The Political Report – March 27, 2023

An overwhelming share of Americans aren’t confident their children’s lives will be better than their own, according to a new Wall Street Journal-NORC Poll that shows growing skepticism about the value of a college degree and record-low levels of overall happiness.

Also important for the 2024 elections: “Four in five respondents described the state of the economy as not so good or poor, and nearly half said they expect it will get worse in the next year.”

“Ron DeSantis may be missing his moment,” NBC News reports.

“A number of the Florida governor’s donors and allies are worried his recent stumbles suggest he may not be ready for a brutal fight against Donald Trump. Some feel DeSantis needs to accelerate his timeline to run for the GOP presidential nomination and begin directly confronting Trump if he’s to have any chance of thwarting the former president’s momentum. Others believe DeSantis should sidestep Trump altogether and wait until 2028 to run.”

“Erin Perrine, who was the press communications director for former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, has joined a super PAC supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — another sign that the infrastructure for his yet unannounced 2024 presidential campaign is expanding,” CBS News reports.

The Spectator on Casey DeSantis: “She is Ron’s closest confidante, sitting at the heart of a tight-knit group of advisors, and an essential part of his public image, lending her husband what an uncanny number of people I spoke to for this article described as a ‘Kennedyesque’ sparkle.”

Tim Alberta: “Trump’s relationship with the evangelical movement — once seemingly shatterproof, then shaky after his violent departure from the White House — is now in pieces, thanks to his social-media tirade last fall blaming pro-lifers for the Republicans’ lackluster midterm performance.”

“Mike Pence believes that this erosion of support among evangelicals represents Trump’s greatest vulnerability in the upcoming primary — and his own greatest opportunity to make a play for the GOP nomination.”

“But he isn’t the only one. Although Pence possesses singular insights into the insular world of social-conservative politics, numerous other Republicans are aware of Trump’s emerging weakness and are preparing to make a play for conservative Christian voters…. The scale of Trump’s trouble is difficult to overstate. In my recent conversations with some two dozen evangelical leaders — many of whom asked not to be named, all of whom backed Trump in 2016, throughout his presidency, and again in 2020 — not a single one would commit to supporting him in the 2024 Republican primary.”

“Donald Trump’s election team is downplaying the impact of a possible indictment on his campaign, insisting it will not force him cut back, including on his travel,” ABC News reports.

“At the same time, associates boast they’re ready to launch a full-throated response to what they cast as a partisan fishing expedition by a Democratic prosecutor.”

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pre-campaign campaign for president has hit the skids — particularly among key blocs of voters he’ll need to dethrone former President Donald Trump next year,” Politico reports.

“Polls show Trump dominating his likely primary competitor among GOP voters in the so-called ‘beer track’ — a shorthand for the cultural and socioeconomic characteristics of the bloc of voters with lower incomes and levels of educational attainment. While DeSantis is still the preferred candidate of high-income voters and those with college degrees, he is showing signs of bleeding there, too. In recent weeks, Trump’s numbers have been rising among all Republicans, including with GOP voters most skeptical of his candidacy in the so-called ‘wine track.’”

“Ron DeSantis isn’t officially running for president yet, but he just suffered through the kind of week a candidate for the highest office in the US would love to forget,” Bloomberg reports.

“The Florida governor has been seen as the most formidable potential challenger to former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination. Yet DeSantis’s early advantage has eroded following miscues over Ukraine policy and as Trump pushed himself back into the spotlight by calling for protests against his potential indictment in New York.”

Former Gov. Chris Christie said his trip on Monday to New Hampshire, will help him decide whether to “get into the battle” and launch a 2024 GOP presidential campaign, Fox News reports. Said Christie: “I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations with donors over the course of the last few weeks.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) told the Wall Street Journal that he’s not considering a presidential bid in 2024.

Washington Post: “Some of his political aides as well as at least one executive appointee close to the governor, among others in his circles, have adjusted their thinking about the contest, according to the people with knowledge of the discussions, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private talks. Whereas some allies had been anticipating a ‘coronation,’ as one person described the thinking of people close to the governor, more are now stressing that a DeSantis victory will require a lengthy, 50-state delegate fight…”

“Concern is mounting among some on DeSantis’s team about the toll of Trump’s attacks, according to two people familiar with the discussions, with one saying Trump was ‘trying to kill him in the crib.’ The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.”

“DeSantis aides have not settled on an approach to the aspersions cast on him by Trump. His wife and closest adviser, Casey DeSantis, has opposed responding in kind, according to people familiar with her perspective, with one saying, ‘She’s not a down-in-the-dirt person…’”

“Some of DeSantis’s critics in Tallahassee have taken to calling him ‘JebSantis,’ according to lobbyists and former lawmakers familiar with the comments.”

WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT. As Wisconsin’s pivotal Supreme Court race enters the stretch run, conservative Dan Kelly is busy campaigning with some despicable individuals—without any regrets. On Tuesday, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, both Kelly and far-right pastor Matthew Trewhella spoke at an event hosted by a fringe group called the Sons and Daughters of Liberty. In his remarks, Trewhella called wearing masks to mitigate COVID “evil,” compared mask mandates to the Holocaust, and warned his audience that if they “appease tyrants,” then “bloody revolution is the only option left”

Kelly tried to disavow any connection with Trewhella, but he’s openly embraced another extremist, Virginia activist Scott Presler, who was on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6 and organized multiple “stop the steal” rallies. Presler has been touring the state doing media appearances on Kelly’s behalf and appeared with the candidate in a video that Kelly’s campaign posted online. Kelly said he was unbothered by Presler’s presence at the Capitol and claimed he was “not really familiar with his background,” yet somehow he was nevertheless aware of the fact that Presler has more than a million followers on Twitter.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party castigated Kelly for his connections to Trewhella and Presler in a press release, but it remains to be seen whether progressive Judge Janet Protasiewicz uses any of this in an attack ad.

WEST VIRGINIA U.S. SENATOR. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said they would cross party lines to support fellow centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) if he runs for reelection, Politico reports.

“Elated Senate Republicans believe they are on the cusp of landing their highest-profile recruit of the 2024 campaign: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice,” Politico reports.

“Justice, a Democrat-turned-Republican with sky-high approval ratings, is increasingly expected to launch a bid for Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) seat after consulting with top party officials in Washington this month, according to a half-dozen GOP senators and aides. A Justice candidacy would notch two big wins for Republicans, breaking their losing streak in recruiting popular governors and reshaping next year’s battleground map.”

CHICAGO MAYOR. Former Gov. Pat Quinn, who came close to pursuing a bid for mayor himself, has endorsed former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas in his April 4 runoff against Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson. Prior to the first round of voting, Quinn had backed Rep. Chuy Garcia, who ideologically is much closer to the progressive Johnson, but Vallas served as Quinn’s running mate during his unsuccessful bid for a second term as governor in 2014.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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