Polls have closed in a pivotal North Carolinaspecial House election that will not only decide the winner of a long-contested and long-vacant House seat but potentially signal how President Trump will perform in the 2020 presidential election.
Republican candidate Dan Bishop, a conservative state senator, was hoping a pair of visits Monday to the GOP-leaning 9th Congressional District by both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence would boost him to victory over Democrat Dan McCready.
Should Bishop defeat McCready, it would enable Trump to assert that he pushed Bishop over the top. If McCready prevails or Bishop wins by a whisker despite Trump’s broad support in the Republican Party, it might suggest GOP erosion and raise questions about Trump’s and his party’s viability for 2020.
State officials ordered the unusual special election earlier this year, invalidating a win by GOP candidate Mark Harris over McCready in the 2018 midterms after uncovering ballot fraud efforts.
Some analysts have said the fraud scandal could undercut Bishop unfairly, and undermine any attempts to draw larger lessons from the race.
President Donald Trump, left, gives his support to Dan Bishop, right, a Republican running for the special North Carolina 9th District U.S. Congressional race as he speaks at a rally in Fayetteville, N.C., Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
For their part, Trump and Pence threw their full-throated support behind Bishop.
“To stop the far-left, you must vote in tomorrow’s special election,” Trump told attendees at a fiery rally in Fayetteville, N.C., on Monday night. The president then slammed McCready as a dangerous proponent of “sanctuary cities” and rolling back gun rights.
The district has been held by the GOP since 1963. In 2016, Trump won the district by 11 percentage points.
A new balloting controversy surfaced during the day when North Carolina election officials did not act on a request by the state Republican Party to extend hours at a single precinct.
The state GOP asked that the voting site stay open an extra hour and 45 minutes because they said some 9th Congressional District voters were showing up at the old voting location in Union County, a Republican-heavy area east of Charlotte.
Attendees line up outside hours before President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, N.C., Monday Sept. 9, 2019 (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
The State Board of Elections met and discussed the GOP request, but took no action.
One polling site in Mecklenberg County was kept open 25 minutse past the 7:30 p.m. closing time due to a reported gas leak.
“You don’t need to be drowning in debt to understand that this is an issue sidelining millions of Americans,” the 33-year-old said. “People are putting off marriage, kids, homeownership and retirement ― especially my generation.”
Minhaj, who used to appear on “The Daily Show” before getting his own Netflix series, “Patriot Act,” last year, aired an episode in February in which he broke downthe often confusing but debilitating problem of crushing student loan debt in the United States. The segment highlighted that 44 million people in America owe more than $1.6 trillion in student loan debt and that loan servicers, such as Navient, have a history of misleading student borrowers and pushing them into repayment plans that result in even more debt.
At the committee hearing Tuesday, Minhaj said he polled his live studio audience on that show and found that among about 200 people in the studio, there was more than $6 million in student debt.
“Now granted, our audience is mainly unemployed poli-sci majors, but that’s still a lot of money,” he told the committee, getting some laughs.
The comedian then said he and his team of researchers looked up where each committee member went to college and what their school’s inflation-adjusted tuition was at the time. According to Minhaj, on average the entire committee graduated from college about 33 years ago and paid an inflation-adjusted tuition of $11,690 a year. Currently, the average tuition at all those same schools is nearly $25,000, a 110% increase, when wages have increased only 16% in that time, according to the host.
“So, people aren’t making more money and college is objectively way more expensive,” Minhaj said. “And yet many borrowers are still treated like deadbeats because the government has put their financial futures in the hands of predatory for-profit loan servicing companies.”
Later during the hearing, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) ― who used to be on MTV’s “The Real World” ― tried to argue that “smarter” students always go to higher-acclaimed schools, to which the panel of witnesses disagreed. When he said, “If you have a 20 on your ACT, you’re not going to Harvard,” Minhaj interjected with: “Or, if your mom’s Aunt Becky, you can just pay your way to USC. … You and I, we’re both former MTV stars. You get it.”
.@hasanminhaj tells Rep Sean Duffy that sometimes “Aunt Becky” is what gets you into Harvard, and: “we’re both former MTV stars.” Not everyone can rely on that MTV check! 🤣 (Duffy wasn’t happy) pic.twitter.com/5gGfxlgFMH
Minhaj stressed the fact that student borrowers don’t get to choose their loan services because the Education Department does it for them, providing no incentive for competition that would compel such companies to provide better service.
“So really, all I’m asking today is, why can’t we treat our student borrowers the way we treat our banks? Because 44 million Americans, that is too big to fail,” he said. “Thank you so much for your time, and I will now go back to where I came from.”
.@hasanminhaj came to Congress to testify in @FSCDems committee on the college debt crisis. He ended his testimony with: “…and now I will go back to where I came from.”
Thank you Hasan for using humor to show how ridiculous it is not to do anything to address this crisis. pic.twitter.com/u0431O1KJ3
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Voters in a Republican-leaning North Carolina congressional district were choosing a new representative on Tuesday in a special election that will test President Trump’s clout ahead of 2020 and Democrats’ ability to make inroads with the sort of suburban voters who propelled them to a majority in the House last year.
Most polls closed at 7:30 p.m. in a race pitting Dan McCready, a Democrat and Marine veteran whose motto is “country over party,” against Dan Bishop, a Republican state senator who has been endorsed by Mr. Trump and who has welcomed the president’s characterization of Mr. McCready as an “ultra liberal” who “really admires socialism.”
Putting his political capital on the line, Mr. Trump campaigned with Mr. Bishop on Monday evening in Fayetteville, in the conservative eastern edge of the district, just hours before polls opened. Vice President Mike Pence also lent a hand on Monday, holding a rally in Wingate, N.C., on Mr. Bishop’s behalf.
Dan McCready, a Democrat, is running to flip control of the longtime Republican-held Ninth Congressional District.CreditLogan R. Cyrus for The New York Times
The Ninth District covers part of Charlotte and a number of exurban and rural counties to the east. It has not been represented by a Democrat since the early 1960s, and Mr. Trump won it by nearly 12 percentage points in 2016. But in the midterms of 2018, Mr. McCready, surfing the national anti-Trump mood, ran a close race, losing by 905 votes to the Republican candidate at the time, Mark Harris.
Then came one of the more bizarre plot twists in recent American politics: The state elections board threw out the entire election and ordered a new one after evidence surfaced that Mr. Harris’s campaign had funded an illegal vote-harvesting scheme in rural Bladen County.
Mr. McCready, 36, a businessman, decided to keep running, and has now been on the campaign trail for 27 straight months. A centrist, he has been focusing on the issue of health care affordability and criticizing Mr. Bishop for opposing the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Mr. Bishop, 55, a Charlotte lawyer, is perhaps best known statewide for sponsoring the so-called bathroom bill that required transgender people to use restrooms that corresponded with the gender on their birth certificate. He boasts of his endorsement from the National Rifle Association, and he has repeatedly attacked Mr. McCready by lumping him in with the more left-leaning elements of the Democratic Party.
Dan Bishop, the Republican nominee, spoke with supporters and staff in Monroe.CreditTravis Dove for The New York Times
Mr. Trump has tweeted his endorsement for Mr. Bishop and sent out a fund-raising email on his behalf. In July, Mr. Bishop spoke at Mr. Trump’s rally in Greenville, N.C., in which the crowd responded to the president’s attacks on Representative Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born Democrat, with chants of “Send her back!”
The election is effectively the last campaign of the 2018 season, and what alarms national Republicans is how ominously it recalls the midterm elections: As with so many races last year, a centrist Democrat has raised significantly more money than the Republican candidate in a historically conservative district that is now tilting toward the political center because of the suburban drift away from the G.O.P.
And just as in so many of the special elections leading up to Democratic victories, or near-wins, since 2017, local Republicans have beckoned Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence to compensate for the disparity in enthusiasm between the two candidates.
But as officials in both parties recognize, the president is not just a turnout lever for Republicans — he also inspires Democrats and some left-leaning independents.
At Olde Providence Elementary School in Charlotte on Tuesday afternoon, voters moved in and out of their polling place at a steady trickle, braving 93-degree heat and a gauntlet of volunteers for local campaigns who lined the sidewalk outside.
The elementary school is surrounded by a relatively prosperous clutch of neighborhoods in South Charlotte — exactly the kind of place where Mr. McCready needs to rack up votes if he is to score an upset.
Lisa Rockholt, 58, a registered nurse, said she voted for Mr. McCready. She said she typically votes for both Republicans and Democrats, but was fed up with all the available options in the last presidential election, and wrote in her boyfriend’s name.
Ms. Rockholt said she disagreed with Mr. Bishop’s opposition to the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in this state. As an R.N., she said, she has seen the toll that a lack of insurance can take on North Carolinians. And she liked Mr. McCready’s talk about keeping down the price of prescription drugs.
But she was mostly motivated by displeasure with Mr. Bishop’s attacking tone.
“I hated Bishop’s constant negative campaigning,” she said, adding that she never really heard what it was that Mr. Bishop stood for through all of the attacks. “It was all negative about McCready.”
Stephanie Dillon exited the polling place with her seven-week-old son, Wells, in a stroller. She considers herself a political independent and she recalled voting for Mitt Romney in a previous presidential election.
Ms. Dillon, 34, might represent a kind of nightmare-scenario voter for Mr. Bishop and Mr. Trump. Her conservatism is of the fiscal and business-friendly variety. She works in human resources, though she is on maternity leave now, and has seen the pressures that businesses must overcome to survive. But this time around, she voted for Mr. McCready.
She is not an immigration hard-liner (Mr. Bishop has referred to himself as “pro-wall”) and she has very few kind things to say about President Trump. “The whole kind of sexist persona totally turns me off,” she said, adding, “Why is he spending his time tweeting to celebrities?”
Chris Daleus, 38, a salesman, tends to vote Republican, but he, too, said he had voted for Mr. McCready. “I just really got a good vibe from him,” he said.
Mr. Daleus was impressed by Mr. McCready’s record of military service. Mr. Daleus also considers himself a libertarian conservative who values personal freedom, and was not a fan of Mr. Bishop’s bathroom bill.
Mr. Trump’s rally in Fayetteville on Monday did not sway Mr. Daleus, even though he voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. Although Mr. Daleus said he likes the president’s tax cuts, and his efforts to keep the country “internally focused,” he bristles at Mr. Trump’s unorthodox comportment. “He seems to have embarrassed us in a lot of ways,” he said.
Caroline Penland, 44, a Republican, said she voted for Mr. Bishop. She is a reliable Republican voter, and a Christian who opposes abortion and favors “keeping God in schools.” She also favors some gun control, after being deeply affected by a 2012 shooting that occurred at the high school from which she graduated.
But now, she said, was not a time to stray from the Republican fold. She voted for Mr. Trump and would do so again. “From an economical standpoint he’s doing really well.”
“First of all, he’s in my party. And I’m going to stick to my party right now,” Ms. Penland said of Mr. Bishop.
Ms. Penland, who works in marketing, also said that Mr. Bishop’s incessant ads targeting Mr. McCready stuck with her. She said her children were even referring to Mr. McCready as “McGreedy,” the epithet used against him in some attack ads.
North Carolina Politics
Read more about the special election.
With the Faithful at Trump’s North Carolina Rally: ‘He Speaks Like Me’
Sept. 10, 2019
In North Carolina Do-Over Vote, a Reliable Republican District Is Up for Grabs
Sept. 8, 2019
North Carolina’s ‘Guru of Elections’: Can-Do Operator Who May Have Done Too Much
Dec. 8, 2018
A Rare Do-Over Congressional Election Is a Chance to Battle-Test 2020 Strategies
Both the CIA and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed back on the reporting, with Pompeo, who previously led the CIA, specifically saying it was “factually wrong.” CIA Director of Public Affairs Brittany Bramell similarly called the network’s narrative “simply false.”
“Again, it’s not Trump putting national security at risk. … It’s the media,” Watters said on Tuesday.
After Watters claimed that CNN potentially put lives in danger, “Five” co-host Dana Perino said people’s lives could still be at risk because of the network’s reporting.
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“Let’s be clear: Lives could still be in danger, maybe even more so now,” Perino said. “This is supposed to be a news story, not an episode of ‘The Americans,’” Perino said, referring to a dramatic FX series about Russian spies living in the United States in the 1980s.
Co-host Kennedy said the botched story exhibited a bigger problem with CNN’s reporting, in that it was too eager to find damning information about the president.
“Right now, for places like CNN, it’s really ‘choose-your-own-adventure,'” she said. “And if you get some facts that are not correlated or really directly tied to the ultimate conclusion, you just go ahead and make it up.
“You just go ahead and craft a bridge out of your own intentions regardless of their truth or falsehood and that’s what’s most dangerous. And I think part of it is this desire to bring the president down and really pin something on him because your intuition is telling you that something is not right — could be your hurt feelings — however, going ahead and just throwing anything at him, regardless of facts, it’s dangerous.”
CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple’s product launches have long been full of surprises, but rarely has a price cut been among them.
On Tuesday, in a sign that Apple is paying attention to consumers who aren’t racing to buy more expensive phones, the company said the iPhone 11, its entry-level phone, would start at $700, compared with $750 for the comparable model last year.
Apple kept the starting prices of its more advanced models, the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, at $1,000 and $1,100. The company unveiled the new phones at a 90-minute press event at its Silicon Valley campus.
The cost cut on the iPhone 11 was unexpected because Apple had been raising prices each year as a way to keep revenues afloat while iPhone sales fell. But Apple might have hit the ceiling this past year. Sales of the two models that began at $1,000 or more lagged expectations, causing the company to cut revenue estimates and eventually slash prices in China to increase demand.
At the same time, Apple’s entry-level phone last year — the iPhone XR, at $750 — became the company’s best-selling device.
Analysts say that one issue with the rising prices has been that new iPhone features haven’t kept up. As a result, many people are holding onto their phones longer. The falling price suggests Apple sees that trend and is trying to entice more people to upgrade.
Apple said it would also still sell older models for even less. The iPhone 8 now costs $450 and the iPhone XR now costs $600.
Rebranding its priciest iPhones as “Pro” models.
Apple has rebranded its iPhone line to make the iPhone 11 its entry-level option, while adding a “Pro” label to its more expensive models.
The move is a departure from Apple’s previous marketing strategy, which gave the cheapest phone a different label that branded it as the discounted model. (It still started at $750.) The iPhone XR became Apple’s best-selling iPhone, while its more expensive models struggled in some markets. Those lagging sales caused Apple to cut revenue estimates earlier this year.
The iPhone XR also likely outperformed its costlier cousins in part because tech reviewers considered it to be about as good as the flagship iPhone — for 25 percent less. Apple has long been in a bind on pricing and developing its line of iPhones, aiming to make the least expensive devices still worth paying hundreds of dollars for without undercutting the pricier models.
The rebranding suggests Apple is embracing the lowest-priced iPhone as the device most people will use, while marketing the “Pro” devices for the higher end of the market. The company has done the same with its iPads, also labeling its most advanced tablets the iPad Pro.
Apple introduces a trio of new iPhones.
The company introduced three new phones: the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The main difference? Each of the three iPhones gained a new camera lens.
The new high-end Pro models include a triple-lens main camera, up from two lenses in last year’s models, and the entry-level iPhone now has a dual-lens camera, up from a single lens in last year’s iPhone XR. All the iPhones include a so-called ultrawide angle lens.
Here’s what that means: The new ultrawide lens take photos with a wider field of view than traditional phone cameras, which makes it handy for shooting landscapes or large group gatherings. Samsung’s Galaxy S10, which was released this year, also includes an ultrawide angle lens.
The second lens on the entry-level iPhone will also make the camera more capable of shooting photos in portrait mode, which puts the picture’s main subject in sharp focus while softly blurring the background.
Last year’s iPhone XR had a single lens and was capable of shooting portrait photos of only human subjects. The second lens in the new entry-level iPhone will let you take portrait shots of nonhuman subjects like food, animals and plants.
On the high-end iPhones, the triple-lens system lets users zoom in closer on their subjects. Apple also said it had added a night mode for shooting photos in low light. By default, when users shoot photos in the dark, the camera will automatically make photos look better lit.
With its focus on camera tech, Apple is playing catch-up with Google. Google’s Pixel smartphones focus on camera innovations including Night Sight, a popular feature for shooting photos in low light, which led critics to conclude that the search giant had used its prowess in artificial intelligence to surpass Apple in camera tech.
Here’s a new version of the Apple Watch.
Stan Ng, Apple’s vice president for product marketing, Apple Watch.CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times
Apple detailed the Apple Watch Series 5. The watch’s most noteworthy new feature is its so-called always-on display. In previous models, the screen would turn on when you tilted your wrist to check the time.
The new watch uses a display technology (previously seen in Samsung phones) to keep some pixels activated just to show the time, consuming little power. The screen becomes fully illuminated when you tilt your wrist. Other updates to the watch, including a built-in compass, were minor. The watch starts at $400, the same price as the last model. It will be available on Sept. 20.
Apple introduces a new iPad.
The company introduced a new version of its entry-level iPad, which costs $330. The new model includes a 10.2-inch screen, up from 9.7 inches. Unlike the previous model, the new tablet is compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard. (Previous iPads worked only with third-party keyboards.)
The updated iPad is unremarkable compared with Apple’s high-end iPad Pros, which include sharper screens and infrared face recognition and work with a more advanced Apple stylus. However, the entry-level iPad is Apple’s best-selling tablet, and its investment in the entry-level model shows the company’s commitment to the category even though its sales have slowed down.
The streaming service starts Nov. 1.
Tim Cook speaking about “The Morning Show.”CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times
At last, Apple’s original television shows have a premiere date and price point. The company’s chief executive, Tim Cook, announced that Apple would begin rolling out original shows and movies on Nov. 1 for $5 per month.
Apple TV Plus, which will be the home of all of Apple’s original content, will be free for a year to users who buy a company product like a new iPhone or a laptop.
Apple announced that on Nov. 1, it would feature a lineup of adult dramas, comedies, children’s programs and documentaries. Those series include four shows the company has released trailers for, including “The Morning Show,” starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell; “Dickinson,” a comedy starring Hailee Steinfeld and Jane Krakowski; “See,” an epic drama starring Jason Momoa; and “For All Mankind,” a space drama. The launch will also feature other programs, including Oprah Winfrey’s new book club, a Peanuts series called “Snoopy in Space” and a documentary that Apple bought the rights to last year called “The Elephant Queen.”
By year’s end, Apple will have six subscription services, from news to TV to music. Customers who wanted all of them would pay up to $55 a month.
The launch date puts Apple in the thick of the so-called streaming wars, which have consumed Hollywood. Disney is rolling out its new streaming service, Disney Plus, on Nov. 12. AT&T’s Warner Media, the home of HBO, Warner Bros. and the DC comic universe, will introduce its own streaming service next year, and will announce new details for it on Oct. 29.
The monthly price makes it cheaper than Disney’s service, which will be $7 a month, and is well below Netflix, which is $13 per month.
But questions linger: How will Apple market these programs in the coming months? Which shows will be introduced from the get-go? And will Apple drop all episodes of new series at once like Netflix does, or will it roll them out once a week?
— John Koblin
The gaming service, Apple Arcade, will be $5 a month.
Ann Thai, product lead for Apple, onstage at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in Cupertino, Calif.CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times
Apple announced it was getting into gaming earlier this year. Now we know how much its subscription will cost: $5 a month.
The company said its gaming service, Apple Arcade, would be available starting Sept. 19 in more than 150 countries. The service will give users access to more than 100 games that aren’t available elsewhere. The games can be played on iPhones, iPads, Macs and on Apple TV.
Apple showed off several of the games on Tuesday, including an undersea-exploration game from the Japanese game maker Capcom and an updated version of the arcade classic Frogger.
Apple Arcade is part of a larger strategy by the company to create a steady, more predictable revenue stream from services as sales of iPhones continue to slide. Apple has also added subscription services for news, music and streaming video.
Apple spent hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the development of new games for Apple Arcade, The Financial Times reported in April. Analysts expect gaming could become a major moneymaker for Apple within the next several years. HSBC analysts forecast its revenues to reach $2.7 billion by 2022, outpacing the company’s news and video subscription services.
Defense attorney Greene is asking for the eighth continuance in the case and Judge Smith isn’t having any of it.
“We were scheduled for a jury today. Tell me why we aren’t having the jury and why I shouldn’t reschedule the jury to start tomorrow?”
Attorney Greene: “Judge, my client told me two days ago that there is a document at Tiny-Local Bank that I’m going to need for this case.”
Judge: “The last continuance in this case was three months ago. Why did she wait to tell you until this week?”
Attorney Greene: “Judge, she told the attorney who represented her in district court before the preliminary hearing. She thought when I replaced the other attorney that I got that information.”
The Judge looks entirely unconvinced. “You’ve been her attorney for the last nine months. She didn’t tell you about any of this vitally important piece of paper until three days before the trial?”
Attorney Greene: “Umm, Judge, I . . .”
[Quick conference with client]
Attorney Greene: “Judge, my client wants to address the court.”
Judge Smith looks skeptical but nods his head.
Client: “I told my first attorney. Then she moved to Canada and you gave me this’un. I met with him when that first happened and I told him about the stuff at Tiny-Local. I didn’t know he ain’t got it until I asked him why this case ain’t been thrown out, ‘cuz, ya know, the stuff at Tiny-Local proves I ain’t done it.”
Judge looks really disgruntled now and engages defendant and defense attorney in a conversation wherein he tries to get someone to take responsibility for the vitally important missing document. That goes nowhere fast. Attorney Greene doesn’t remember anything about a document and Client swears she told him months ago.
Judge Smith: “I think there was plenty of time for this paper to have been found. This is the third time this case has been scheduled for trial. If the paper was so important it would have come up before the last two trial dates. I think we should bring the jury in tomorrow and get this done.”
Up to this point, I have been sitting at the prosecution table minding my own business. Only now, I’m faced with a Hobbesian choice. I can either scramble to get a jury put together before 9 a.m. tomorrow (sleep is for wimps) and let a possible constitutional issue get baked into the case or I can come to defense counsel’s aid and possibly get my head chopped off. Being the adventurous (and slightly stupid) type, I stick my head right into that guillotine.
Me: “Judge, far be it from me to help a defense attorney dig his way out of a hole . . .”
Judge Smith’s eyes’ pin my soul to the back wall of the courtroom and clearly convey the idea that this is not the time for levity.
” . . . but, I’d rather not invite error . . .”
Judge Smith gives me a get real look. “I don’t see any error here. This is something which the defendant had plenty of time to deal with and is raising only as she is required to go to trial.”
Okay, it’s pretty clear that Judge Smith believes this is just something being used to delay the trial. For what it’s worth, I tend to agree with him. Unfortunately, you never know if an appellate court might go off on a tangent and staying up all night to prep, while doable, probably wasn’t a great idea. I need my beauty sleep (there are those who might argue I need a several year long beauty coma).
“Sir, if you think it appropriate you could find the defendant has committed constructive flight if you think that the defendant is playing games meant to keep the trial from happening.”
At that, the judge’s face turned thoughtful. The defendant gave me a quick, sharp WTF is wrong with you look. The judge takes a few seconds to turn some thoughts over in his head. Then he takes a close look at the defendant.
Judge Smith: “Mr. Greene, can your client pass a drug test?”
You guessed it. Client turned up positive for cocaine, alprazolam, and and buprenorphine. Judge Smith revoked her bond.
Client: “If’n I’m going to jail, I want my jury tomorrow.”
Judge Smith: “No ma’am. Your Attorney needs time to get the document you need for your defense from Tiny-Local Bank. The docket is busy for the next month. We’ll set this for the 22nd of next month. Good day, ma’am.”
A number of Democratic presidential candidates converged Wednesday night on the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO Convention in Altoona, Iowa, near Des Moines. (Aug. 22) AP, AP
WASHINGTON – Doubts among Democratic voters about whether a woman can win the White House pose hurdles for Elizabeth Warren even as she has gained ground against 2020 primary rivals Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, according to a USA TODAY/Ipsos poll.
Half of likely Democratic voters said a woman would have a harder time than a man running against President Donald Trump next year, the poll said. And while nearly nine in 10 of those voters said they would be comfortable with a female president, a smaller number, 76%, said their spouse or immediate family members were amenable to the idea.
And a mere 44% of voters likely to cast ballots in Democratic primaries thought their neighbors would be comfortable with a female commander-in-chief, according to the online survey conducted Aug. 28-30. Among Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters, just 37% said they thought their neighbors would be comfortable with a woman president.
The survey was based on responses from 2,012 adults, including 923 Democrats and independents who say they “are probably or certainly” going to participate in the 2020 Democratic primaries.
The poll’s credibility interval was 2.5 percentage points for all respondents and 2.9 percentage points for likely Democratic voters. A credibility interval is similar to a margin of error.
Warren, 70, has been drawing enthusiastic crowds in early voting states over the past several weeks, including last weekend when she got a standing ovation in New Hampshire, which holds the first-in-the-nation primary on Feb. 11.
Polls of voters nationwide and in early states showed that the Massachusetts senator solidified her place in the top tier of Democratic candidates over the summer. Former Vice President Joe Biden, 76, has maintained a sizable lead in the crowded field with Warren and Sanders, 78, consistently emerging as his nearest competitors.
Yet the question of whether gender could play a role in electability looms over the race nearly three years after Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton. Many voters see gender as an obstacle, not just for Warren but also for 2020 Democratic contenders Kamala Harris, 54, and Amy Klobuchar, 59.
“This country likes to go with tried-and-true and a white man is what they want, an older white man,” said Democrat Natalie Hughes, who is African American.
The 55-year-old TSA screener from Landover, Maryland, said she is backing Biden because she believes he has the best chance to beat Trump. Hughes said she would vote for Warren if she is nominated but is concerned that “the American public won’t care that she’ll be more presidential, and I don’t think they’ll care that she’s more level headed or sane or more financially responsible than Trump.”
“At this point in time, I don’t think this country is ready for a woman,” said Hughes, who participated in the Ipsos poll.
Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson said many Democratic voters worry that independents and moderate Republicans might be less likely to back a female candidate in an election against Trump, although there may also be some “who have a measure of discomfort on their own and they’re just reluctant to voice it.”
On the other hand, comfort with the idea of a woman in the White House has grown in recent months. The Ipsos poll found 83% of adults who identified themselves as Democrats and independents were “comfortable” with a female president – an increase of nine percentage points since June when Ipsos asked the same question.
Some Democratic primary voters who are wary of Warren as the nominee say their issue with her isn’t gender but that her progressive policies on health care, college debt and other issues could alienate swing voters in key states.
‘I know how to fight’
Warren declined a request to be interviewed on question of gender issues in the 2020 race. But her campaign referred USA TODAY to her remarks during a July 30 Democratic presidential debate on CNN where she reminded viewers she unseated GOP incumbent Sen. Scott Brown in 2012.
“I get it. There is a lot at stake, and people are scared,” she said. “But we can’t choose a candidate we don’t believe in just because we’re too scared to do anything else. And we can’t ask other people to vote for a candidate we don’t believe in.”
Warren echoed those sentiments when she was asked more directly about her electability at a New Hampshire rally Monday.
“I know how to fight, and I know how to win,” she said. “But here’s another key part at last as I see it: I think what’s going to carry us as Democrats is not playing it safe.”
There were some signs of potential upside for Warren in the Ipsos data.
Because Warren is not as well-known as Biden and Sanders, she has room to grow her support as voters get to know her more, Ipsos’ Jackson said. The poll found that as Democrats get better acquainted with her, they view her more favorably on traits traditionally seen as important to a nominee.
For example, when all likely Democratic voters were asked to compare Biden and Warren on their ability to stand up to Trump, 33% rated Biden as better, 27% rated Warren as better and 40% rated the two evenly. But when only the responses of voters familiar with all three were counted, 31% gave Warren the edge, while 26% said Biden was better and 43% rated them evenly.
When all these voters were asked to make the same head-to-head comparison between Sanders and Warren, 33% rated the Vermont senator better, compared with 24% who chose Warren and 44% who said they were even. Among more familiar voters, Sanders (26%) and Warren (27%) were rated virtually the same with 47% calling it a draw.
But the opposite theory – that less-engaged voters automatically ascribe qualities of toughness and decisiveness to the male candidates – is a red flag too, Jackson said.
“Sexism matters among the people who are less knowledgeable because, even up to the day of the election, we’re going to have people who go out and vote who don’t really know a lot,” he said. “And if sexism is moving those people then it can still matter, especially if the election’s close like it was in 2016 when 70,000 votes made the difference between Trump and Clinton.”
Many Democratic strategists say Clinton’s flaws as a candidate were the main cause of her loss, not an unwillingness of voters to elect a woman. Clinton struggled to connect with blue-collar voters and was dogged by questions about her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
And party activists say the ascent of more female office holders in Congress and state offices across the country since 2016 – including in places Trump won – has improved the prospects for a female presidential candidate in 2020.
But some worry that not much has changed in the three years since a majority of white female voters helped the country elect a president who boasted about grabbing women’s genitals.
“We are making great strides as a nation when it comes to sexism, but I still think there are plenty of older men, in both parties frankly, who still think it’s not a woman’s time to be president,” said Grace Carrington, 53, a Democratic National Committee member from Coral Gables, Fla., who owns a home health care company.
Carrington and others who gathered at the DNC’s summer meeting in San Francisco last month said the party needs a ticket that includes at least one woman.
“Women are voting in such large numbers that if there isn’t one on the ticket, there will be hell to pay,” said Carrington, who is black. “It cannot be two men, and it certainly can’t be two white men.”
That sentiment was echoed by Susan Eastlake, 73, a DNC member and national committeewoman from Boise, Idaho, who is optimistic that younger voters – who may be less likely to buy into gender stereotypes – could help elect the nation’s first female president.
“We’re in a totally different time (from 2016) when you have not just many female candidates but also many fresh faces,” she said. “People don’t really know Kamala Harris or even Elizabeth Warren except for maybe her policies. So it’s a chance to see people for who they are and not what their longstanding public image is.”
Overall, only 63% of all respondents said the country is ready to send a woman to the Oval Office, about the same level as 2008 when Barack Obama beat Clinton for the nomination, according to the Ipsos poll.
Warren supporter Tanae McLean, 48, of Mooresville, N.C., has doubts about whether voters are ready to nominate a woman for president.
The communications officer for a local school district thinks it’s likelier today than it was at the beginning of the summer, given the momentum that’s growing for Warren. But she worries gender is still an issue for some.
“I hate that. I think it’s ridiculous (in) this day and age that, that is even a question,” said McLean, an independent. “We had a very qualified woman on the ticket in 2016 and I get the whole likability issue with Hillary Clinton, I get the baggage that came with Hillary Clinton, but I don’t think there was anybody on either side, right or left, that could say she wasn’t qualified and she wasn’t smart and she didn’t have what it takes to be a good president.”
Clinton broke an important barrier by becoming the first female nominee of a major party, said Robby Mook, who managed Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
“I don’t think that the idea of a woman running for president, the idea of a woman being nominated is novel anymore,” he told USA TODAY.
“I think that any woman running for office, particular executive office, faces a special set of challenges that are hopefully going to be overcome at some point but are still very much there,” Mook said. “For thousands and thousands of years, women were not always seen as the natural choice to take on an executive leadership role like this and a lot of that is still baked into our psychology.”
Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said the difficulty of envisioning a woman in the White House is based on the simple fact that it hasn’t happened yet.
“We will cross this ultimate electability hurdle when a woman is elected and then we won’t have to question all the time whether a woman can be elected.”
Margaret Rand, 64, an ardent Warren supporter, has no qualms about the Massachusetts senator’s ability to take on the president.
“I think she can beat Donald Trump because, first of all, she’s head and shoulders smarter than he is,” the retiree from Oskaloosa, Iowa, said during a recent interview. “He uses intimidation and she doesn’t have any problem standing up to people. She isn’t a shrinking violet. … She’s like the Energizer Bunny.”
Contributing: Kimberly Norvell, Des Moines Register
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CNN political commentator Carl Bernstein has fired an explosive broadside at President Trump, claiming former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s departure from the administration is the latest evidence that Trump “cannot conduct a coherent presidency.”
“This is, perhaps, the most convincing evidence that we’ve seen of late that we have a governing crisis under this president — a dire crisis in which the national security of the United States is not secure because of the conduct of the president of the United States,” Bernstein said on Tuesday.
His comments came after the president announced on Twitter that he Bolton was leaving his job. Bolton is the third national security adviser to exit the administration.
Trump, Bernstein argued, wasn’t relying on traditional methods for policymaking in international affairs. As a result, he said, Trump was making irresponsible decisions about hot spots like North Korea.
“This is seat-of-the-pants governance that is not working and our allies in particular, as well as our enemies, have picked up on this,” said Bernstein, who famously helped unearth the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration for The Washington Post. “And we are now in — we’re destabilized as a result of this president’s weaknesses.”
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Bernstein told CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin that Trump’s presidency marked the first time in modern history that the country didn’t have “functional governance.”
Trump, on Tuesday, announced that Bolton would leave amid strong disagreements with him and others in the administration. Although Trump claimed he asked for Bolton’s resignation, Bolton insisted he was the one who offered to leave.