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Donald Trump

What does Trump’s winning streak mean?

Everything seems to be breaking former President Donald Trump’s way right now.

President Joe Biden’s abysmal debate performance last week gave Trump — and down-ballot Republicans — a major boost. Trump’s fundraising is strong, eroding Biden’s once huge cash advantage.

The Supreme Court on Monday threw Trump a lifeline on his legal troubles in its ruling on presidential immunity for official actions, all but ensuring he won’t have to face any federal criminal proceedings before the election. Trump quickly used that same Supreme Court ruling in seeking to overturn his felony convictions in the New York hush-money case. In commenting on the ruling Monday night, Biden didn’t take a single question.

This morning, we wanted to examine the various ramifications of Trump cementing his status as the frontrunner in the presidential race. The conversation in D.C. — among political consultants, lawmakers and K Street stalwarts — is already shifting to the possibility that Republicans may control all of Washington next year.

We’ll note that it’s an extremely close race right now, although polls show Trump with a small — but definite — lead in swing states. Biden has lots of money and a huge campaign infrastructure. The Biden campaign announced it raised $264 million in the second quarter and has $240 million on hand.

And Trump is Trump. He motivates Democrats as well as his own base to come out and vote. He’s liable to do or say anything. Plus, there’s a long way to go.

With all those qualifications, here are some dynamics to watch.

The House becomes the priority. We’re hearing tons of chatter in Democratic circles that suggests much of the donor cash could shift to House races. Democrats only need to pick up five seats to take the majority.

The thinking here is that with the Senate almost certainly lost and confidence in Biden waning, the House could end up being the only thing that’s winnable for Democrats. Some Democrats now see a House majority as their only chance to prevent a GOP trifecta.

This would ensure that Democrats have, at the very least, a seat at the negotiating table for next year’s legislative battles, from the debt limit to government spending to the expiration of the Trump-era tax cuts.

Corporate money and big donors. The Biden campaign reported a big surge of donations following Thursday’s debate.

Yet if you’re a wealthy donor or a corporate executive sitting on the sidelines, it’s hard to bet on Biden right now. We’ve already heard about CEOs and top figures in corporate America — as well as big non-U.S. companies and foreign governments — trying to make inroads with Trump or his top aides, either via Republicans in Congress or Trump insiders.

Good luck, red-state Senate Dems. Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) already face the daunting task of out-performing Biden in their states by massive margins if they want to get reelected.

The fallout from Biden’s debate performance makes that even harder, especially as the GOP campaigns are relentlessly seeking to tie Democratic incumbents to the president. We scooped on Monday that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was in Cincinnati for Brown.

This will also impact Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), as well as the eventual Democratic nominee in Michigan. But Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin are must-wins for Biden. If Biden doesn’t take at least two of those states, he can’t win — especially if Trump wins Georgia, Nevada and possibly Arizona.

What happens with Ukraine? Far-right political forces are on the rise throughout Europe. Just look at Sunday’s elections in France and the European Union parliamentary elections a few weeks earlier. Pair that with a Trump presidency and you could see a significant fracturing of the Western coalition backing Ukraine.

The massive foreign aid package that Congress approved earlier this year is only expected to last until early 2025, so there will undoubtedly be a push for more military assistance at the end of this year or the beginning of next year.

As we mentioned earlier, a Democratic-controlled House would give the party a seat at the negotiating table when it comes to any new Ukraine funding. Most Senate Republicans will push for it too. But none of that may matter if a newly inaugurated Trump refuses to go along.

Government funding. Government funding runs out on Sept. 30, and lawmakers will need to pass a continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown. This is standard procedure in an election year.

With no deal yet on a topline number for FY2025 spending, the House has already begun moving GOP-drafted appropriations bills. These won’t get anywhere in the Senate, and the White House is already threatening vetoes. But there’s another issue at play.

A number of hardline GOP conservatives are urging their leadership not to make any deal on government funding. They want to wait until Trump takes office in January so he can slash spending across the board except for defense, border security and Veterans Affairs. Speaker Mike Johnson and House Appropriations Committee Chair Tom Cole (R-Okla.) don’t like the idea. They note that approach didn’t work out for Trump and Republicans in 2017.

But this chorus will only get louder on the right if a Trump victory seems more likely.

— Andrew Desiderio, John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.