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On the roster: Two-man race? Bernie’s back – I’ll Tell You What: I’ll tell U.K. what – New Jersey House Dem bails on party over impeachment – Now, had they won the game…
TWO-MAN RACE? BERNIE’S BACK
Fox News: “Former Vice President Joe Biden remains Democratic primary voters’ preferred presidential candidate, as a Fox News Poll released Sunday shows more think he is capable of beating President Trump than feel that way about any of his main competitors — and he performs best in potential 2020 matchups. … Running down the Democratic race: Biden leads with 30 percent, followed by [Bernie] Sanders at 20 percent. [Elizabeth] Warren returns to third with 13 percent, down from a high of 22 percent in October. Next, it’s [Pete] Buttigieg (7 percent), [Mike] Bloomberg and Amy Klobuchar (5 percent each), Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang (3 percent apiece), and Cory Booker (2 percent). The remaining candidates garner 1 percent or less. Biden’s lead comes mostly from voters ages 45 and over (up by 26 points), moderates/conservatives ( 20), and non-whites ( 13). Sanders wins among voters under 35 ( 19) and white men ( 1).”
Dems still hold leads to Trump in head-to-heads – Fox News: “In hypothetical head-to-heads, Biden tops Trump by 48-41 percent and has the only lead outside the poll’s margin of sampling error. However, Biden’s 7-point lead is his narrowest since March; this is the first time he’s been below 50 percent since July, and Trump’s 41 percent support is a record high for him in a ballot test against the former vice president. Sanders is preferred over Trump by six points (49-43) and Bloomberg is ahead by five (45-40). Warren (46-45) and Buttigieg (43-42) are each up by one point. Biden’s advantage over Trump is driven largely by double-digit leads among women ( 15 points) and non-whites ( 36). Whites with a college degree go for Biden by 6 points, while whites without a degree back Trump by 12. Rural whites prefer Trump over Biden by 18 points, while suburban women favor Biden by 21.”
Dems may boycott Thursday debate for union strike – CBS News: “All seven of the Democratic candidates who qualified for next week’s presidential debate are vowing to boycott the event to stand in solidarity with a union that plans to protest outside the debate’s venue. The union of food service workers, Unite Here Local 11, is fighting for better wages and benefits, and informed candidates on Friday that ‘there could be picketing’ on December 19 at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). ‘While we remain hopeful that the labor dispute can be resolved before next Thursday, we want to be clear that if the situation remains unresolved, there could be picketing on the evening of the debate,’ the union wrote in a letter on Friday. Senator Elizabeth Warren was the first to pledge not to attend the debate if it required crossing a picket line.”
Multiple candidates could win in Iowa with new rules – Des Moines Register: “…new rules adopted this year open the possibility — some insiders call it a probability — that multiple candidates could ‘win.’ Democratic insiders and campaign staffers have long acknowledged the chaos and confusion that could emerge, fretting over what it could mean for this year’s caucus as well as future ones. For decades, the winner of Iowa’s caucuses has been decided by a complicated system of state delegate equivalents… But in 2020, the Iowa Democratic Party will publish two raw vote totals and the delegate numbers from caucus night. So one candidate could win one or both of the delegate counts but lose the popular vote. That would open a new layer of complexity as media report the results, campaigns spin them and voters in later states try to make sense of them — all in a year when the stakes have never been higher for Iowa to show it deserves to remain the first-in-the-nation presidential voting state.”
Midwest swing states soft spots in a strong economy – NYT: “The American economy has found its footing after a summer recession scare. But much of the Midwest is still stumbling. President Trump campaigned in 2016 on a pledge to restore jobs — manufacturing jobs, specifically — to long-struggling Midwestern communities, and he has made the economy a centerpiece of his re-election campaign. But job growth has slowed sharply this year in Michigan, Pennsylvania and other states that were critical to Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016, as well as in states like Minnesota that he narrowly lost. Hiring in the region has remained sluggish even as it has picked up this fall in much of the rest of the country. Other economic measures show similar weakness. The states are struggling in part because they depend heavily on manufacturing and agriculture, two sectors that have been hit especially hard by Mr. Trump’s trade war. Tariffs have driven up prices for imported parts and materials, and pushed down demand for American goods abroad.”
THE RULEBOOK: IMITATION IS FLATTERY
“But it is not to be denied that the portraits they have sketched of republican government were too just copies of the originals from which they were taken.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 9
TIME OUT: GERSHON KINGSLEY, R.I.P.
Billboard: “Composer, conductor and electronic music pioneer Gershon Kingsley, who wrote the top 10 hit ‘Popcorn’ and played a pivotal role in popularizing the synthesizer sound, died Dec. 10 in New York. He was 97. … Kingsley … was born in Germany in 1922. He came to New York in 1946 and then attended the LA Conservatory of Music. … In 1966… Kingsley collaborated with French composer Jean-Jacques Perrey on a highly-experimental pop album The In Sound From Way Out that combined dozens of intricately designed tape loops with live studio musicians to produce an altogether new sound that pushed the envelope of modern music… In 1970, Kingsley formed the First Moog Quartet, a four-synthesizer ensemble that was a pioneering effort to bring electronic music into classical music venues. … Kingsley also composed extensively for television and motion pictures. His music for the PBS WGBH logo continues to be used to this day…”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 27 points (↑ 1 point from last wk.)
Sanders: 19.6 points (↑ 2.4 points from last wk.)
Warren: 15.2 points (↓ 4.2 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 9.2 points (↓ 1 point from last wk.)
Bloomberg: 4.8 points (first listing)
[Averages include: NPR/PBS/Marist, Fox News, IBD, Quinnipiac University and Monmouth University.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 44.2 percent
Average disapproval: 52 percent
Net Score: -7.8 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 2 points
[Average includes: USA Today/Suffolk University: 48% approve – 50% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 43% approve – 53% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve – 53% disapprove; Monmouth University: 44% approve – 49% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 41% approve – 55% disapprove.]
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I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: I’LL TELL U.K. WHAT
Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt present a special edition of I’ll Tell You What. Esteemed guest Peter McMahon, Dana’s husband, joins the podcast to discuss the U.K. election results, what British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has planned going forward and the similarities between the U.S. and U.K. elections. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
NEW JERSEY HOUSE DEM BAILS ON PARTY OVER IMPEACHMENT
Politico: “Five senior aides to Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey resigned on Sunday as the lawmaker formally prepared to switch parties, stating they were ‘deeply saddened and disappointed by his decision.’ The aides in Van Drew’s Washington office wrote in a joint letter to his chief of staff that Van Drew’s decision to become a Republican after winning his seat last year as a Democrat ‘does not align with the values we brought to this job.’ ‘Sadly, Congressman Van Drew’s decision to join the ranks of the Republican party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office,’ according to the letter, which was obtained by POLITICO. … The chief of staff — Allison Murphy, who began working for Van Drew when he served in the New Jersey State Senate — is not expected to leave. But there could be additional staffers who decide to leave this week.”
Dems push for Rep. Amash to be impeachment manager – Detroit Free Press: “A group of more than two dozen Democratic freshmen legislators want U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan — who had been a Republican until this year — to help present the case for impeaching President Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate. Neither Amash’s office nor the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s office immediately commented on the request, which was first reported by the Washington Post on Sunday and confirmed for the Free Press by the office of U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., who is leading the effort. But the request makes some sense: Earlier this year, Amash, now an independent from Cascade Charter Township in west Michigan, became the only Republican in the U.S. House to call for Trump’s impeachment following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election and its aftermath.”
Schumer calls for Mulvaney, Bolton to testify – WaPo: “The top Senate Democrat on Sunday called for subpoenaing several senior Trump administration officials who have yet to testify in the House’s impeachment probe as witnesses for President Trump’s likely trial — part of an opening salvo in negotiations that could determine the parameters for the Senate proceedings next month. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) outlined a number of procedural demands that Democrats say would make the Senate trial fair and able to be completed ‘within a reasonable period of time.’ That includes subpoenas issued by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; Robert Blair, a senior adviser to Mulvaney; former national security adviser John Bolton; and Michael Duffey, a top official at the Office of Management and Budget. Mulvaney, Blair and Duffey had been subpoenaed by the House committees and defied the summons; Bolton has not been subpoenaed but indicated he would fight one in court.”
Views on impeachment stay steady – Fox News: “Weeks of congressional hearings and debate have failed to move the electorate on impeachment, according to the latest Fox News Poll. At the same time, approval of President Trump’s job performance has climbed three points. Currently, 45 percent of voters approve of the job Trump’s doing, up from 42 percent in late October. Over half, 53 percent, disapprove. That lands the president almost exactly where he started the year, as 43 percent approved and 54 percent disapproved in January. The poll, conducted Sunday through Wednesday, also finds 50 percent want Trump impeached and removed from office, 4 percent say impeached but not removed, and 41 percent oppose impeaching him altogether. In late October, 49 percent favored impeachment and removal, 4 percent said impeach/don’t remove, and 41 percent opposed impeachment. That’s fairly remarkable considering all that happened between those two polls.”
House Dems release 658-page report on impeachment – Fox News: “Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote that President Trump is a threat to the Constitution and should be removed from office, according to the committee’s 658-page report on the articles of impeachment resolution against Trump that was submitted early Monday. The Democrats wrote that Trump abused his office by soliciting the interference of Ukraine in the 2020 election and then obstructed the impeachment inquiry into his conduct. The report did not include new allegations against the president but amounted to the committee’s closing arguments for impeaching the president. … The report was released at 12:30 a.m. ET., and included a dissent from the committee’s minority that called the case for impeachment ‘not only weak but dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments.’”
Pergram: Congress, on overdrive, could see its busiest week ever – Fox News
What did Donald Trump Jr. kill in Mongolia? – Pro Publica
AUDIBLE: *MIC DROP*
“But in the national security world that I come from, we are trained to make hard calls on things, even if they are unpopular, if we believe the security of the country is at stake. There are some decisions in life that have to be made based on what you know in your bones is right. And this is one of those times.” – Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., in an op-ed published in the Detroit Free Press.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Although I attempt to understand the politics of the Republic of the USA, I just can’t listen to any more hearings with regard to President Trump or those who surround him. They are a total sham on both sides in my opinion. I like something that Congressman Trey Gowdy said some time ago. They should not allow cameras into any of the hearings! These ‘hearings’ just turn into a political display with most all of the individuals involved posturing for their political party or perhaps what they believe is in the interest of their constituents. We hear the same rhetoric over and over again and then several more times when the media amplifies those talking points 24/7, often shaded by their own political leaning. They are not seeking the truth for the most part, only reiterating their own biased views or those dictated to them by their ‘leadership.’ There needs to be transparency but spare those of us who attempt to stay informed the repetitive slander and lack of civility. Instead have summaries published by an unbiased third party, (assuming there is anyone is left that could fit that requirement). I will enter your name to do that if you will agree to serve!” – Jim Burrow, Colleyville, Texas
[Ed. note: Funny you mention it. This has been a hobbyhorse of mine for some time. I wrote about it in my book, “Every Man A King,” and have sounded off so often about it on air that I’m afraid I sound like a crank. I even joined Howard Kurtz over the weekend to discuss it. And we don’t need to add anything to replace the cameras. The Congressional Record is already absorbing all of the hot air emitted by Congress. And reporters would of course be free to go cover and, heck, maybe even make audio recordings like the Supreme Court. But the lure of the bright lights is just too great for these wannabe celebrities. As Jonah Goldberg says, we have a “parliament of pundits.”]
“You published a reader’s letter accusing you of ‘sub-liminal anti-conservative’ messages because of digs at Trump. Perhaps more of your readers are unaware that many of us long-standing conservatives do not consider Trump a conservative, but simply where he is by virtue of the fact that conservatives did not have a strong candidate in the 2016 GOP contender field.” – John A. Johnson, Tucson, Ariz.
[Ed. note: I hope I spread my “digs” far and wide and without regard to affiliation or ideology. While I respect high offices and good public service, most politicians should be treated with deep skepticism. Our only partiality is to you and your fellow readers!]
“Does anybody really think Bloomberg will get the nomination after skipping the first 4 states? I have visions of Fred Thompson waiting until South Carolina. Didn’t work out well for him.” – Mary Blanton, Alpharetta, Ga.
[Ed. note: I increasingly think that Bloomberg is making a precautionary play and that his real path to victory involves winning at a contested convention. The chances of that are vanishingly small, but with a crowded field and a weak front-runner, you never know. Plus, what’s $100 million when you’re richer than Croesus?]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
NOW, HAD THEY WON THE GAME…
Fox News: “A New York high school soccer coach has come under fire for taking his team to Hooters. The Lake George Jr./Sr. High School soccer team had just lost to another team after an undefeated season on Nov. 2 when their coach, Blake White, decided to bring the players to the restaurant, known for women dressed in tight and revealing clothing. White’s decision apparently didn’t sit well with school administration because, on Nov. 12, the team was summoned to a mandatory meeting where the dinner was discussed, the local Times Union newspaper reported, where students were told ‘this was not in line with our athletic program and school community values.’ Lynne Rutnik, superintendent of the Lake George Central School District, told the news outlet the Hooters outing required ‘action’… It’s unclear what type of action was taken. Per the Times Union, White works as an elementary school teacher and longtime sports coach for the district.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Even simple censure is without constitutional sanction. With one unfortunate exception — the censure of Andrew Jackson, expunged three years later by the Senate — censure is unknown in 200 years of American history. And by putting Congress in the business of shaming presidents, it rudely violates the separation of powers.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Feb. 2, 1999.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.