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Trump’s border wall shutdown is a ‘dumb 2020 strategy’: Poll expert Nate Silver

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Statistician Nate Silver suggested President Donald Trump is telegraphing a “dumb 2020 strategy” by shutting down the government in an attempt to get U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill for the border wall he had promised Mexico would fun.

Silver, the editor in chief of 538, noted Trump’s declining poll numbers during his shutdown, which is now in its 26th day.

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“As of early Wednesday evening, his approval rating was 40.2 percent, according to our tracking of public polling, down from 42.2 percent on Dec. 21, the day before the shutdown began,” he noted. “It’s his lowest score since last September. And Trump’s disapproval rating was 54.8 percent, up from 52.7 percent before the shutdown.”

Silver even calculated how Trump’s polling numbers were moving each week of the shutdown.

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“Trump’s approval ratings had been steady at about 42 percent for several months before the shutdown. Since then, they’ve been declining at a fairly linear rate of about half a point for every week that the shutdown has been underway, while his disapproval rating has increased by half a point per week,” he explained.

Silver noted the 2020 election is still a long way off, but said, “t
here are some reasons for Trump and Republicans to worry that the shutdown could have both short- and long-term downsides.”

Trump could be in the worst political position of his presidency by March.

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“For one thing, there’s no particular sign that the shutdown is set to end any time soon. And if the decline in Trump’s approval rating were to continue at the same rate that it has so far, it would take his political standing from bad to worse,” he explained. “By Jan. 29, for example, the day that Trump was originally set to deliver the State of the Union address before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disinvited him from addressing Congress, his approval rating would be 39.3 percent, and his disapproval rating would be 55.9 percent.”

“By March 1, at which point funding for federal food stamps could run out, his approval rating and disapproval rating would be 36.9 percent and 58.4 percent, respectively, roughly matching the lowest point of his presidency so far,” he noted.

Silver also said that the shutdown may be harming Trump with Capitol Hill Republicans.

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“Congressional Republicans are not a group Trump can easily afford to lose. They have a lot of power to check Trump’s presidency, from modest measures such as treating his Cabinet nominations with more scrutiny to extreme ones like supporting his impeachment and removal from office,” he reminded.

Silver also noted, “the shutdown has prompted Trump to double down on his all-base, all-the-time strategy.”

“The lesson of the midterms, in my view, was fairly clear: Trump’s base isn’t enough,” he concluded. “Despite some initial attempts at reaching out to the center, such as in passing a criminal justice bill in December and issuing trial balloons about an infrastructure package, Trump’s strategy of shutting down the government to insist on a border wall was aimed at placating his critics on the right, such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, and members of the House Freedom Caucus.”

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Taken together, 2020 may look more like the 2018 midterms than the 2016 election when Trump won the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote.

“In the midterms, voting closely tracked Trump’s approval ratings, and he paid the price for his unpopularity,” he reminded.

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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 4 losers from the CNN/NYT Democratic presidential primary debate

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Twelve Democrats took to the stage Tuesday night for yet another debate in the party's 2020 president primary hosted by CNN and the New York Times.

After only ten candidates qualified for the previous debate, an additional two — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and wealthy donor and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — made it to the stage this round for an even more crowded event.

The candidates discussed a range of important policy issues, but since the format was a debate, and they're all competing for the same nomination, it is ultimately most critical who won and who lost the night. Here are three winners and four losers — necessarily a subjective assessment, of course — from the debate:

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