With the end of 2018 comes the end of the part of the presidential race when people run for president while pretending they aren’t running. While nearly every Democrat insisted they were solely focused on the midterm elections, the reality is that more than two dozen possible contenders have spent the year burnishing their personas, floating policy ideas, road testing messages, meeting donors and earning chits in key primary states. Of course, nobody has been able to clear the field in advance, but there is no question that some 2020 candidates came out of 2018 ahead, some behind, and many spun their wheels. Several candidates spent much of 2018 well below the radar, doing little more in public than signaling their intentions, such as former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. But for those who overtly jockeyed in the past year, here’s my scorecard of how successful they … [Read more...] about Which 2020 Candidates Won 2018?
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In the middle of September, White House political director Bill Stepien sat down in the presidential residence across from Donald Trump and delivered a wake-up call. Polling showed that Democratic voters were highly motivated ahead of the midterm elections, Stepien explained, while Republican voters were not—and Trump was feeding the complacency of his base by downplaying the threat in November. “Mr. President,” Stepien told him, according to sources familiar with the conversation, “Please stop saying ‘Red Wave.’” Trump was perplexed. Having fully bought into the narrative of Republican invincibility—supported by boisterous crowds, a string of special election victories, and of course, his own supposedly unprecedented accomplishments and record-smashing poll numbers—the president struggled to imagine a sweeping rebuke of his government. Sensing this, and playing to his ego, Stepien and senior White House officials encouraged Trump … [Read more...] about ‘Please Stop Saying Red Wave’: Inside Democrats’ Takeover of the House