Trump, Pelosi Barrel Toward Final Border Wall Showdown

President Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are headed to a final showdown over his signature border wall, setting the stage for a rematch of a fight two years ago that shuttered the government for 35 days.

The White House is requesting a $2 billion installment to continue building the wall, while Pelosi and House Democrats have countered with no new money for construction.

Democrats have also proposed rescinding earlier wall funding, according to a House Democratic aide.

But whatever the agreed-upon amount, many Republicans are predicting Trump is going to put up a fight for more wall funding.

“It’s extremely critical, and I think he’s going to go to the mat on the border wall. And I think a lot of Republicans are going to go with him,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist. 

“The immigration issue is about being pro-worker and pro-jobs, and that is important to the Trump message going forward. And if Republicans don’t put up on this, they’re worried that the base will lose faith in them on one of their issues,” he added.

O’Connell said the wall fight is elevated by President-elect Joe Biden’s vow to reverse Trump’s executive orders on immigration.

Read more from Alexander Bolton at The Hill

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Tells Trump 'The Time Has Come' To Concede

Eyeing his own 2024 presidential bid, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan unloaded on President Trump on Monday, saying that while he struck a chord with some disaffected voters he was ineffective, spawned “toxic politics” that chased away suburban women and young voters, and showed a “loose affiliation with the truth.”

The two-term Republican governor said it’s time for Mr. Trump to concede he lost the presidential election, saying Democrat Joseph R. Biden scored “a pretty overwhelming victory.”

Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist with ties to the Trump White House, said picking a fight over the border wall with Mr. Trump showed a “misunderstanding” of the immigration issue.

He said the wall was emblematic of Mr. Trump’s willingness to take on Washington on issues such as immigration, where he defied party orthodoxy for both Republicans and Democrats, as part of a pro-worker, pro-jobs agenda.

Mr. O’Connell said the party’s 2024 nominee will have to build on that legacy, not attack it.

“He doesn’t get it yet,” Mr. O’Connell told The Washington Times. “He’s correct that the future of the Republican Party is a multiethnic working-class coalition. But beyond that, he doesn’t seem to understand what happened in this election. It seems to be more taking a jab at Trump and taking the side of Mitt Romney.”

Read more from Stephen Dinan at The Washington Times

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Trump Has A Math Problem That Voter Fraud Lawsuits Might Not Solve

"WE WILL WIN!" Trump tweeted Wednesday alongside a 30-second video. "Treat the word impossible as nothing more than motivation," the president said over images of cheering supporters.

Impossible may be too strong a word to use in 2020, but by most counts, it appears highly unlikely the president would be able to claw back enough Electoral College votes to deprive Biden of a victory. Biden currently has 290 electoral votes to Trump's 217 with Georgia and North Carolina still too close to call, according to The Associated Press.

The president and his team are working through legal channels and pursuing a three-pronged approach to overturn what they consider illegal ballots: recounts, audits and voter fraud lawsuits.

A recount may, in some states, lead to an audit, where a selection of ballots is sorted through manually and vetted for irregularities. An audit is what the Trump campaign is hoping will prove its voter fraud allegations. According to GOP strategist Ford O'Connell, the Trump campaign is aiming to get statewide audits to advance their claims of extensive irregularities.

"They can prove voter fraud. The question is, can they prove widespread voter fraud to the point a court weighs in?" O'Connell noted. "Right now, the odds are against the president but it's not impossible."

Read more from Leandra Bernstein at NBC Montana

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Trump Retreats From Public Eye In Post-Election Fight

President Trump has gone a full week without making any public comments beyond his Twitter feed, a rare instance of extended absence as he refuses to concede the election.

Trump waited four days to make his first official appearance after Saturday’s projection that Joe Biden was the winner of the presidential race. He spent about 10 minutes attending a Veterans Day observance ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday.

The president has not made remarks on camera since Nov. 5, when he declared without evidence that the election was being stolen from him at a hastily scheduled press conference in the White House briefing room. He did not take questions, and has not fielded any from reporters or news hosts since a trip to his campaign headquarters on Election Day.

“I think that Trump has decided that he wants to let the lawsuits play out but he also knows that he can’t stop being president either,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “It’s now in the hands of the lawyers and canvassers.”

Read more from Morgan Chalfant and Brett Samuels at The Hill

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Trump's Hail Mary? Some Conservatives Look To GOP State Legislatures For Electoral College Save

President Trump’s reelection prospects looked increasingly grim on Friday, as Democratic challenger Joe Biden took the lead in key states that would deliver a majority of the Electoral College, but some prominent conservatives are urging him to look to the contested states’ Republican-controlled legislatures for salvation.

Trump has vowed to fight on, as his legal team fanned out across the handful of battleground states where the campaign is contesting various aspects of the counting process. “We believe the American people deserve to have full transparency into all vote counting and election certification, and that this is no longer about any single election,” the president said in a statement released by his reelection campaign. “From the beginning, we have said that all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted, yet we have met resistance to this basic principle by Democrats at every turn."

“For months, the American people were told ad nauseum that President Trump was going to get shellacked in the Electoral College, McConnell and Republicans were out in the Senate, Pelosi was going to get a slew of reinforcements in the House, and Texas could possibly go blue for Biden,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “And why? Because the pollsters said so, and anyone who argued with these “experts” was a Trump-loving sycophant. In short, the Americans were sold a disgusting pack of lies about a ‘blue wave’ that never materialized.”

“Can Trump still win a second term? You bet,” O’Connell added. “It will be without question a heavy lift, but nothing is impossible in the era of Trump.”

Read more from W. James Antle III at the Washington Examiner

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Trump's Swagger And Showmanship Have Forever Altered The Republican Party Of Reagan

President Trump, eyeing a screaming throng of supporters in Arizona last week, ventured into what would have been considered GOP blasphemy a decade ago.

“We all liked Ronald Reagan, but nobody ever said, ‘We love you. We love you. We love you,’ ” the president said in Bullhead City. “And he wouldn’t get crowds like this. If Ronald Reagan — who I consider to be top-notch — if he came here, he’d have a couple hundred people legitimately … we’re having 25, 30, 35, 40, 45,000 people.”

The crowd cheered.

"What Trump has taught Republicans is to have a backbone and a spine,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist with close ties to the White House. “Don’t back down from the media and the Democrats when you get double-teamed on a particular idea.”

Read more from David Sherfinski at The Washington Times

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Unprecedented Early Voting Gives Democrats Hope, While Republicans Count On Election Day

Nearly 100 million voters have already cast their ballots, leading to questions about how the record early turnout will impact results up and down the ballot. 

The unprecedented early vote has given Democrats hope going into Tuesday. Overall, Democrats have outperformed Republicans in early voting, after President Trump spent months waging baseless attacks on mail-in ballots.

Republicans for their part are hoping for a large in-person turnout on Election Day, though several swing states are seeing spikes in coronavirus cases, which could impact turnout. 

Republicans, meanwhile, say they are feeling confident that Trump will be able to hold Florida, which he won narrowly in 2016, pointing to reports of lagging Democratic voter turnout among Latinos in Miami-Dade County.

“That is a good sign for us. Obviously we can’t tell where the unaffiliated, no-party voters are going,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist based in Florida. 

Read more from Julia Manchester and Morgan Chalfant at The Hill

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Inside The Nine Swing States The 2020 Presidential Election Hinges On

Nationally, Biden holds a 7.8 percent lead over Trump, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, but in the battleground states that will decide the Electoral College results, his lead is much less secure.

State-level polls, which were wildly off base in 2016, remain suspect: Republicans — and many Democrats — believe that Trump’s voters are refusing to take part in them, or to signal their true intentions if they do.

Here’s a look at the nine battlegrounds that could hand the White House to the Democrats — or give President Trump a second term.

The president won the Sunshine State by 113,000 votes, a 1.2 percent margin, in 2016. To hold it, he’s made eight campaign stops there since September.

While Florida Republicans have out-registered the Democrats in the past four years, the 2020 race will be decided by a growing cohort of Latino voters.

“Many are first- and second-generation Americans who escaped socialist or communist regimes in Cuba and Venezuela,” said Republican consultant Ford O’Connell. “When Trump talks about fighting socialism, he’s talking to them.”

Read more from Mary Kay Linge at the New York Post

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At Each Rally Stop, Trump Drops More Vague Clues About A Possible Second-Term Agenda

Donald Trump is barnstorming from battleground state to battleground state mostly insulting his Democratic foes and making bleak pronouncements about a Joe Biden presidency — but he also is dropping vague clues about his own possible second term.

The president is running a re-election campaign based mostly on the pre-coronavirus economy, as well as all the gloom and doom that would sweep over the country if the Democratic nominee and former vice president defeats him next week.

“The No. 1 thing would be pulling us out of the ditch economically from the pandemic,” Ford O’Connell said this week. “People are out of work. The president knows this, and he wants to fix it. Importantly, his focus would primarily be on the economy of main street.

Read more from John T. Bennett at the Independent

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Trump Banks On Nonstop Campaigning To Pull A 2016 Repeat

President Trump is campaigning across the country in the final week of the race for the White House with all the trappings of incumbency and all the urgency of an underdog.

Democrats are confident that they have already banked enough of an early vote lead to withstand a late surge of in-person Trump voters on Election Day and that their nominee, Joe Biden, will finish the job Hillary Clinton couldn’t. The former vice president is ahead by 7.8 points in the RealClearPolitics national polling average and by 3.9 points in top battleground states.

But looking at the numbers in some of those individual states, Republicans see shades of Trump’s poll-defying, come-from-behind victory four years ago.

“The final week of 2020 is eerily similar to 2016. Roughly 2 points in six states is the difference between President Trump being reelected and a Biden Electoral College blowout,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “It is all about turnout now.”

Trump's frenetic pace is a whole different strategy than that of Biden, who has had a limited public schedule dominated by sparsely attended events. “While Biden largely sits on his keister in Delaware, Trump is wisely barnstorming the states and counties that will decide this election," O'Connell said. "You couldn’t have a more stark contrast in how the two candidates are spending their time in the homestretch.”

Read more from W. James Antle III at the Washington Examiner

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