The Current State of the U.S. Presidential Race

As America reels from the pandemic, the vote in November appears all the more pivotal, pitting as it does Trump against Biden – candidates with vastly different visions for the future. With six months to go, what is the current state of the race? Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report and host of “The Takeaway,” joins the show to discuss.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Obviously, President Trump has the bully pulpit as they call it. He has absolute control of the air waves. He is dominant in the public space. Joe Biden, as everybody says, is in his basement. It is a really bad look and it’s a bad statement. Nonetheless, nonetheless, it looks like the average of polls show that Biden still has a fairly decent lead. Can you break down where we are in terms of polling right now between these two candidates?

AMY WALTER, NATIONAL EDITOR, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: That’s right. If you look at the average of polling now, Joe Biden is ahead somewhere by about five points nationally. Remember Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by about two points. So, it’s twice as big as the lead that Hillary Clinton had on election day. He’s leading by a very narrow margin in many of these battle ground states or the two candidates are essentially within the margin of error. And the map itself is looking — it is a little tilted toward Biden right now. There are more states that we consider that are safely Democratic that are safely Republican. And when it comes to the most important states, those battleground states, those ones that we know are very, very close, in order to win the electoral college Joe Biden’s going to need to win little bit less than 40 percent of those states. But the burden really is on Donald Trump. He needs to win more than two-thirds of those states. So, he can’t afford to lose places like Florida or North Carolina or — well, or Wisconsin, actually, I would put in that category.

AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you because everybody assumed and the president himself declared that he would be running on his record and that would be the economic record mostly and the economy was going gangbusters before this. Now, you have tens of millions of Americans unemployed, you have a really deep recession, as they have said, to depression era levels predicted. What do you think he will run on? Some of the Republican analysts have said he might be able to revive or the economy might bounce back. But otherwise, it might be running against Obama, as weird as that sound, or running against China, which you could see the outlines of that happening. What do you think?

WALTER: Well, Christiane, even when the economy was going gangbusters, the president wasn’t always talking about the economy, he was still talking about immigration and the border wall and caravans and sanctuary cities and a whole bunch of other things that really weren’t about the good economy. And good economy wasn’t necessarily benefiting him. His overall job approval ratings aren’t much better today or worse today than they were a year ago when the economy was setting all kinds of records.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane speaks with Amy Walter about the current state of the U.S. presidential race and Jack Saul about dealing with trauma on a massive scale. She also speaks with Angélique Kidjo about the passing of saxophone legend Manu Dibango. Michel Martin speaks with Dr. Helene Gayle about coronavirus mortality rates for black Americans.