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Democrats see an opening with Trump but are worried about messaging

Michael Warren on Steve Bannon: "He was trying to run sort of an outside media campaign."

Story highlights

  • Trump is hitting the road to sell tax reform, starting with the Rust Belt
  • Dems are energized, but they're split about how much to talk about Trump

Washington (CNN)President Trump will hit the road to talk tax reform. The White House may see a ripple effect from Steve Bannon's departure. And Democrats are energized but still worried about honing their message.

It's all a part of this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get tomorrow's headlines today.

    1) Democrats still need a cohesive message ...

    With President Trump facing a backlash for his comments on Charlottesville, Democrats see an opening with voters. But energy doesn't necessarily mean momentum for Dems looking towards the midterm election in 2018.
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    Dems' biggest midterms worry is their messaging, according to Julie Pace, White House Bureau Chief for the Associated Press. Some Democrats are anxious about going all in on Trump's response, she says.
    "They see Democrats potentially falling into some of the same traps that they fell into in 2016, where they ran mostly on an anti-Trump message. The party still feels like it's an economic message that needs to resonate with voters," Pace explains.
    "The irony, of course, is that Sen. Chuck Schumer and some other Democrats have rolled out an economic blueprint for Democrats, but it's been completely overshadowed this summer by all of the antics surrounding Trump and the White House."

    2) ... and the DNC has a fundraising problem

    The Democratic National Committee's July fund-raising numbers are in. And compared to the Republicans, they're not good.
    The DNC haul was just $3.8 million compared to the RNC's $10.2 million. In total, the Republican National Committee has $47.1 million to the DNC's $6.9 million.
    But as CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson reports, some are worried it's DNC Chair Tom Perez who's doing the damage.
    "It's easier for parties to rake in the cash when they have a sitting president. But for some progressive Democrats, the paltry numbers are a reflection of Tom Perez and proof that the Democratic establishment just can't get it done," Henderson explains.
    "The DNC says it's still early, and the rebuilding of the brand and the party's infrastructure is still ongoing," she adds. "They also say that they think they'll have the resources they need for the rest of the year in 2018."

    3) Trump hitting the road for tax reform

    Trump is back from vacation, but he may not be sticking around the White House for long.
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    The President will be doing a big, public push for tax reform and it will take him on the road, most likely to the Rust Belt where he first sold his populist economic message.
    As Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender tells us, the road trip is set for the end of August.
    "I'm told the West Wing has identified a Rust Belt city for a first major event on August 28th," Bender reports. "What they would really like this tour to eventually include is a stop in California in Simi Valley at the Reagan Library, which includes the desk where former President Reagan signed the last major tax reform three decades ago."

    4) Bannon gone but not easily forgotten

    Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has been fired, but it may not affect White House operations all that much.
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    Michael Warren from The Weekly Standard has reporting on how Bannon spent his final weeks on the job.
    "I'm told that he spent much of his time, particularly in the last several months of his time at White House, sitting on a couch in the office of Reince Priebus, scrolling through his phone. But what was he doing there?" Warren asks.
    "He was trying to run sort of an outside media campaign against his enemies on behalf of his agenda -- (against) people like H.R. McMaster, Gary Cohn," adds Warren, speaking of the national security advisor and Trump's chief economic advisor. "I guess we're going to see more of that and it 's going to intensify from outside the White House."

    5) Republican source: Trump won't change

    At the beginning of his term in January, many wondered aloud about how candidate Trump would turn into President Trump.
    But the so-called presidential pivot hasn't happened, and likely won't happen. And as the LA Times' Jackie Calmes reports, some Republicans have given up on the idea altogether.
    "I talked to a couple of very well-known, formerly high-placed Republicans over dinner (about Trump) ... the most senior of the two Republicans looked at me and said, 'He's a classic narcissist ... you cannot get someone like that to change,' " Calmes says. So Trump's own party isn't counting on that pivot.