Partner Terry Sullivan Joins 2016 Campaign Rivals to Analyze the State of the Presidential Race Heading into the Final Weeks of the Election

September 9, 2020

Blowout for Biden or Narrow Win for Trump?

In a reprise of the “smoke-filled Zoom,” four veteran GOP campaign managers assess the factors that could still upend a race that seems locked in place.

If Labor Day was long considered the starting line of the general election sprint, this year it feels like the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter of a poorly played football game. Some Americans are glued to the action, eagerly awaiting the next big play or violent collision, but most fans of both teams just wish it was over already.

With the party conventions behind us, what we’ve known for six months (and suspected for much longer) is now official: President Donald Trump will face former Vice President Joe Biden this November in an election that feels more and more like a referendum on the state of America’s fraying social fabric. The stakes could hardly be higher. Whoever wins is expected to oversee the rebuilding of a battered economy and the distribution of a new and politically divisive vaccine, not to mention the halting efforts to reconcile cultural attitudes around race, policing and justice.

For all our familiarity with these two well-established figures—a pair of septuagenarian white men who have been in the public eye for decades—there is much about this election we simply do not know, questions that reach far beyond horse-race comparisons between Trump and Biden. Will the spread of the coronavirus get any better or worse in the run-up to Election Day? Will there be a new wave of protests sparked by another police shooting or even more deadly violence between protesters on both sides? Will the combination of U.S. Postal Service delays and unprecedented voting by mail force a lengthy wait before we know the winner in key swing states? And how are voters responding to all this election year volatility?

To gain some insight into these questions, we reconvened our expert panel of four of the Republican Party’s 2016 campaign managers who experienced first-hand the perils of campaigning against Trump: Danny Diaz (Jeb Bush), Beth Hansen (John Kasich), Jeff Roe (Ted Cruz) and Terry Sullivan (Marco Rubio).

Read the full analysis here.