WASHINGTON — As we finish August and head into Labor Day weekend, here are five political storylines from this summer that haven’t gotten the attention they probably deserve.
- The quiet march to impeachment: By NBC’s count, 132 House Democrats — so well over half of the caucus — now support beginning impeachment proceedings against President Trump. And 39 of them announced their support for impeachment after the Robert Mueller hearings in July. Two things can be true: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has slow-walked impeaching Trump, but support among rank-and-file Democrats has grown.
- The (mostly) unmovable Democratic primary race: After two rounds of debates, fresh campaign attacks and the start of the winnowing phase of the contest, the Democratic field is, well, pretty much where it began when the summer started. Joe Biden’s ahead – followed by Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren, then Kamala Harris, then Pete Buttigieg. The two biggest changes since early June: Warren’s steady rise in the polls, and Harris’ big jump after the first debate and return to earth after the second.
- Trump has primary challengers: Unlike Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Bush 43 and Barack Obama, President Trump has attracted a primary challenge from credible or semi-credible opponents – first former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, then former Rep. Joe Walsh, and probably soon from former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. While none can beat Trump for the nomination, remember: Every modern president who’s received a credible or semi-credible primary challenge (Ford, Carter, Bush 41) has gone on to lose re-election.
- Trump’s big bucks: Despite all of his other challenges (approval in the low 40s, worrisome signs about the economy), President Trump has one big advantage – money. As of June 30, Trump’s re-election campaign has raised $124 million and has $57 million in the bank. What’s more, the RNC has more than $46 million in the bank, while the DNC has just $9 million.
- North Korea’s continued missile tests: Finally, North Korea has continued to launch missile tests with impunity, as Trump takes the country’s side on joint military exercises with South Korea (!!!!).