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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Democrats try to stand out ahead of first debate

Democrats want their party to chase nonvoters
Early state Dems see turning out nonvoters as the path to victory 11:07

On Monday, several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates gathered at the Poor People's Campaign presidential forum in Washington, D.C. This is the first of several cattle calls in the week leading up to the first presidential debate, and the candidates are trying to distinguish themselves and gain support.  

CBS News elections and surveys director Anthony Salvanto and Jennifer De Pinto report that Democrats in early contest states overwhelmingly say they want a candidate who can beat President Trump, and voters in our latest Battleground Tracker assessed the chances of the candidates they are considering. A nominee's prospects are not an easy thing for voters to gauge — even professional campaign consultants and politicos have a challenge doing it. But in a year when Democrats seem so focused on electability, a key test for candidates this debate season will surely be convincing Democratic voters they're up to that task.

At the moment, former Vice President Joe Biden elicits the most confidence from his potential backers: 75% of those considering a vote for Biden think he "probably would win" against Mr. Trump, and another quarter think "maybe" he could win.

Read what voters have to say about the other candidates' chances here.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: Mr. Trump's reelection campaign chose Orlando to officially launch his 2020 campaign, with a rally scheduled for Tuesday evening. CBS News Political Unit associate producer Ellee Watson notes that the city presents an opportunity for large gains for either party, according to data from Univision. In 2018, turnout among Hispanics who were registered Republicans saw a 60% increase over 2014, compared to a 29% increase among non-Hispanic Republicans. In Orlando, one in three new registered voters between 2014 and 2018 were Hispanic. In the same time period, Hispanic turnout increased 2.7 times as much as non-Hispanic turnout, according to the data released in April from Univision.

FORMER HUD SECRETARY JULIÁN CASTRO: Castro today unveiled part one of his three-part "People First Housing Plan," to solve the rental affordability crisis and end homelessness, per CBS News campaign reporter Tim Perry. The plan seeks to grow the supply of affordable housing by increasing funds to the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund by at least $45 billion per year. It also calls for an end to veteran homelessness by the end of his first term and an end to chronic homelessness by 2028.

"Unfortunately we've seen that chronic homelessness in the last two years has gone up 14%," Castro said in a call with reporters Monday. According to the campaign, parts two and three of the plan will be released Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL: Swalwell released an extensive gun violence prevention plan Monday that includes a semi-automatic assault-style rifle ban and buyback, as well as increased requirements for legal gun ownership, according to CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak. Swalwell has repeatedly said his presidential platform would be centered on gun violence prevention, and today called for significant investments in mental health and safety programs. But despite spanning six pages, some parts of Swalwell's plan fell short of Sen. Cory Booker's proposal, which would require potential gun owners to go through a process including getting fingerprinted and interviewed in addition to passing a gun safety course and background check. 

"There's nothing that we propose here today that is at odds with what [the National Rifle Association] claims they stand for," Swalwell said at the news conference near the NRA's national headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, surrounded by nearly a dozen gun violence survivors and activists. And nationally, a majority of Americans support a ban on semi-automatic weapons, a Gallup poll found last year. But Swalwell's plan includes the creation of a national firearm registry, a policy the NRA has long opposed.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: Harris scored the endorsement of California Rep. Jim Costa, reports CBS News campaign reporter Stephanie Ramirez. The campaign says Costa's endorsement points "to her new plan to protect the millions of Dreamers in this country." Harris recently called for addressing DACA through immediate executive action. Costa joins the more than 80 state, local and municipal leaders from California who have endorsed Harris so far — a key advantage in a state that will likely have an outsized role due to California's earlier place in the primary calendar.


OUT WEST: We now have a date for Nevada's coveted "First in the West" dinner, says CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. The state Democratic Party will host candidates on November 17, one day before another hotly anticipated presidential forum in Las Vegas. The party has attracted thousands of attendees to similar dinners in elections past, as well as a "raucous crowd."

UP NORTH: This weekend, New Hampshire's progressive lawmakers rallied together at the state's annual Progressive Summit and participated in a presidential straw poll, per CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga. Sen. Elizabeth Warren won the contest with 34.6% of the vote, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders at 24%. Booker and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard tied at 6%.


On the $$$: Ahead of the president's visit to Orlando on Tuesday to relaunch his campaign, Democratic super PAC Priorities USA is launching a six-figure, week-long digital advertising campaign in the state, says CBS News Political Unit associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice. The ads will focus on the challenges everyday Americans face when it comes to affording health care and take aim at the president's economic policies. The effort is part of Priorities USA's larger $100 million spending campaign in Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan. It comes amid concerns the president and his allies are far outpacing Democrats when it comes to digital spending.

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