sizing up the competition
March 15, 2019

President Trump's polling obsession doesn't appear to have diminished since 2016.

Trump is "fixated" on former Vice President Joe Biden as a potential 2020 threat, and over the past few weeks has "peppered aides on more than one occasion" about his poll numbers, Politico reported on Friday. It was previously reported that Trump sees Biden as the "most formidable" 2020 opponent, although publicly, Trump has shown no signs of nervousness, saying in October that a fight between the two "would not last long," per The Hill.

Biden has topped early Democratic primary polls, but Politico reports that Trump's advisers have assured him he has nothing to worry about and that the former vice president is essentially the Jeb Bush of 2020. Bush also led in some early 2016 Republican primary polls, earning 21 percent support in a March 2015 ABC News/Washington Post poll, which was conducted before Trump entered the race.

Trump's advisers have also apparently made the argument that there's a good chance Biden won't make it through the Democratic primary, and even if he does, he'll be "pulled to the left" and wouldn't be tough to defeat in the general election. Biden is still mulling over a possible 2020 bid but has not yet announced his decision. Brendan Morrow

December 28, 2018

Republican insiders think there are plenty of Democrats who President Trump could easily beat in 2020, while at least three could pose a serious threat.

Vanity Fair spoke with some of these Republicans on Friday, who seemed to agree that the biggest threat to Trump's presidency is former Vice President Joe Biden. In fact, these Republicans worry Biden could beat Trump fairly easily. As one strategist put it, that's partially because he "wreaks calmness and normalcy, which I feel like people crave over the chaos of the Trump administration."

Aside from Biden, Republicans also expressed concern about Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas). Even though O'Rourke lost his race against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in November, Republican insiders were "taking notes" and treating him "far more seriously" than one might think. One insider noted he's "problematic" because he could put states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and North Carolina "in play."

Believe it or not, a third Democrat who strikes fear in GOP insiders is Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. Republican strategists reportedly feel he could have a similarly broad appeal as Biden.

There are a few Democrats who Republicans definitely don't feel threatened by, though, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The Republican operatives quoted by Vanity Fair feel that America is "still a center-right country" and thus they'd have an easier time running against a progressive. But if Democrats nominate a calm presence who is a bit closer to the center, they believe Trump could be in trouble. Brendan Morrow

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