The Note: Democrats' path to 2020 victory paved with questions

Democrats are facing down a 2020 race that's very winnable.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Democrats are facing down a 2020 race that's very winnable. But it's also a race that's extremely loseable.

That's a key takeaway from the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll numbers out Monday morning. Consider: 55% of voters -- including 30% of self-described conservatives -- said they will definitely not support President Donald Trump for reelection, with Trump's approval rating stuck at 39% despite the strong economy.

But of the never-Trump voters, only 29% said they'll definitely vote for the Democratic nominee. In the critical Midwest, 54% of voters said they're open to supporting Trump.

That's important context for understanding the candidacy of former Vice President Joe Biden, who sits down with ABC's Robin Roberts before his first campaign event at a Teamsters hall in Pittsburgh Monday afternoon.

Democratic voters are divided over whether they think they need a candidate who can energize their own base or motivate independents, and on whether they want a candidate close to them on issues or one who has the best chance of beating Trump.

Biden could be the answer. But Democrats will first have to work through which questions are the right ones to be asking.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Heading into 2020, Democrats appear united in their objective to beat Trump but also divided in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll when asked about the best way to do so.

The group of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents polled this month were split, 48% to 44%, on whether it's better for the party to nominate a candidate who can best energize the Democratic base or who's best positioned to win over independents.

Campaigns will clearly try to argue in the coming months that their candidates can do both.

Over the weekend, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders countered Biden's entry into the race with nearly 5,000 house parties organized in every state, and a new app designed to help Sanders' supporters organize and connect with friends and neighbors.

Monday, more than 400 nurses will protest in front of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America headquarters in Washington in support of Sanders' Medicare for All bill.

Sanders' populist policy positions and strong grassroots networking has been seen as a sign of his ability to rally an increasingly progressive Democratic base, yet, in fact, among those polled who thought it was best for the party to pick the candidate who could energize the party's base, Biden led Sanders 18% to 7%.

Among those more concerned with appealing to independents, the two candidates are essentially even, 17% to 16%.

The TIP with Molly Nagle

Biden will hold his first public event since jumping into the 2020 race -- and the setting is telling.

The former vice president will appear in Pittsburgh at Teamsters Local 249 Monday afternoon -- his fourth event speaking to union workers in recent weeks, following speeches to the International Association of Fire Fighters, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Construction and Maintenance and rallying striking United Food and Commercial Workers in Boston.

Biden's remarks will "lay out his vision for making sure we rebuild the middle class, and that this time everyone -- regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability -- is in on the deal," according to a press release from Biden's campaign.

Biden's emphasis on unions seems to play into his pitch to win back working class voters who abandoned the party in 2016, whom he views as essential to winning back the White House.

And Biden is expected to get a major endorsement from the International Association of Fire Fighters -- who greeted him with cheers and literal signs of encouragement to "Run Joe Run" at their conference in Washington in March.

ABC's Robin Roberts will interview Biden and Dr. Jill Biden prior to the event Monday. The Interview will air on "Good Morning America" Tuesday morning.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Monday morning's episode features ABC News Chief National Correspondent Matt Gutman, who tells us more about the deadly synagogue shooting in San Diego. Then Laurie Segall from the media company dotdotdot tells us about the rise of online message board 8chan and its role in the shooting. And ABC News Political Director Rick Klein breaks down the latest 2020 polling.


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