Some senior party officials feel ambitious and want to ride another potential “blue wave” in an attempt to win races that are generally out of reach in states like Georgia and Ohio. But there is also a tension of caution across the Democratic Party. Things looked good for them for a while in 2016 too, but the Republicans ended up controlling the White House and the two houses of Congress, and the memory of this cataclysmic loss is still fresh.
“I mean, we are marked emotionally and mentally in such a way that we won’t feel comfortable until a week after Biden is sworn in,” said Democratic strategist Tom Bowen.
In any electoral cycle, campaigners use cautious phrases like “we leave nothing to chance” or “let’s campaign like we’re 10 points ahead until election day” – and the 2020 presidential race is no different. But coupled with that, there is an argument that Trump’s arguments for his re-election do not reach the voters he needs.
A recent Biden campaign surrogate from his deputy campaign director, Kate Bedingfield, said: “No matter how hard he tries, the only candidates for Trump’s assault are himself and the Republicans down. ballot who handcuffed themselves to him. In other words, the American people simply do not buy their products on [Biden]. »
The note then ticked off the issues with each of Trump’s arguments.
On Tuesday, in another sign that Democrats are seeing a rare opening to compete in what are usually Republican strongholds, the Biden campaign began broadcasting a 60-second Texas election announcement, fueled by a six-figure ad purchase. This announcement is the first of a $ 15 million multi-state flash campaign in six battlefield states – Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona.
Meanwhile, pro-Trump America First Action Super Pac spills $ 23 million in Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, and Wisconsin but not Michigan – a state Trump needs to be re-elected. Trump himself has campaigned in recent months in reliable red states. Private polls for Republicans also show that the President is struggling in what is generally reliable Conservative states.
All of this suggests that Democrats have the upper hand over Republicans. But officials and agents of the Democratic State expect a tightening of polls and the end of the summer. In several interviews, these officials were hopeful but also realistic that the coming months will not be easy.
Democrats often cite 2016, where polls have shown that Hillary Clinton was clearly the favorite to win the presidency. At that time, and still today, some Democrats also believed that it was possible to regain control of the Senate.
“I’m not going to argue that there is no anxiety there, and I think 2016 put that into our being because we felt very secure that we would have a Democratic president, and the things have changed so quickly, “said Vicki Hiatt, president of the Kansas Democratic Party.
Democrats hope to win a seat in the US Senate in Kansas this cycle, which is generally unheard of. “I think over the past three and a half years we have seen very unpredictable things happen that we did not expect. I think that’s where this anxiety comes from. For me personally, I will not rest until we have done this thing. I am cautiously optimistic, but I don’t take anything for granted. ”
Beginning in September, Biden and Trump will face off in three televised debates, which Republican campaign officials hope the President will be able to dominate. Democrats are also expecting some sort of “October surprise” from the Trump campaign and a deluge of warnings about democratic control of the White House and Congress.
“This tightening will take place. It’s natural. So what we need to do is build our reserves now, “said Maryland Democratic Party president Yvette Lewis. “So we can’t waste time worrying about assumptions now. ”
Tennessee Democrat President Mary Mancini said that Republicans had not yet launched their full force of attack on Democratic candidates this round.
“Now what they could do and what they’re trying to do is sow fear to win,” said Mancini. “I think the most damaging and frightening thing is that we have yet to see the Republican Party’s total aggression in terms of using fear to motivate voters. We have seen a little, but this is the tip of the iceberg for the Republican Party. “
The pandemic has also changed the reality of the office campaign. More voters will vote by mail rather than in person, which could delay the final results on election night. Trump has argued, contrary to the established evidence, that postal voting is vulnerable to fraud.
“I think my biggest fear is what Republicans are doing now and over the next few months to delegitimize the election,” said Aryeh Alex, executive director of the Ohio Democrats electoral campaign.
Julian Mulvey, a Democrat advertising veteran, added, “Every Democrat should be worried. Every Democrat should be nervous because it will not be over until it is over. But I think everyone is nervously optimistic right now. “