable (e.g. CA). Haven”;t seen any good data on reasons for testing decreases…;.

Don”;t count on herd immunity. Foolish academics suggest 20-30% threshold. Explain communities with 50% infection?! False dichotomy: not on/off, but degree. More people with protective antibodies, infection spreads slower. Spread is uneven, so communities remain vulnerable.

I’ve said it before, but by far the most hilarious end to the 2013-2020 debates over demographics would be a Biden win powered by a huge shift among seniors. Not a path many people were talking about.

–; Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) August 21, 2020

Sen John McCollister, Omaha said he’s joining a number of fellow Republicans in deciding to formally endorse Dem presidential nominee Joe Biden in his bid to unseat Trump. Biden would be “a real president,” McCollister said, “not the disaster” that occupies the White House today

–; Maggie Jordan (@MaggieJordanACN) August 22, 2020

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