Fix chat transcript: How will the latest Trump bombshells affect the 2020 race?

Sep 10, 2020

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Hi chatters, 

Since we chatted last week we’ve gotten two major Trump bombshells — the reports he denigrated war dead and captured, and the reporting in Bob Woodward’s new book that he knew exactly how bad things could get with coronavirus, despite what he was saying publicly (among many other topics). 

That’s two October-surprise level developments, 10 days into September. What do they mean for the 2020 race? 

Let’s talk about those and whatever else is on your mind this week.

are going to be released in the next month or so? Do we even have a list?

We don't have an official list as of now, but I'm pretty confident that this is not the last book that is going to come out before Election Day.

Am I right in assuming what he didn't want to panic was the stock market? Because he seems to have no problem with panicking "suburban housewives" about everything else.

That was always the most plausible explanation. I even wrote about it back in February. It's also what former DHS aide Elizabeth Neumann has said accounted for the lack of earlier, stricter mitigation.

Thanks to everyone for chatting during yet another consequential week. As usual, we're getting the usual Republicans "haven't read it, have to get to a meeting/lunch, I'm going to pretend to take a call" reactions to the latest Trump bombshell. In my view, they benefit from the fact that the outrages are so constant that by the time one hits there's another right behind and we quickly forget about the first one and are onto the second. And sadly, that's the case for all of us. For Republican senate candidates in tight races, though, aren't these things bound to come up in interviews, debates, town halls? How can they hide from it? And how will they respond when it's all there on tapes?

GOP candidates in competitive races can't hide from questions about Trump because their opponents are bound to associate the Republicans with their president. In advertisements and during virtual townhalls, Democratic candidates will likely be on the attack to a degree that will force some politicians on the Right to answer questions that those holding less competitive seats get to avoid.

I've heard two former political operatives suggest that Woodward's book and tapes will be the turning point that finally drives congressional Republicans away from Trump, as the Watergate tapes did with Nixon. You views?

It's all guesses at this point.

I am more skeptical than these operatives. I was just looking at a new Post-University of Md. poll about the way people plan to vote this fall, and it found that Republicans are way less skeptical than the rest of the country that coronavirus is a threat that will affect them and their family. 

29 percent of those definitely voting for Trump said they're worried about getting it, compared to 57% considering voting for Trump and 79% definitely not voting for Trump. 

Today's WP headline about a national poll only is only relevant to countries without an electoral college. It's as useful to the. U.S. electoral college results as a weather forecast. Ask Hillary.

National polls don't tell us everything, but they're relevant. There can be a popular vote/EC split, but really only if the race is close. If Biden is up 7-10 points, as the most recent polls indicate, that split isn't happening.

It's also the best substitute we have for state-specific polling, because that's very expensive to do across the country.

...I honestly don't think the revelations in Bob Woodward's will change the outcome of anyone's vote. Am I wrong??

Possibly, but I am more likely to view things the way you do.

Most voters already know what they are going to do on Election Day. Perhaps there are some undecided for who the pandemic is the major issue who are still on the fence about how they will vote. But I am not yet convinced that it is a significant number.

I guess we will find out for sure in a couple of months.

Is there really any thought that the book will change Trump's support much, if at all? It seems to me that Trump's supporters will ignore the new information from Woodward book even though the factual assertions are backed up by Trump's actual recorded statements. Or will it actually increase his support because there will be people who will be critical of "releasing" the information so close to the election and so far away from when the quotes were presented to Woodward?

I don't know that a revelation like this -- from the president's own mouth, on tape -- will increase his support. This has the potential to be extremely damaging to his reelection, because how he handled coronavirus is already a major weakness for him, with polls showing it's pushed women, independents, seniors and suburban voters away from him. I think the question is how much this will accelerate that trend, which was already pretty pronounced. (In polls, Biden has a substantial lead over Trump on who voters trust more to handle the virus.) 

The reporting all seems to assume that Trump was being truthful when he told Woodward that he knew about and appreciated the threat of the coronavirus very early. And that it was a strategic decision to not cause panic by withholding that information from the public. But what if that isn’t true? What if he actually ignored the intelligence and the warnings? And now he is rewriting history (which he’s done before) to make a colossal mistake look like a deliberate policy? His theory presumably being that it is easier to defend making a questionable choice than to defend inaction.

I dunno. That's very 4-dimensional chess, and I'm not sure it's better to claim you knew way back when and didn't do enough than to admit you had no idea.

Plus, Trump's claims were pretty specific -- talking about airborne transmission. According to Woodward's and previous Post reporting (a timeline of which can be found here), he was indeed being told how dire this was very early on.

As journalists, how do you see Bob Woodward’s delay in reporting Donald Trump’s acknowledgment of the danger presented by covid-19, recognizing that some lives might have been saved if he had been forthcoming sooner?

I don't know that there is a clear right or wrong answer here. In an interview with The Post's Margaret Sullivan, Woodward defended holding this information for his book for two reasons:
1. At the time, it wasn't clear just how much the president was misleading the American people. The country was just beginning to come to grips with coronavirus in February and mid March.
2. He thought he could put it all together in greater context in a book. And he got it out before the election so people could read and digest the information.

I'll add my own analysis of Woodward's defense, and let y'all decide if it's enough: Woodward is not a daily journalist anymore. He writes books for a living. I think it's possible he was entirely focused on reporting the book and it didn't occur to him to write a story about this.

He's a proven liar, mysoginist, failed businessman, won't release taxes, messed up COVID response - and lied about that too, cheated his family (siblings), ogles his daughter, uses the military to 'quell unrest', photo ops for no apparent reason, calls our war dead and wounded losers. Clearly and completely, he's in over his head the Peter Principle at it's very worst.....yet, here we are, Biden despite a host of his own issues is not so far ahead that Americans can sleep easily. I just don't understand how this election can be so close - please help a COVID insomniac out.

The reality is that for millions of voters, Trump's vision for this country is in line with their own. The direction that Biden and his supporters want to take America is away from the path that the president and his closest supporters believe is best. And so for many of them, there is little to nothing that he can do to lose their support as long as the alternative is liberalism.

Catching up on the now-overlooked bombshell about covering up Russian interference, not to mention everything else going on. What a week! Wait, I think that was two days. Anyway, I've asked this question before with an answer of a shoulder shrug, but I think it's a little bit more important now. Assuming Biden becomes President, why should his DOJ NOT prosecute multiple members of the Trump administration, potentially including Trump himself? I was a sprite when Ford pre-emptively pardoned Nixon, and thought it the right move at the time. I was wrong. You have to prosecute, so that future presidents don't do these things.

If in fact DOJ thinks Trump or anyone else might have broken the law, this will be a decision they'd have to confront. Do you decide to move forward as a country and worry that prosecutions would re-open old wounds at a time of transition, or do you use it as a method of justice and/or accountability?

These decisions are supposed to be made upon their merits, of course, without respect to politics. But there's also the risk that the prosecutions themselves would look political -- particularly if they weren't pursued until the new administration came in.

 

Does Republican Yvette Herrell really stand a chance against Xochitl Torres Small?

Considering that New Mexico's 2nd district has historically been red, Herrell does stand a chance. It appears that this race, like so many others, will be about turnout more than anything else.

How soon will reliable polling results become available in the wake of Bob Woodward's revelation of his tapes of Trump's approach on Covid-19? Are there red-leaning states that could be flipped blue as a result?

Generally there's about 5-7 days worth of lag time between an event and a time in which we might truly get a poll that would measure it.

It's worth noting that a new Monmouth poll today -- a week after the Atlantic's story on Trump disparaging troops -- showed little change in the race. But as I argued today, that's been the case for nearly every controversy Trump has faced; the danger for him is that these things cement him as the underdog that he is. He needs to grow his support -- not stand pat.

Today Trump's voice in early February shows he and others knew. Trump and his staff knew more than Woodward and all of them said nothing. Why didn't Pence stand up and speak up and protect us? Trump and Pence saw Americans dying, suffering, and loosing jobs, parents, babies, children, etc. and were ok with it. Why do people want to slam the messenger, Woodward when Pence did nothing to uphold his oath to the USA?

We live in highly partisan and strongly anti-media (especially among the Right) times that allow Trump and his team to be excused by things that previous Republican administrations would have never gotten a pass for. Trump has done an effective job of convincing many of his closest supporters that the real culprit in all of this is China and that he has been working diligently to hold the country accountable. So many facts disprove this, but those who are primarily consuming conservative media aren't exposed to many of the facts surrounding this pandemic.

Look, I know people are haunted by 2016 and that one always has to allow for freak events and uncertainties, but isn't it pretty unescapable that this is: (1) a race where Biden is hovering around 50% and Trump just over 40%; (2) ~8% of the electorate is up for grabs; (3) there's no real third party option; (3) that 8% is Trump-reluctant at best, yet he needs to win the OVERWHELMING share of that vote to repeat a popular-vote loss/electoral college win; (4) it's a referendum election; (5) the first debate is basically the last chance to win the 8%; (6) if Biden doesn't drop his pants in the debate, he will win some meaningful share of that vote; and (7) the odds of Trump sweeping the 8% are extremely low?

Yes, I think your analysis is pretty spot on. As I've written previously in this chat, Biden remains in the driver's seat in this race. And as Aaron wrote today, Trump is still not in great position in recent polling.

Does GOP challenger Sean Parnell still stand much of a chance against Rep. Conor Lamb in SW Pennsylvania? He seems to be campaigning on being more macho than former Marine Lamb, which seems ironic.

I haven't followed this race too closely, in part because it's not on my radar of top 10 House races most likely to flip seats. There are other Democrats more in danger of losing their seats before Lamb.

Parnell is a big name in Republican politics; I believe he spoke at Republican's national convention. But at the presidential level, Joe Biden is polling well in Pennsylvania-- he leads by an average 7 points over Trump -- which makes it much harder for Parnell to take out a sitting congressman. 

A comment, not a question: A majority of Biden supporters say that their primary motivation is defeating Trump. I've seen this repeatedly reported as indicating that they are not strongly pro-Biden. I can only speak for myself, but I truly like and support Joe Biden and I think he'll make a strong, caring president. Yet my No. 1 objective remains defeating Trump because he's so odious. Those opinions co-exist in a way that isn't frequently reported.

I actually think more people have favorable views of Biden than some of his critics on the left and right believe. The Post released a poll after he selected Kamala Harris as his VP featuring his favorability ratings. I think the idea that everyone -- or even most -- on the left is holding their breath and backing him is not supported by the data. And if he is successful in November, I think there will be more attention given to this.

Do you think a recording will ever emerge of Trump calling WW I military buried in France "losers" and "suckers" will emerge just before election day (November 3)? Or does the Secret Service strip anyone within earshot of the President of their devices that could secretly record him?

This is just pure conjecture, because who knows. But the Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg has spent years reporting on Trump and the military. I would imagine if there were tapes, he would have gotten them by now? 

Trump's excuse seems pretty flimsy when you consider his Law and Order speeches and actions. He stirs up hatred and fear and calls protesters terrorists.

There is so very little that anyone could point to that would prove that President Trump is genuinely interested in reducing fear among Americans -- and especially his closest supporters. From his earliest days -- even the day he announced his campaign, Trump has attempted to scare Americans into believing that the country and even world will fall apart if anyone else is in the Oval Office besides himself. For large pockets of the electorate, this approach has been quite effective.

Max Rose released an ad criticizing NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. Is that more about courting Rose's Staten Island voters for the fall who hate de Blasio, or about setting himself up for a mayoral run down the line?

It's not the easiest district -- a tossup, per the Cook Political Report -- but it's still a pretty stunning ad from a Democrat.

I'm not sure I've seen the mayoral speculation connected to Rose, but to the extent de Blasio has a base, it would probably be needlessly provocative. Much easier to criticize him more gently and then use that in a future mayoral run. 

For all the folks who are pointing fingers at Woodward....where was Pence? Where were all the good people in the WH who said nothing???

These, I believe, are the questions that Mike Pence and other high up Trump officials will have to answer when the vice president and whoever else eventually runs for president in four years. Attempts might be made to distance themselves from the president to win the support of independent and swing voters. But history will show that when it comes to many of the most consequential issues in this administration,  Pence and other key figures either aided Trump or remained silent when they could have spoken up.

What would be the effect of delaying the 2020-2021 school year until 2021-2022.

In June, the World Bank found that school closures could cost this generation of students $10 trillion dollars in earnings over their lifetimes. A separate study from the Brookings Institution in August found that closures would cost the U.S. economy 12.7 percent of its annual gross domestic product. There are significant impacts, but government and public health officials have been trying to balance those impacts with the potential of more coronavirus outbreaks if the virus is not contained and schools open for in-person learning.

How you handle truth vs belief when a conservative will automatically not believe something from someone affiliated with the Washington Post and a liberal will not automatically believe someone affiliated with Fox News?

Generally, you ask if there is a media outlet that they do respect and look for well-reported, fact-based news from that organization and share it. If a conservative only accepts information from pro-Trump news sources, I'm not sure that there is anything one can do to make them entertain pieces that are critical of the president's job performance.

Hi! I am wondering how news companies are planning to detect deep-fake audio recordings.

The Washington Post actually published some guidelines on this last year, and The Post also has a team that monitors for manipulated audio/video.

The Justice Department is trying to make the defendant in defamation lawsuit be the US Government, not President Trump. How is this possible? How can a "government" defame anyone? What legal standing would the government have to be the subject of this case?

So this is a really interesting case that raises yet more questions about whether the Justice Department is using its considerable power to protect President Trump.

I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding of how the Justice Department can take over this case -- the likely effect being getting it dropped or at least delayed well past the election -- is because the president was defending himself from writer E. Jean Carroll's accusation that he raped her while in office. It was part of his job, the government is saying, to defend himself, so the government can now defend him. 

A judge has to rule on whether that is legitimate, but from everything I've read, the courts have taken a very loose interpretation of what "on the job" means for a government official, protecting them from defamation case.

I still don't understand why the government is taking this up now, rather than when the case came up a year or so ago. The case was moving toward forcing Trump to provide DNA samples and testimony from the president under oath. 

What do you make of Biden's apparent weakness with Hispanic and black voters compared with Clinton?

I think it's more pronounced with Hispanic voters -- and particularly in Florida and the Cuban-American population -- than with Black voters.

As for the "why?" It's a more swing-y voting group than most demographics, and Cuban-Americans in particular have been so. Beyond that, perhaps the GOP attacks on the Democrats and socialism have had some impact. The Biden campaign began its Spanish-language advertising recently. Even the polls that show a tighter race among Florida's Hispanic community, though, suggest it's less about Trump gaining than undecideds increasing.

In what universe did Donald Trump believe that after 18 interviews with Bob Woodward that he was going to come out looking good? Woodward ate him alive in "Fear" and looks like he went back for a big second-helping in "Rage".

This is what I am struggling to wrap my brain around.

I'm not sure what the president was thinking exactly.

Did he want the public to know what Woodward is reporting? Does he care?

I'm not sure.

My only guess is that Trump respects Woodward and the role that they have played in American history and wants his reporting to be part of the president's own legacy -- perhaps for egotistical purposes.

Why isn't the Senate race in Minnesota getting more attention? Some recent polls show a fairly close race, the state was a hair's-breadth from going for Trump in 2016 and will be hotly contested by the Presidential campaigns. And yet Texas and South Carolina are more likely to be cited in the "could flip in the right circumstances" lists than Minnesota. What gives?

The state is likely to be closer at the presidential level than Texas or South Carolina, but the GOP candidate in Minnesota is less heralded. So long as the race mirrors the top of the ticket, though, it can't be rules out.

I think that too little attention is being paid by the media to the presidential polls in the swing states. We quote percentages from national polls. All well and good I guess, but we know the states whose results will be crucial to the outcome. Is it too early to focus on them?

Most of the polling I see is actually on swing states. Perhaps the information one receives on this matter is connected to who they do and do not follow on social media. Especially given how 2016 turned out, I think most journalists and media organizations have narrowed their attention on North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

What the heck, Florida? A tie among likely voters? Biden is doing better among older white voters, but struggling with minorities in the state. Come on, man. What is this?

Florida has long been a state where politicians win by extremely narrow margins, like a percentage point or two. It was very surprising to see Biden leading by so much -- as much as 13 points in one poll this summer -- in the state. And it underscores that his lead in other state is expected to get slimmer, too. (Something the Biden camp has been warning about to set expectations.)

As for minority voters, that's gotta be frustrating for Republicans to see. They have argued, not without evidence, that Hispanic voters have the potential to be lifelong Republican voters. They had a plan after Mitt Romey's 2012 loss to address that, then Trump won the party's nomination next.

What impact do you think big money and the Russian interference will have on the presidential election? Are we likely to have a repeat of the 2016 election where Trump won in spite of losing the popular vote?

Intelligence agencies have been reporting for more than a year that Russia was attempting to interfere in the 2020 election. There's no reason to believe that that has changed. If anything, it's more likely that efforts to do so have become more aggressive. It is my belief that all attention should be on the Electoral College at this point given that most polls show that Trump is going to lose the popular vote again.

I'm two thirds of the way through Disloyal. I'm hooked. But I'm not seeing much in the news. Is no one taking this book seriously?

The Post covered key revelations in the book over the weekend, but that news was quickly overshadowed by Bob Woodward's forthcoming book. It is also important to keep in mind that these are allegations by someone who previously admitted to lying to Congress. That doesn't mean the allegations are false, but it does mean skepticism is warranted.

So now he's saying that if what he said to Woodward was so terrible, why didn't Woodward say something? It's hard to know where to even start with the ridiculousness of that statement, but does the WH really believe that's their best defense? Or have those around Trump largely thrown up their hands and he's on his own from here on out?

There has been a real conflict among conservative reactions to the report. On the one hand, it's "Why did he agree to talk to Woodward" and "I can't believe Lindsey Graham set it up." On the other, it's "It's not even that bad."

Hard to have it both ways.

If General Kelly were to confirm the "losers and suckers" quote, would you agree it finally could move the needle?

One: I don't think he will.

Two: Maybe a tiny bit? But Trump said a seven-year prisoner of war wasn't a hero before, and that was before he got elected.

How are both parties feeling about their chances in the Montana and Iowa Senate races?

Democrats are more optimistic than Republicans, on the whole. All these Trump scandals aren't helping Republican feel more confident. I recently moved both race up to toss ups, despite the fact Trump won both states in 2016 -- Montana by 20 points.

That being said, I still think it's going to take a big Democratic wave to unseat sitting Republican senators in these conservative-leaning states. But it could happen.

Woodward is being criticized for not releasing the Trump tapes about Covid-19 earlier. Would that have made a difference? Would lives have been saved? Would there have been enough reason to impeach him again? Finally, will any of this matter to Trump's die hard supporters?

We can not know fore sure. Perhaps the thought is that more swing voters would have swung against Trump by now. But that assumes that the president's handling of the pandemic would be the main thing to cause these individuals to vote against him. We can't say for certain. Only time will tell if this revelation has enough of an impact to lead more Americans to vote against him in November. Personally, it's hard for me to believe that it will for many of those individuals who are still on the fence about what they will do in November.

for this to be an Election Week of results rather than a few hours on Election Night? I worry about how the tv networks are going to handle the likelihood of returns coming in over a period of days.

We are hyperaware this could and probably will go past election day -- Post reporters have written as much in headlines and we as a newsroom are planning accordingly. Obviously there are many unknowns about how it plays out, but we will be ready and you should see that reflected in our coverage. 

GOP or Democrat, latest tidbits to pass along?

It's gunna be close, too close to predict. (I will predict Democrats keep their House majority, but we'll see if they lose some seats to Republicans.)

Here's more on what Democrats need to do to win back the majority. They need everything to go perfectly for them in the top four or so most competitive states and win the White House. Or to win a tougher state, like Iowa or Montana or Georgia. And with all that, they'd only have, like a one-vote majority. 

In your opinions, is it possible that Trump’s actual and alleged disparagement of the military, POWs, MIAs, and wounded reflect what many Americans really think but would never so openly and so rudely express? Kind of like racism? I believe that many Americans look down on military careers as only for losers ever since the Vietnam era. I don’t think the recent revelations will cost Trump with his base. Also, we already knew most of this since at least 2016. Why do you think this is different now?

A new Monmouth University poll today showed 55% thought Trump respected the military "a great deal" or "somewhat" -- compared to 71% for Biden. So it seems to be having something of an impact.

Whether that extends to the head-t0-head polls, though, is another question. 

I do think there is a difference between people perhaps believing that this is a route for people who come from lower classes of society and them not believing it's a noble and patriotic calling. 

Is there truly anything remaining to happen that can totally sink President Trump's candidacy and election? Even the worst of the worst scenarios don't appear to tilt the strong support that the President enjoys currently.

I mean, coronavirus -- and his handling of race relations and racial inequality protests -- have been two enduring lags on him. So I'm looking for events or revelation that hammer home voters' skepticism of the president on these two issues. The Woodward book certainly does that, on both.

How can we change the narrative? Trump uses hatred and xenophobia to “rally” his base. The actual issues are unemployment, the coronavirus (and his total failure there), the economy and rebuild, social justice, healthcare, etc. He does not believe in science, or facts, or, at this point, democracy. How can those of us who believe in our country and democracy, push the real stories? Keep those ideas at the forefront?

I believe the aforementioned stories have been kept at the forefront at media organizations covering this presidency comprehensively. But you can't make people consume stories that they do not want to from outlets that they do not respect. And the truth is that most of the president's most diehard supporters consume information from outlets that do not thoroughly report on the president's failures and create spin narratives to push successes that aren't quite accurate.

Why has the GOP caved to Trump? Is he really that powerful or are the rank and file suckered just as much as his base?

There is no political home for elected Republicans outside supporting Trump. It's just not an option for them to stay in power AND be overtly critical Trump (with a few minor minor exception, like Mitt Romney.)

Any thoughts on whether including senators like Cotton, Cruz and Hawley on the list will make some voters less inclined to vote for Trump? Or was this mainly a signal to the evangelical voters that their wishes are still paramount?

It is important to remember that Trump broke decades of precedent by releasing a list of possible Supreme Court nominees in 2016. Presidential candidates had long-avoided releasing such a list for fear of committing themselves to a list that could later change.

However, the 2016 list was successful in maintaining and increasing Trump's support among conservatives then and that is likely the reason for again releasing a list of possible nominees in 2020, including the names you listed above.

Can you please explain what exactly "confirming" a story based on anonymous sources means? In 2017, CNN reported that Donald Trump, Jr. received advanced notice of the WikiLeaks release of DNC emails. This report was independently confirmed by MSNBC, and then also confirmed by CBS. However, the story fell apart when it was revealed that all the anonymous sources had made the same mistake when reading the date on the email. Three news outlets all "confirmed" a story that was later shown to be false. If the same source repeats the same claim to multiple news organizations, is that confirmation?

It's possible outlets can rely upon the same faulty source(s) as "confirmation" -- and when sources are anonymous, they may not know it's the same source -- but each of them should do their own due diligence when evaluating a claim by a source. I can only speak for the outlet I work for, but it's not as simple as someone reporting something and then getting one or two people to say the same thing. Their credibility matters, as does the ability to verify and/or corroborate their account.

So I get the criticism of "confirming" anonymous sources, but I don't think you can't do so.

Dear Fix Team, Does Qasim Rachid have a chance to finally win the Va. 1st for the Democrats this year? Though Va. overalls blue, this district has been hard to wrestle form Republicans,a sit stretch form n.Va. all the way to Norfolk. But is this the year?

Virginia's not really a battleground for either party this year, with the exception of a few seats. And the 1st district doesn't seem to be one of them, which makes me skeptical Democrats will flip that seat.

That being said, Democrats have made remarkable inroads outside of Northern Virginia the past few election cycles. And they clearly have voters like you engaged on it.


Sorry that doesn't directly answer your question, but it's the best I can give without knowing much about that race. 

A segment of the left has talked about increasing the size of the Supreme Court, should Biden and Democrats win the presidency and Senate, respectively. But this seems incredibly unlikely to occur. But we've gone 42 years without really expanding the number of trial and appellate judges, despite having 100 million more people. Could a Biden administration and Democratic Congress seek to expand the number of trial and appellate judges, especially as Trump has put about 200 Federalist Society favorites on the bench?

There will certainly be pressure among those on the left for a Biden administration to do all that is possible to reverse the gains that conservatives have made in the judicial system. I imagine that expanding as many court benches as possible at every level will be chief among them.

I understand the argument that even these latest devastating revelations are not going to change minds, since opinions on Trump are pretty much baked in by now. What I wonder is how much they may nevertheless convince -Trump voters that he may not be worth the effort to vote, and -Trump haters that even if their vote "isn't going to change anything", they need to get out there for their own sanity.

That's possible.

All these situations you guys have mentioned during this chat are possible. People's reasons for supporting candidates and staying loyal to them are so personal that I don't think we can predict any broad trends about how Trump's base (or opponents) will react to any particular revelation. 

As someone with an economics degree, I find this to be a compelling reason to vote against Trump. Do you think it has any impact on voters?

It matters, but how much it matters in a year when so many voters have already made up their minds is the question. If the unemployment rate continues to drop and if the recovery continues, it could boost Trump. But if a coronavirus relief package continues to stall in Congress and more temporary layoffs become permanent, it could be another vulnerability for Trump heading into November.

How have we not talked more about the fact that the second wives of Republican Senate Majority Leaders have served as Secretary of Labor and Secretary of Transportation in two different Republican administrations? Elizabeth Dole (second wife of Bob Dole) was Transportation Secretary under Reagan and then Labor Secretary under George H.W. Bush. While Elaine Chao (second wife of Mitch McConnell) was Labor Secretary under George W. Bush and now Transportation Secretary under Trump.

Quite the piece of trivia! I will try to remember this when the next Republican Senate Majority Leader takes office to see if their partner ends up in a presidential Cabinet. :)

Every time [a] flack dismisses Cohen as a convicted liar, why don't reporters follow up that he was convicted for lying FOR HER BOSS?

I sympathize with the argument that the substance of Cohen's lies is important. But just because he lied for one motivation doesn't mean he wouldn't do it for another. It's also worth noting that Cohen was accused of lying in his testimony even after flipping on Trump -- specifically when he denied he sought a pardon. Credibility matters, even as it's easier to believe someone who turned on someone they had plenty of reason to stand by.

Acquaintance, who was a last ditch Bernie Sanders supporter and voted for Jill Stein in 2016, says she will vote for Biden "because the stakes are too high." Wonder how many there are like this?

There seems to be a general unity among Democrats right now to vote for Biden, as a way of voting AGAINST Trump. But as The Post's Dan Balz has reported, that union is tenuous, and we could see fractures in the party pretty quickly after Democrats take power, whenever that is. 

In This Chat
Amber Phillips
Amber Phillips writes about politics for The Fix. She was previously the one-woman D.C. bureau for the Las Vegas Sun and has reported from Boston and Taiwan.
Aaron Blake
Aaron Blake is senior political reporter for The Fix. A Minnesota native, he has also written about politics for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Hill newspaper.
Eugene Scott
Eugene Scott writes about identity politics for The Fix. He was recently a fellow at the Georgetown University Institute of Politics. And prior to joining the Post, he was a breaking news reporter at CNN Politics.
JM Rieger
JM Rieger is the video editor for The Fix, covering national politics. He joined The Washington Post in 2018. Previously, Rieger worked as a video producer covering national politics for HuffPost. He began his career as a video editor covering Congress for Roll Call.
Natalie Jennings
Natalie Jennings is editor of The Fix. She has been at The Washington Post since 2010 and was previously a senior producer for Post Video.
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