The Political Report – January 30, 2023

“Donald Trump is set to campaign in New Hampshire and South Carolina on Saturday, hitting the trail for the first time since launching his run to return to the White House while confronting growing Republican interest in elevating new standard-bearers,” the Washington Post reports.

“Saturday’s trip will serve as an early barometer of Trump’s support and his message. The former president will be stumping in two states where he triumphed in the 2016 primary, the last time there was an open race for the GOP nomination. But he has so far struggled to reignite the energy of previous runs and has until now foregone the usual barnstorming after a campaign kickoff. Some Republicans have been openly critical and many longtime allies are holding off on endorsements as a potentially crowded field takes shape, even as polls show Trump at or near the top.”

Reuters: “In interviews with 10 New Hampshire Republican Party officials and members, some of whom worked on Trump’s 2016 primary campaign and all of whom have been staunch Trump supporters in the past, Reuters found only three who were sticking with him this time around – including the state chair, an influential Republican figure who is so enthusiastic about Trump he is stepping down on Saturday to help his campaign.”

“The rest cited exhaustion with Trump’s controversies, exasperation at the constant drama, and a desire to move on from Trump’s loss in 2020 with a fresh face who they thought would have a stronger chance of winning in 2024.”

Reuters: “Multiple Republicans interviewed for this story, who were granted anonymity to discuss internal party dynamics, said they would be watching to see whether Trump can deliver a forward-looking message, or will resort to personal attacks or false claims of election fraud that many blame for a poor Republican showing in the November midterm congressional elections.”

Politico: “If there were any remaining doubts about President Joe Biden running for a second term, the president’s upcoming travel plans should lay them to rest.”

“He’s running, people. And some Democrats view Biden’s pre-State of the Union address calendar, which is starting to take shape, as the soft launch for it. His aides don’t even dispute that.”

“Biden will appear at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in New York City next Tuesday, according to three people familiar with the event. On Friday, he’ll deliver a speech at the DNC’s two-day gathering in Philadelphia, as will Vice President Kamala Harris, and both will attend another DNC fundraiser there, according to three people familiar with that event.”

Meanwhile, a new Granite State Poll in New Hampshire finds 82% of progressives and 57% of liberals, groups that usually dominate the Democratic primary there, probably or definitely do not want Biden to run again next year.

Author and activist Marianne Williamson, who is considering a second campaign for president against President Biden, plans to visit New Hampshire in the coming weeks to help her make “a more informed decision” about her political future, the Washington Post reports.

New York Times: “The battle over where Democrats should host their presidential convention in 2024 has been unfolding for months in some of the country’s largest Democratic-run cities. It is at once an opaque insider’s game and a spirited debate over Democratic messaging and symbolism, shaped by regional rivalries, whispered disparagement of competitors and high-powered public jockeying.”

“Atlanta, Chicago and New York remain in contention and have advanced toward the endgame of the process, hashing out potential nuts-and-bolts terms with the DNC… Of those three cities, Atlanta and Chicago have often been seen as leading contenders, but in many ways, the final decision will be a matter of Mr. Biden’s preference. Atlanta is the only one of those cities to be located in a presidential battleground state.”

“Senate Democrats returned to Washington to wield their newly expanded majority this week, but the specter of potential retirements in their ranks is already raising anxiety about their prospects in the next election,” the Washington Post reports.

“Democrats will be defending a sprawling map of 23 Senate seats in 2024, and three of their incumbents are in states that President Donald Trump won in 2020 — Ohio, West Virginia and Montana. They are also defending seats in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada and Michigan.”

“After strong electoral results in the midterm elections, Democrats in some key states are moving quickly this year on voting rights – pushing ambitious plans to expand access to the ballot ahead of the 2024 presidential election,” CNN reports.

“In the presidential swing state of Michigan – where Democrats have gained the governorship and both legislative chambers for the first time in roughly four decades – Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and a group of legislators recently announced a package of voting-related priorities. They range from criminalizing the harassment of election workers to carrying out a voter-approved expansion of early voting.”

“Newly empowered Democrats in Minnesota, meanwhile, are advancing a suite of election changes through the legislature that include instituting automatic voter registration and restoring voting rights to people convicted of felonies.”

“The Democratic majority in the Michigan Senate approved a measure Thursday that would move the state’s presidential primary earlier in the year,” the Detroit Free Press reports.

“The 20-18 party-line vote to shift the primary from mid-March to late February every four years is favored by Democrats, but may substantially hurt Republicans ahead of what is anticipated to be a heated election to decide the party’s nominee in 2024.”

Washington Post: “Just a few months ago, Arizona Republicans lost nearly every major statewide midterm race after campaigning for months on false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.”

“That was not always a winning strategy in Arizona nor in many other states, but many Republican leaders and their supporters here are still clinging to election fraud falsehoods, refusing to acknowledge their candidates lost and resisting attempts to lessen the extreme divisions in the state.”

Matthew Continetti: “Trump’s rivals in both the Democratic and Republican parties are repeating the mistakes they made in the run-up to the 2016 election. The Democrats assume that there is no way for Trump to become president, while Republicans believe he will fade from the scene. Their failure to learn from history has made it possible not only for Trump to win the GOP nomination for the third straight time, but to pull another inside straight in the Electoral College and return to the White House. For decades, Trump has said that the political class is corrupt, insular, and incompetent, and that Republican leaders lack guts. Washington is doing its best to prove him right…”

“The presidential campaign is just beginning. No one knows what lies ahead. The Trump rebound may soon pass and won’t come again. There’s a sleeper candidate or two out there who will make this race interesting.”

“For now, though, Democrats and Republicans are gambling that they can behave in 2024 just like they did in 2016, but produce a different result.”

The RNC approved a resolution at their annual meeting Friday condemning antisemitism — including specifically calling out Kanye West and Nick Fuentes — but made no mention of their infamous dinner meeting with Donald Trump.

“Advisers to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are actively preparing for a possible presidential run, according to two Republicans with knowledge of the conversations who described meetings and preliminary staffing moves — the latest indication that DeSantis is laying a foundation for a national campaign,” the Washington Post reports.

“DeSantis’s political team has already identified multiple potential hires in early primary states such as New Hampshire and Iowa, according to one of the Republicans, who said experienced operatives have expressed interest. This Republican also said that Phil Cox and Generra Peck — two key members of DeSantis’s 2022 reelection team — are involved in ongoing talks about 2024.”

“The Republican National Committee is planning to mimic a Democratic tactic in 2020, requiring a certain number of unique individual donors to get a spot on the debate stage,“ Axios reports.

“Discussions are ongoing about the precise number of donors to require, though internal talks have floated 40,000 and 50,000 as potential thresholds and the source said the numbers could change prior to an RNC vote in February.”

“The donor requirement for Democratic presidential candidates — initially 65,000, and rising with each debate — provided a huge boost to the party’s grassroots fundraising operation.”

Charlie Sykes: “Not on offer is anyone suggesting that the GOP rethink its current trajectory. There’s no non-Trumpist alternative, and no interest in anything like an autopsy to explain why the party keeps losing the popular vote for president, or why it is hemorrhaging support in the suburbs, and among women and young voters.”

“So today we have a high-profile race, with a dollop of last-minute drama, that actually has the lowest possible stakes.”

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