Democrats are angry about Trump’s use of federal agents. But as a political tactic, it doesn’t worry them much.
President Trump seems insistent on making the protests in the streets of America’s cities — including those in response to the deployment of federal agents in Portland, Ore. — a key focus of his re-election campaign: in remarks from the White House briefing room, in his television ads and across his Twitter account.
But while Democrats have expressed dismay at the use of federal law enforcement in Portland, Ore., advisers to Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his Democratic allies seem mostly unconcerned about the impact of Mr. Trump’s tactics politically, even as protests escalated and spread over the weekend.
For one thing, the president’s dire warnings of a dark Democratic-run future is in dissonance with the reality that the current unrest is happening during his own Republican tenure.
“The sense of disorder that Trump is promoting as a national threat actually works against him because it reinforces a sense that America under Donald Trump is a country in disorder and disarray,” said Geoff Garin, a pollster who works for a leading Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA.
For another, Democrats believe the issue of violence at protests is being perceived by many voters as a distraction by Mr. Trump from his faltering pandemic response and the economic downturn.
“It’s not geared toward quelling the violence,” Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist, said of Mr. Trump’s response to unrest in the streets. “It’s geared toward creating clashes that create the imagery he can use in the election.”
One particular challenge for Mr. Trump is that his “law and order” focus is not necessarily the current obsession of the voting public. As Jared Leopold, another Democratic strategist, put it, “It’s very hard to take an issue that’s not on people’s top five issues on their plate and turn it into something they give a damn about.”
With less than 100 days until the election, the Biden campaign is intensifying its efforts to cast the contest as a choice about character and leadership “in times of extreme peril and struggle,” according to a campaign memo circulated over the weekend, arguing that Mr. Trump has failed the nation at a critical juncture.
The memo, sent by Kate Bedingfield, a deputy campaign manager, and obtained by The New York Times, lacerated Mr. Trump’s stewardship of the coronavirus crisis, the economic challenges facing the country and the national outcry over systemic racism, and noted his struggles to negatively define Mr. Biden.
“The conclusion voters continue to draw is straightforward and clear: Joe Biden cares about you and your family, and Donald Trump only cares about himself, the super-wealthy, and corporations — and he doesn’t care who he hurts,” the memo said.
It went on to note several tactical steps the campaign is taking, and to highlight key elements of Mr. Biden’s coalition: “voters in the suburbs, seniors, African Americans, and independent voters.”
Mr. Trump is hoping to cut into those constituencies by seeking to paint Mr. Biden — who does not support defunding the police — as radical on matters of law enforcement, and by arguing that he remains the best leader on the economy.
On Monday, the memo said, “we will begin a new $14.5 million ad buy in Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania — six states Donald Trump won in 2016.”
The Democratic coordinated campaign will “have well over 2,000 staff on board in August and tens of thousands of additional volunteers across the country,” according to the memo.
And the Biden campaign, which began organizing in the battleground states later than Mr. Trump and the coordinated Republican effort did — an advantage of incumbency — now “has staff in 17 battleground states and recently added Texas as the seventh state Donald Trump won in 2016 where we are running ads on television and across digital platforms,” the memo noted.
The memo was first reported by NBC News.
Who’s in contention to be Biden’s running mate? Here’s the latest.
Mr. Biden is nearing his rough deadline of Aug. 1 for announcing a vice-presidential candidate, but there is little expectation at this point that he will stick to that timetable.
His search committee has completed thorough vetting reports on several candidates and Mr. Biden said he intended to conduct personal interviews with all of the most serious contenders. That could take a while, and Mr. Biden is not exactly known for his quick decision-making process.
There is no particular sense of impatience within Mr. Biden’s campaign or the Democratic Party at large, since the current state of the presidential race is so favorable for Mr. Biden. He and his advisers see no urgent need for him to shake up the race, and few Democrats are prodding him to rush toward a vice-presidential announcement.
Still, many voters — and not only Democrats — are eager to see whom Mr. Biden selects as his chief political and governing partner in a moment of national crisis.
A few of the women have been widely recognized as formidable candidates since the start of the search, like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, while others have emerged in the public eye as serious contenders, like Senator Tammy Duckworth, Representative Karen Bass and Susan Rice, the former national security adviser.
But it is tricky to game out the prospects of each candidate when the decision is ultimately expected to be made by just one person, guided by a distinctive sense of the vice presidency and a hunger for personal chemistry with his running mate — Mr. Biden.
Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia and a civil rights icon, will lie in state Monday in the Capitol Rotunda, the first Black lawmaker to receive one of the highest American honors, before a viewing for the public to be held outside.
Mr. Lewis, a 17-term congressman from Georgia and the senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, died July 17 after battling pancreatic cancer.
With the Capitol closed to the public amid the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Lewis will spend only a few hours lying in state under the Capitol dome after an invitation-only ceremony on Monday afternoon.
Among those paying their respects will be Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
The invitation-only arrival ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m., with an invocation followed by remarks from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, and Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader. Several members of Congress will participate in a presentation of wreaths.
Representative James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina and the majority whip, will give the benediction.
Afterward, Mr. Lewis’s coffin will be moved outside to the Capitol steps, and members of the public will be able to line up — with masks required and social distancing enforced — to view it from the plaza below on Monday evening and all day Tuesday.
On Sunday, Mr. Lewis, known as the “conscience of the Congress” for his moral authority acquired through years of protest for racial equality, made his final journey across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., his coffin carried by a horse-drawn caisson past the very spot where a state trooper wielding a club fractured his skull 55 years ago.
Last year, Representative Elijah E. Cummings became the first Black lawmaker to lie in state in the Capitol, though he was honored in Statuary Hall, not in the Rotunda, where presidents and other statesmen have lain. Rosa Parks, the civil rights pioneer, lay in honor there in 2005, receiving the highest honor afforded to a private citizen.
Here’s why Montana is a test case for Democrats aiming to take back the Senate.
Democratic hopes for gaining a clear Senate majority depend in part on winning in conservative-leaning states where Mr. Trump may also prevail, even as he sags in the polls.
That includes states like Montana, where Democrats are hoping their Senate candidate, Gov. Steve Bullock, can outperform Mr. Biden, and where ticket-splitting is as much a way of life as fly-fishing.
Montanans have supported Republican presidential candidates, with one exception, for over a half-century. In that same period, though, they have elected a series of Democratic governors and senators.
Yet as Senator Steve Daines, the Republican incumbent, faces off against Mr. Bullock, whose popularity has risen as he leads the state’s coronavirus response, Mr. Daines is counting on Montanans to act a little more like voters everywhere else and stick with one party as they make their way down the ballot.
The race here will measure the political impact of the pandemic; many governors have grown in stature for their handling of the virus, and Mr. Bullock is the only sitting governor running for the Senate. It will also test Montana’s iconoclastic identity in a time of encroaching red-and-blue homogeneity. But for Democrats, going on the offensive in a red-leaning state in an age of polarization is no easy task.
By nominating the moderate Mr. Biden, though, Democrats hope they can at least lose more closely, if not win outright, in states where Mrs. Clinton was thrashed and her party’s Senate candidates went down with her.
“The reason he was so strong in ’16 is because you could go up and down here — Democrats and Republicans would both tell you they hate Hillary,” Jon Tester, a Democrat who is Montana’s senior senator, said of Mr. Trump over an afternoon beer in Great Falls.
Mr. Trump said he would no longer be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before a Yankees game on Aug. 15 — days after he said he would be doing so, causing a political stir.
Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday afternoon that he would not be in New York that day, when the Yankees will play the Boston Red Sox, because of his “strong focus” on the pandemic, “including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else.” He added, “We will make it later in the season!”
During an event at the White House on Thursday that featured Mariano Rivera, the former star closer for the Yankees, Mr. Trump announced he had been asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The president said he had been invited by the Yankees’ president, Randy Levine, who used to work for Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, during Mr. Giuliani’s tenure as New York City mayor. Mr. Trump is a longtime Yankees fan and was friends with the Yankees’ former owner, George Steinbrenner, who died in 2010.
Trump’s announcement had drawn criticism from New York political figures, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who wrote on Twitter on Saturday, “After CONDEMNING racism, the next step isn’t inviting it to your pitcher’s mound. To the players that knelt for the BLM movement, we applaud you. To the execs that have aligned with hatred, you are on the wrong side of history and morality.”
Reporting was contributed by Alexander Burns, Luke Broadwater, Reid J. Epstein, Katie Glueck, Shane Goldmacher, Jonathan Martin and James Wagner.