What to Know in Washington: Democrats to Rely on Youth in 2020

The election prospects for Democrats in 2020 will turn on whether the party can keep fanning the fires that drove young voters to the ballot box last year.

A record jump in the turnout rate for young voters — those ages 18 to 29 — helped Democrats retake control of the House in the midterm elections. Several signs point to that voting trend continuing in 2020 with President Donald Trump on the ballot and the increasingly bitter political atmosphere driving up interest in the election among all voters.

“It is not crazy to think that youth turnout will be above 50% among people under 30 in 2020,” David Nickerson, a political science professor at Temple University. “If that ends up being right, then the Democrats are likely to gain a few votes.”

Although young voters typically cast ballots at rates well behind their elders, any increase could make a significant difference. And it’s not just the turnout — it’s where those voters turn out. In five states, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, the winning margin in the 2016 presidential election was 1.5 percentage points or less.

The advantage of a bigger youth vote likely would accrue to Democrats. Polls show young voters are increasingly aligned with the party on issues they regard as important. A Harvard Institute of Politics Public Opinion poll of young Americans in April found that 48% of young adults believe the nation is on the wrong track and 68% disapprove of Trump. A majority in the poll voted Democratic in the 2016 election and ranked among their top concerns promoting human rights, curbing gun violence and fighting climate change. Read more from Jarrell Dillard.

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg
Voters at a polling station in California.

More Elections & Politics

Warren Chips Away at Biden’s Strength: Joe Biden’s strongest selling point — that he’s the most likely to beat Trump — is losing some of its edge, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) vaults into second place because a growing number of Democrats think she can win the general election. In a Economist/YouGov poll, 65% of Democratic voters said Biden would “probably beat Donald Trump” — unchanged from June. But the number saying the same thing about Warren jumped 14 points since then, to 57%, the highest of any other candidate. Read more from Sahil Kapur.

2020 Democrats Hit Up Hampton Donors: A world away from the Iowa State Fair and its array of deep fried food-on-a-stick just a week earlier, 2020 Democratic hopefuls are spending the final weeks of summer raising cash in the enclaves of the rich and famous. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) held a Hamptons event yesterday night while Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) held court at musician Jon Bon Jovi’s house. Pete Buttigieg will be in the Hamptons over Labor Day weekend. Joe Biden, who’ll be in East Hampton next weekend, has already hit up Cape Cod, Aspen and Sun Valley, Idaho. Read more from Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou and Amanda Gordon.

Buttigieg Dodges Questions on Black Support: The first openly gay person to run for president dodged a question from CNN’s Jake Tapper about whether his sexual orientation was a factor in his lag in catching on with black voters, especially in the South. Buttigieg has done well in fund-raising, collecting $7 million in the second quarter, but he still polls well behind Biden, Warren, Harris and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). On CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday he was asked about the difficulty making inroads with black voters, especially in the South, and whether being gay was a factor. Buttigieg dodged the question, reverting to talking points about his policy proposals. Read more from Ros Krasny.

Sanford Says Trump Doesn’t Deserve Second Term: Mark Sanford said he’s exploring a bid for the 2020 Republican nomination since Trump doesn’t deserve re-election — but that he’d still vote for the president over a Democrat. “He’s taking us in the wrong direction,” Sanford said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday, citing business investments “cratering” over the past few months because “nobody knows what’s going to come next” on Trump’s trade policies or other White House initiatives. Sanford, a former representative from South Carolina, narrowly lost a 2018 primary after Trump endorsed his opponent and tweeted on election day that the lawmaker was “nothing but trouble.” Read more from Hailey Waller.

Kennedy Mulling Massachusetts Senate Campaign: Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) is weighing a campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, the New York Times reported, citing an unidentified Democratic official with knowledge of the matter. Kennedy, the grandson of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, had publicly indicated that he intended to run for re-election next year but is now considering a campaign against Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and will decide in the coming weeks, according to the report.

Trade Talks

U.S.-China Trade: Trump said the U.S. is “doing very well with China, and talking!” but suggested he wasn’t ready to sign a trade deal, hours after his top economic adviser laid out a potential timeline for the resumption of substantive discussions with Beijing. Trump vowed that the U.S. was “poised for big growth” after various trade deals are reached. But speaking to reporters as he departed New Jersey for Washington yesterday, Trump said China needs a trade agreement more than the U.S. given the relatively weak condition of the Asian nation’s economy. Read more from Hailey Waller, Jordan Yadoo and Jennifer Jacobs.

U.S.-Mexico Tomato Trade War: A key deadline is set to lapse today that could lead to permanent U.S. tariffs on Mexican tomato imports, with costs potentially hitting American consumers when the weather turns cold later this year. As of last week, the two sides had failed to reach an agreement to end an anti-dumping investigation over Mexican tomato imports and lift a 17.6% provisional tariff, which went into effect in May. The outcome of the investigation may now make the tariffs permanent, potentially hitting the Mexican agriculture industry as well as American supermarkets and restaurants.

But some U.S. produce farmers, backed by Florida Republicans Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ted Yoho, have said they favor letting the investigation and the tariffs go forward. They say Mexico, the world’s largest tomato exporter, has been unfairly undercutting American farmers on price, hurting agriculture in Florida, among other places. Mexico denies that its farmers are dumping. Read more from Jonathan Levin and Eric Martin.

Danes Prepare for Trump Visit Amid Doubts: Trump indicated before a planned trip to Copenhagen that he wanted to buy Greenland, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. The government in the Danish capital told him the world’s biggest island isn’t for sale, and the state visit is now in doubt. Trump has been invited by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark for a state visit due to take place on Sept. 2-3. The office of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has confirmed the planned trip, and says the necessary preparations for an official presidential visit are being putting in place. But over the weekend, Trump told reporters that it’s not certain he’ll be making the trip. Read more from Morten Buttler and Christian Wienberg.

More Foreign Affairs

White House to Proceed With Ending Some Foreign Aid Payments: The Trump administration will move forward within days with a plan to cancel certain foreign aid payments authorized by Congress, setting up a fight with lawmakers opposed to the move. A senior administration official confirmed that the so-called rescissions package would be announced early this week. Some of the funding being zeroed out was for projects like installing solar panels in the Caribbean and creating safe spaces in Ireland for people upset about Brexit, said the administration official, who declined to be identified discussing plans not yet made public. Read more from Justin Sink.

Iran Warns U.S. Against Targeting Tanker: Iran warned the U.S. against targeting a supertanker carrying the Middle East country’s oil as the vessel departed Gibraltar after being seized last month by U.K. forces and held in the British territory. The tanker, detained by the British on suspicion of hauling oil to Syria in violation of European sanctions, set sail from Gibraltar after being released late last week and is signaling Greece as its next destination. “The U.S. surely can’t seize the Iranian tanker and, if it does, it would pos e a threat to international maritime security,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said. Read more from Brian Wingfield and Arsalan Shahla.

Hacking Thefts Prompt New Cybersecurity Office: The Navy said Friday it’s creating a new leadership position and four subordinate directorates to stop intellectual property from being stolen from the service and its contractors amid a hacking onslaught by China, Iran, and Russia. The new position, called a special assistant to the secretary for information management, will oversee directorate officers charged with shoring up widespread defense industrial and Navy cyber vulnerabilities, ranging from aging systems to email etiquette according to a review earlier this year. Read more from Travis J. Tritten.

Brazil Mulls Labeling Hezbollah as Terrorists: Brazil is considering designating Lebanese group Hezbollah a terrorist organization, as President Jair Bolsonaro increasingly aligns his government with the U.S. on foreign policy. Officials are reviewing their options to move forward with the idea, which is being discussed at the highest levels of government but doesn’t have across-the-board support, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter. It wouldn’t be easily implemented due to the particularities of Brazilian law, the y added, requesting anonymity because the discussion isn’t public. Read more from Samy Adghirni.

Movers & Shakeups

Ford Turned to Scalia on Harassment Suits: Ford for decades has been defending a series of lawsuits alleging sexual harassment and racial abuse in the automaker’s plants. The company has paid more than $30 million to settle some of those cases and CEO Jim Hackett in 2017 issued an apology to employees after scathing reports of rampant on the job abuses. Since at least 2007, the company has leaned heavily on Eugene Scalia, the Trump administration’s pick to run the Labor Department, and a team of other high-powered attorneys to defend it in the most significant lawsuits at the federal appeals level.

Scalia’s approach to issues in employment cases is expected to become a key line of questioning for Democrats who remain skeptical about whether decades spent defending major companies accused of workplace illegality qualifies him to lead an agency whose primary mission is protecting workers’ rights. Read more from Hassan A. Kanu.

Louisiana’s Governor During Katrina Dies: Former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, who became the state’s first female elected governor only to see her political career derailed by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, has died, the Associated Press reports. After struggling for years with cancer, Blanco died yesterday in hospice care in Lafayette. She was 76.

What Else to Know Today

Google, Facebook, Trump to Protest French Tax: The relationship between Trump and the largest U.S. technology companies has often been frosty, but a common opponent — France’s plan to tax U.S. tech giants — will bring the two sides together, at least temporarily. Google, Facebook and Amazon are all scheduled to testify in Washington today in support of the Trump administration’s efforts to potentially punish France for enacting a 3% tax on global tech companies with at least $832 million in global revenue and digital sales of 25 million eu ros in France. Read more from Laura Davison.

Rural Health Package Aimed at Hospitals: The Senate Finance Committee chairman is trying to garner support among his colleagues for a package of rural health bills centered on a proposal to create a new kind of hospital eligible to treat Medicare patients. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wants his panel to approve a slate of rural health care-focused bills that include a proposal he’s backed for years: creating a new classification of hospital under Medicare that operates just emergency and outpatient services. Right now, hospitals in Medicare must have a certain number of inpatient beds to participate in the insurance program. Read more from Alex Ruoff.

White House Mulled Ways to Block Migrant Children From Schools: Some top aides to Trump sought for months for a way to give states the power to block undocumented immigrant children from enrolling in public schools — all part of the administration’s efforts to stem illegal crossings at the southern U.S. border. Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller had been a driving force behind the effort as early as 2017, pressing cabinet officials and members of the White House Domestic Policy Council repeatedly to devise a way to limit enrollment, according to several p eople familiar with the matter. The push was part of a menu of ideas on immigration that could be carried out without congressional approval. Read more from Jennifer Jacobs and Justin Sink.

Trump Says Apple Worried About Samsung’s Import Levy Edge: Trump said Apple CEO Tim Cook voiced concerns about chief competitor Samsung Electronics getting an edge because its products, unlike Apple’s, won’t be subject to tariffs when imported by the U.S. Cook and Trump had dinner on Friday night, while the president was at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Trump said Cook made a “good case” about the difficulty in competing with Samsung if Apple products are subject to import tariffs. “I thought he made a very compelling argument.” Read more from Jennifer Jacobs and Mark Gurman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zachary Sherwood in Washington at zsherwood@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brandon Lee at blee@bgov.com; Loren Duggan at lduggan@bgov.com

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