Aside from their obvious strengths and weaknesses as candidates, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton need robust organizations to carry them over the finish line. This week, all three of my things to watch in politics are about team, team, team.
1. ALL TOGETHER NOW
A short while ago, when Bernie Sanders was still raging along the campaign trail, it seemed unclear if traditional Democrat power blocs would fully back Hillary Clinton as the nominee. Not anymore. She wrapped up last week with an endorsement from the Teamsters, which is a big signal to organized labor far and wide to get in line no matter how they may feel about her trade deals. Watch for the Dems to tighten their ranks even more this week, with a wide range of surrogates pushing the campaign’s talking points (“We love millennials!”) and gang tackling any controversies that come her way.
2. WE JUST DISAGREE
It remains shockingly uncertain whether folks on the right side of the aisle are ready to stand with their guy. Even with Donald Trump reorienting some of his more polarizing positions, many rank-and-file Repubs remain noncommittal. Just as it was a week ago: Keep watching for more high-level defections — big GOPers who say they’ll back Clinton. Trump’s power does not spring from his party’s Washington elites, but their open criticisms are not helping. And the polls keep steadily chewing at his hopes for electoral wins not only in battlegrounds, but also in some states that are normally bright red.
3. WHO IS IN THE HOUSE?
Hopes are rising for Democrats, and anxieties are skyrocketing for Republicans over the other races this fall. Put simply: If the GOP holds onto the House and Senate, the party won’t care as much who wins the White House. But if the Democrats take over a chamber — or two — and win the Oval Office, it’s a whole new world. Watch for a lot — I mean A LOT — more talk about the “down ballot” races in coming weeks.
Republican National Convention