If Trump wins next month there will be a slew of ‘the signs were there all along’ pieces. So perhaps it’s worth considering what those signs would be.... (quick thread) 1/?
1) The economy. Battleground state voters put the economy top or joint top of issues they are voting on. Trump continues to beat Biden on leading a US recovery - a reflection of him not getting the blame for the covid-triggered crash + the depth of his ‘business wizard’ image 2/?
... On my bits in swing states the thing that keeps coming up is the intense financial pain people are feeling from the pandemic. Yes, absolutely they want safety. They also want jobs. 7m got covid. 50m+ filed for unemployment. Trump is speaking to that pain more than Biden. 3/?
2) Enthusiasm. This is a Trump election. Back Trump vs Stop Trump. Battleground state polls back that up. The Trump campaign has a base strategy - energise the base so much that they turnout in even bigger numbers than 2016 to get the president over the line. 4/?
Is that working? There are some signs. In Nevada (a swing state) Repubs out-registered Dems in July, Aug, Sep. They hadn’t done that in a single presidential year month since 2004. If Trump wins it may well be he drove up turnout of non-college white voters, esp in Rust Belt. 5/?
3) Deligitimising Biden. The Trump camp’s attempts from top down to make Biden appear unvoteable have been ruthless. Personal stuff (suggesting dementia, he’s lining his son’s pocket). Political stuff (a radical socialist puppet). Darker stuff from right-wing groups online. 6/?
Biden is much trickier than H Clinton for this stuff to stick. He fought primaries against Bernie’s ‘revolution’, didn’t crumble in debate, etc. His favourability much better than Clinton. But among voters I’ve found that stuff keeps getting mentioned. Has been widely heard. 7/?
4) Voting process. We may not have begun to fully understand the huge changes in voting process caused by covid + how that impacts the 2020 electorate. Will certain groups vote more / less? How many will muck up their postal ballots? Will that hurt one party more? 8/?
What about big in-person queues? Does that put off some voters? Who loses out? And what about a count that could take days? Legal challenges? If the race is close, these may be v v important. We don’t know the answers but it should make anyone confidently predicting pause. 9/?
None of which is to argue Trump will win. Wide consensus among strategists + polling experts is Biden’s in a strong position a little over 2 weeks out, 9 points up nationwide + up in battlegrounds.

But it is a note of caution for anyone who thinks it’s done and dusted. 10/end

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More from @benrileysmith

5 Sep
💥💥The Telegraph has been leaked details of notes made during seven high level UK-US meetings.

They show Boris Johnson privately told US diplomats Trump was “making America great again”. Also wild May-Trump conversations.

Thread with the quotes...
Here are the 7 meetings and calls that were captured in the notes, details of which were shared.

The notes were made by US officials during the conversations - ie they are contemporaneous notes.
One other bit of context. This, per numerous sources, is how US officials take notes in such meetings.

Someone is designated note-taker. And for in-person meetings, notes are taken by hand, writing down direct quotes.
Read 28 tweets
4 Sep

Donald Trump ordered the removal of UK ambassador Kim Darroch after his cables leaked.

John Bolton tells @Telegraph the president called and said “get him out of here”.

Bolton got the call early in the morning after Darroch’s cables disparaging Trump were published.

He says around 6am or 7am - which was early for the president...
He then picked up the phone to Mark Sedwill, Britain’s top civil servant, to pass on the order.

Bolton said “things are going to get worse unless you can figure out how to get him out”.
Read 8 tweets
2 Aug
EXC: Spain secretly lobbied the US Congress to strip Britain of its sole sovereignty over Gibraltar.

7 current/ex members told me they got rebuked by the embassy after backing UK position, sometimes in “aggressive” + “belligerent” tone.

👇Quick thread...
Between at least 2014 and 2019 the Spanish embassy in Washington DC has been lobbying US congressmen against UK stance on Gibraltar, @Telegraph has learned.

Came through calls into offices, letters personally signed by the Spanish ambassador or requests for face-to-face meetings
Reminder: Gibraltar has been a point of contention between Spain and UK for at least three centuries.

The territory (3 miles squared at the southern tip of Spain) was ceded to Britain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht.

It’s a British Overseas Territory. UK claims sole soverignty.
Read 16 tweets
17 Jun
So many jaw-dropping allegations in the John Bolton book.

Wash Post, NY Times and Wall St Journal have all seen copies.

Here’s a list of just some of the most explosive reported claims...
:: Trump urged the Chinese president to help get him re-elected, indicating buying more from US farmers.

:: Trump told President Xi building concentration camps for Muslims "was exactly the right thing to do"

[*all according to reports of Bolton book]
:: Trump offered to halt criminal investigations “to, in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked”

:: Trump said invading Venezuela would be “cool” and it was “really part of the United States”

[*all according to reports of Bolton book]
Read 15 tweets
17 Jun

Trump’s trade rep just said it’s “almost impossible” a UK-US deal will be approved by the US election.

Means Trump could be gone (with all of his Brexit goodwill) before an agreement is signed and sealed.
Robert Lighthizer is the man leading talks from the US end, ie the most important American beyond Trump in the negotiations.

He has been answering questions before a congressional committee this morning - a rare insight into US thinking for the talks...
To get a deal you don’t just need US + UK governments to agree terms.

Congress - which holds the power to negotiate trade deals and lends it to the administration - has to approve.

Otherwise it has no legal force and is just, effectively, a proposal.
Read 16 tweets
4 May
White House has quietly launched a massive review into how the UK’s Huawei decision impacts America.

Every US intelligence + military asset in Britain being assessed for impact.

Spy planes + agents could be pulled out as a result.

Quick thread...
The review is being run by the White House’s National Security Council (which advises Trump on foreign policy + national security stuff).

Has not been made public. But half a dozen sources (inc US + UK officials) have told @Telegraph it is happening and gave insights.
Review was begun shortly after Boris announced Huawei would help build Britain’s 5G network in January.

Trump admin had been lobbying fiercely in both public and private against the decision. Not impressed when it was taken.
Read 19 tweets

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