Impact 2020 Newsletter

Impact2020 Briefing: November 5, 2019

Greetings, and welcome to the inaugural edition of McClatchy’s Impact2020 newsletter. Think of me as your campaign cruise director, serving all the latest news from the places where the election will actually be decided.

The premise is simple: local journalists have the best vantage point on the issues and day-to-day concerns that are top of mind for voters. So, in addition to rounding up all of my McClatchy colleagues’ great political coverage from South Carolina to Florida to Texas to California, I’ll be highlighting the work of our fellow local reporters on the trail.

Our goal is to help you break out of the bubble, mute the talking heads and tune into the people and stories from around the country that truly matter in this boisterous democracy of ours. I hope you’ll join me. It promises to be a remarkable 12 months. - Emily Cadei

On the Ground

A 2020 preview in Kentucky

President Donald Trump rallied the faithful inside University of Kentucky’s storied Rupp Arena Monday night, in what Lexington Herald-Leader Columnist Linda Blackford wrote was an eye-opening preview of voter intensity in 2020. “Even though we’ve all heard about Trump rallies, the reality of nearly 20,000 people dressed in Trump hats and t-shirts, jumping to their feet and screaming, chanting, stomping their feet is like no other political event I’ve ever seen on television or in real life,” wrote Blackford.

The Herald-Leader has much, much more on the local scene inside and outside the rally, including an appearance from the Baby Trump balloon.

Political Reporter Daniel Desrochers, who was in the arena, describes how Trump took swings at familiar targets like House Democrats and the media, but also ostensible allies like Gov. Matt Bevin. Bevin is bidding to become the first Republican elected to a second term as governor of Kentucky in Tuesday’s election and “Trump came to Lexington to pull [him] over the finish line,” writes Desrochers. But “Bevin seemed almost beside the point.”

The president, however, did offer some backhanded compliments to the incumbent governor. “He’s such a pain in the ass,” Trump told the crowd. “But isn’t that what you want?”

The voters Trump can’t lose

The battle for white women without college degrees is at the heart of Trump’s reelection bid — and Democrats’ efforts to oust him. You’ll want to read every last word of McClatchy Political Correspondent Dave Catanese’s deep dive into this critical voting bloc and their impressions of the 2020 contest, one year out from election day.

As one Sioux City, Iowa woman told Catanese, “Iowans do want a change but they don’t want a drastic change. They want something better.”

Trump 2020: the same, but different

Trump remains “the same instinctive, mercurial” candidate who upended American politics in 2016. But as he gears up for reelection in 2020, “he sits atop a campaign infrastructure fueled by an unprecedented war chest, a sophisticated digital operation and a disciplined staff,” McClatchy White House correspondents Michael Wilner and Francesca Chambers write.

Trump, however, is also facing something no first-term president in modern history has had to grapple with — an impeachment inquiry. It reinforces a slogan Trump’s senior aides often repeat: Only Trump can beat Trump. “The race, in their minds, is his to lose,” Wilner and Chambers write. Lots more intel on Team Trump’s outlook here.

Go Beyond the Bubble

McClatchy’s Vice President of News Kristin Roberts joined Politics Editor Adam Wollner and Senior Political Correspondent Alex Roarty to relaunch the Beyond the Bubble podcast this week.

Give the first episode a listen for all their sharp analysis of the election landscape for Trump, Joe Biden and the rest of the 2020 field, one year out.

Trail Mix

  • They’re just not that into you: California is home to about one-tenth of all delegates up for grabs in Democrats’ presidential primary, but as the Sacramento Bee’s Bryan Anderson points out, the campaign trail in the Golden State is largely empty three months before mail balloting begins on Feb. 3.

  • See for yourself: The SacBee’s presidential candidate tracker is here.

  • Pence in the Bayou: Vice President Mike Pence urged a crowd in Biloxi to get out and vote for Republican Tate Reeves for governor Tuesday and re-elect Trump as president in 2020. The Biloxi Sun Herald’s Anita Lee has all the details.

  • Leaving New Hampshire: Julian Castro is laying off all campaign staff in New Hampshire and South Carolina, John DiStaso of New Hampshire’s WMUR 9 scoops, a move that comes just days after Kamala Harris’ campaign slashed staff in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

  • Fishing for votes: Amy Klobuchar made a case for her electability in Philly’s trendy Fishtown neighborhood Monday evening, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Allison Steele.

  • Caught in the act: The Democratic National Committee says a South Carolina staffer for Tom Steyer tried to steal the Harris campaign’s volunteer data in the state. The Charleston Post and Courier’s Jamie Lovegrove has the details on the brouhaha.

  • Congressional shakeup: Republicans in the North Carolina legislature have agreed to redraw congressional district lines ahead of the 2020 election, rather than continue to fight the issue in court, reports the Raleigh News & Observer’s Will Doran.

  • Way-too-early veepstakes: Stacey Abrams spoke to a crowd of 700-plus at the University of Iowa Monday night, saying she’d be “happy” to run as VP on a Democratic ticket in 2020, writes Vannessa Miller of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

  • Foiling deep fakes: Leaders in artificial intelligence — including UC Berkeley, the U.S. military and a California nonprofit — plan to unveil a tool to detect doctored videos known as “deep fakes” that threaten to disrupt the 2020 election, reports the L.A. Times Evan Halper.

Number of The Day


The number of days until Election Day 2020. Start the countdown.

For Planning Purposes

Nov. 5

Harris holds a fundraiser in Brooklyn, N.Y. Tuesday evening, while Biden raises money in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Nov. 6

Trump heads to Monroe, Louisiana for a rally in support of Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who is running to unseat Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. The runoff is Nov. 16.

Andrew Yang kicks off a three-day swing through New Hampshire with a town hall Wednesday evening in Portsmouth.

Your Impact2020 Cheat Sheet


This newsletter is just one piece of a larger election year reporting project McClatchy is undertaking called Impact2020. Here’s a quick explainer to walk you through the focus for our team’s coverage over the course of this historic campaign.

Emily Cadei works out of the McClatchy Washington bureau, where she covers national politics and writes the Impact2020 newsletter. A native of Sacramento, she has spent more than a decade in D.C. reporting on U.S. elections, Congress and foreign affairs for publications including Newsweek, Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call.