DNC Battleground Brief
April 17, 2020
This is the DNC’s Battleground Brief — a weekly wrap-up of Trump’s broken promises and everything you need to know across the path to 270.
WHEN TRUMP AND REPUBLICANS INFRINGE ON VOTERS’ RIGHTS — WE TAKE THEM TO COURT. The Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Nevada State Democratic Party, and Priorities USA filed suit in the Eighth Judicial District Court of Clark County seeking to expand voting access for Nevada’s primary on June 9. The suit is also being brought on behalf of several Nevadans whose right to vote is being infringed under the current policies in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nevada Independent: “Nevada Democrats and three national party-aligned organizations have filed a lawsuit against the secretary of state’s office on Thursday over alleged inequities for the planned all-mail June primary election. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Carson City District Court by attorneys representing the state Democratic party, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, progressive political nonprofit Priorities USA and several voters intending to cast ballots in the primary election, makes good on a threat issued last week to Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske asking for multiple changes to the planned all-mail election, which she deemed necessary in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
More on the lawsuit here.
BADGER-STATE-BLOWOUT: DESPITE GOP “VOTER SUPPRESSION ON STEROIDS,” DEMOCRATS WIN BIG IN PIVOTAL WISCONSIN RACE. Continuing a trend we’ve seen all cycle, independent-minded suburban voters and massive Democratic turnout helped Judge Karofsky win a 10-point victory in Wisconsin (even in the face of massive voter suppression efforts from Republicans) — a result that should have the RNC and Trump campaign panicking.
- Washington Post: “‘This election took voter suppression to the most dangerous level possible,’ said Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. ‘You were forcing people to choose between their own safety and health and their fundamental right to vote. That is such a cynical ploy.’
“And it didn’t work, Perez added. More than 1.5 million Wisconsinites turned out to vote, either in person or by mail — more than any of the spring elections of the past three years.
- NYT: “In Wisconsin’s 10 largest counties, Ms. Karofsky improved on the 2019 liberal Supreme Court candidate’s performance by at least five percentage points in nine of them. She flipped two such counties, Winnebago in the state’s Fox Valley, and Brown, which includes Green Bay.
“‘It was voter suppression on steroids,’ said Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. ‘They tried to steal this election in Wisconsin.’”
- NYT: “‘I’d be peeing my pants right now if I was the Trump campaign,’ said David Bergstein, a Democratic National Committee official who helps oversee the party’s battleground states program. ‘Suburban voters do not like Trump and they’re taking it out on the Republican Party.’”
DEMOCRATS ARE HOLDING TRUMP AND REPUBLICANS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR CHAOTIC, ERRATIC CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE. Across the battlegrounds this week, Democrats continued to hold Trump and Republicans accountable for their chaotic response to the COVID pandemic, and called out Trump’s record of broken promises on health care, which have left Americans in a vulnerable position. A few examples:
Pennsylvania Democrats held a press call with Rep. Susan Wild and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan about the need for the Trump administration to reopen enrollment for the ACA exchanges. Lots more coverage here.
- Allentown Morning Call: “Wild, a Democrat who represents Lehigh, Northampton and part of southern Monroe counties, said Wednesday that she was ‘deeply disappointed’ by that decision late last month, arguing that blocking access to health coverage during the coronavirus pandemic also affects those who do have health insurance. ‘Every single American should have a right to quality and affordable health care, and that has never been more true than right this minute, when not having insurance can have consequences on broader public health,’ Wild said.”
- Penn Capital-Star: “‘I strongly believe every American should have the right to quality and affordable healthcare, that has never been more true,’ U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-7th District, said in a conference call with journalists on Wednesday. ‘To me, it’s not about politics, it’s about implementing common sense solutions that provide help to people who need it right now.’”
In Florida, Democrats called out Gov. DeSantis for taking a page out of Trump’s playbook and letting Floridians down.
- Florida Politics: “‘People can’t wait weeks, much less months, for relief after losing their jobs. They needed that assistance weeks ago and the Governor must do better. Instead of taking responsibility, DeSantis seems to be taking another page from Donald Trump’s playbook and is passing the buck of this failure to his administrators,’ said Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Juan Penalosa.”
In Nevada, Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II penned an op-ed calling out Trump for putting Black and Brown Americans at risk during the pandemic.
- Reno Gazette-Journal: Trump’s chaotic coronavirus response is putting Nevadans’ lives in danger. “Nationwide, Brown and Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by the effects of this virus, meaning Nevada’s diverse communities are the ones bearing the brunt of the economic crisis and facing an increased mortality rate. Yet despite warnings from his own advisers, pleas from state leaders and a devastating reality on the ground, Donald Trump has failed to mobilize quickly the resources Nevadans desperately need from the federal government. Instead, his chaotic response is leaving us to fend for ourselves.”
In Virginia, health care workers called for a step up in leadership as they are suffering without access to personal protection equipment.
- Virginia Public Media: Virginia Healthcare Workers Call for National Leadership in COVID-19 Fight. “Virginia healthcare workers are expressing frustration with the federal government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Medical professionals have been raising concerns about access to personal protection equipment, also called PPE., as well as tests. Wendy Kline, medical director of Health Brigade in Richmond, says mixed messages from the Trump administration have undermined the work of the Virginia Department of Health.”
**MUST READ: CORONAVIRUS COULD COMPLICATE TRUMP’S PATH TO REELECTION (Associated Press).**
- “In Wisconsin, the Democratic victor in last week’s Supreme Court race captured 28 counties, up from the 12 that Hillary Clinton won four years ago. In Michigan, a Democratic governor has seen her approval rating rise against the backdrop of a fight with Trump. And in Arizona, low marks for Trump could be enough to turn the formerly Republican stronghold into a tossup.”
- “Trump’s campaign is concerned about losing support in several key swing states, particularly Florida and Wisconsin, according to five current and former campaign staffers who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about internal strategy. There are also growing worries about Arizona and Pennsylvania.”
- “In a sign of enthusiasm, participation in Democrats’ March primary was up 32% over 2016 as the party rallied around its likely nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden. The Trump campaign already had a light footprint in Michigan — it does not have a single field office — and advisers privately concede it could be the toughest battleground state to hold.”
Read the full piece here.
DEMOCRATS ARE FIGHTING TO MAKE SURE TRUMP AND REPUBLICANS DON’T TRAMPLE ON OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO VOTE DURING THIS PANDEMIC.
This morning, DNC Chair Tom Perez, Democratic Association of Secretaries of State Chair Alex Padilla, Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll, Democratic Party of Oregon Chair KC Hanson, and Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski held a press call to highlight the importance of safe, accessible voting and the long history of successful mail-in voting. Some highlights:
Tom Perez: “We’re 200 days from the most important presidential election of our lifetime, and nobody should be forced to choose between their health and their right to vote. […] This shouldn’t be a right vs. left issue. This is a right vs. wrong issue. It is wrong to force people to put their own safety at risk to exercise their right to vote. It is right to ensure that people have options on how they vote.”
AND IN THE BATTLEGROUNDS…
- Tampa Bay Times: Voting is a right. And voting by mail is a way to ensure that right in a pandemic. | Column. “Like many, I have been alarmed by President Donald Trump’s attacks on vote by mail initiatives in the age of COVID-19. According to the President, such voting results in fraud and ‘doesn’t work out well for Republicans.’ With COVID-19, lives are at-stake. And with voting rights, hard-fought for gains are at-stake as well. We should and must protect both. And Congress and the president can do both by encouraging through budget investments the use of vote-by-mail for all states in a COVID-19 era as well as at least two weeks of early in-person voting to reduce election day lines. Funds should be invested so that all voting places are safe in the COVID-19 era.”
- Florida Politics: Democrats urge preparations for huge increase in mail-in voting. “The Florida Democratic Party said during a panel discussion Wednesday that Florida should consider preparing for most, if not all, voters to cast ballots in the August primary, and perhaps even in the November general election, by mail, rather than risk coronavirus contagion in crowds at voting centers. ‘At the very least, argued FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo, such a preparation would be an insurance policy against the prospect that the coronavirus crisis might still be limiting gatherings in August or November.’”
- Kansas City Star: Kansas Democrats’ mail-in ballots protect voters. It’s clear why the GOP fights them (Vicki Hiatt, Chair of the Kansas Democratic Party.) “Never mind the hypocrisy that Trump himself already voted by mail this year — amid the current coronavirus pandemic, the moot argument Republicans are broadcasting against comprehensive voter reform is even more dangerous. The Kansas Democratic Party began planning a vote-by-mail program over a year ago to make the 2020 presidential primary as accessible, inclusive and safe as possible for our members. The party has already mailed 400,000 ballots to registered Kansas Democrats, who know that election integrity and a healthy democracy are not mutually exclusive.”
- WISN WISCONSIN: TOM PEREZ: WISCONSIN WAS “VOTER SUPPRESSION ON STEROIDS”. DNC Chair Tom Perez called out Trump and Republicans hypocritical efforts to make voters choose between their health and their right to vote in Wisconsin.
Watch the WISN clip here.
DEMOCRATS ARE OUT-ORGANIZING REPUBLICANS. The DNC and state parties across the battlegrounds are continuing to ramp up their digital organizing and texting efforts to reach voters where they’re at — online at home. Some highlights:
- OHIO DEMOCRATS: Ohio Dems Will Contact One Million Voters For Primary Election. “With two weeks remaining before the deadline for voting in Ohio’s primary election, the Ohio Democratic Party is on its way to contacting one million Ohio voters before April 28, using its entire toolkit of digital and virtual tactics. The Ohio Democratic Party is purchasing digital ads targeting a statewide audience to encourage those who have yet to cast a ballot in Ohio’s primary election to vote by mail and assure Ohioans that voting by mail is safe and secure — a point of agreement between Ohio Democrats and Republicans, including Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
- Tampa Bay Times: ‘Texting is the new handshake’ for Biden, Trump and other campaigns during the pandemic. “More and more, campaigns are trying to reach prospective voters on their phones. Florida Democrats recently texted 1 million voters urging them to sign up for vote-by-mail ballots in anticipation the coronavirus will still be here for the November election. The state party tapped into a massive database of cell phone numbers the Democratic National Committee purchased in January to increase voter contact in 2020 and keep up with the Trump operation.”
CC DONALD TRUMP AND REPUBLICANS:
Make sure to follow the DNC’s War Room (@DNCWarRoom) to get real-time updates on Trump’s abuses of power and broken promises.
The DNC Comms Team