The Political Report – April 4, 2023

Sixty percent of Americans approve of the indictment of former President Donald Trump, according to a new CNN Poll.

About three-quarters of Americans say politics played at least some role in the decision to indict Trump, including 52% who said it played a major role.

Lesley Stahl’s almost-fawning interview with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) was painful to watch. Greene is “as famous as they get” thanks to her “sharp tongue and some pretty radical views.” Ain’t she cute?

Stahl describes Greene as “smart and fearless” with a “history of believing in conspiracy theories.” It’s just gets worse and gauzier from there.

It’s obvious that Stahl thinks she’s doing her duty by confronting Greene with some of her more incendiary remarks, but the whole interview is packaged and framed in a way that normalizes and excuses MTG. It’s remarkably bad, especially by the show’s historical standards.

WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT. “Tuesday’s election for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court — the most expensive judicial race in U.S. history — has turned into a caustic, ideological brawl that will determine whether liberals or conservatives control the branch of government that will soon decide the fate of the state’s abortion ban,” the Washington Post reports.

“The candidates, political parties and ideological groups have spent more than $30 million on the race, obliterating the record for a judicial election that was established two decades ago in Illinois. Officially nonpartisan, races for the Wisconsin Supreme Court lost their apolitical sheen long ago and the candidates this year are campaigning more like members of Congress than jurists.”

CHICAGO MAYOR. An education lobbying and advocacy group founded by former Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and funded by Republican donors is backing Paul Vallas’ campaign for Chicago mayor, the Chicago Sun Times reports.

Politico: “The Chicago Teachers Union is one of the most powerful political institutions in this city. And it has more at stake in Tuesday’s mayoral runoff election than either man running for the office.”

Chicago, IL Mayor: AdImpact on Friday took one more look at both sides’ spending ahead of the April 4 general election and says that former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and his allies have deployed more than twice as much money as Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson on advertising. Vallas has outpaced Johnson $7 million to $4 million during the second round of voting, while two pro-Vallas groups have thrown down another $1.4 million.  

SCOTT 2024. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and his advisers are building a South Carolina team, the Charleston Post & Courier reports.

“A pro-Scott super PAC has hired two veteran Republican campaign operatives, giving the political group a South Carolina focus and creating a campaign-in-waiting should Scott decide to run for president in 2024.”

BIDEN 2024. Associated Press: “An announcement isn’t imminent even now, aides insist, and probably won’t come until at least after Biden returns from an expected trip to Ireland in mid-April.”

“The choice of Biden’s campaign headquarters has been narrowed to Philadelphia, the 2020 location, and Wilmington, Delaware, where his home is and where the president spends many weekends away from the White House. While Biden tends to prefer Delaware on all matters, some top Democrats worry that recruiting top campaign talent to Wilmington will be difficult.”

HUTCHINSON 2024. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) is running for president in 2024, Politico reports.

Said Hutchinson: “I am going to be running. And the reason, as I’ve traveled the country for six months, I hear people talk about the leadership of our country, and I’m convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America, and not simply appeal to our worst instincts.”

He added: “I believe I can be that kind of leader for the people of America.”

DESANTIS 2024. “The super PAC that is likely to serve as the main vehicle supporting Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida in a Republican presidential primary has raised $30 million since March 9,” the New York Times reports.

“None of the money raised was transferred from another committee, the official said. Mr. DeSantis’s state political committee had more than $82 million as of last month, which could eventually be transferred to another entity supporting him.”

David Frum: “Things weren’t going so well for Ron DeSantis even before Donald Trump was indicted. The Florida governor had dropped 30 points behind the ex-president in the last pre-indictment poll of Republicans and Republican-leaners. Back in mid-February, a major poll had showed DeSantis running almost even with Trump in a presumed primary contest.”

“You can insert your guess here as to why DeSantis has slumped so badly. His evasions and reversals on the Russian war in Ukraine? Trump’s hits on the governor’s votes against retirement benefits, culminating in a seven-figure anti-DeSantis ad campaign by a pro-Trump super PAC? Some X factor of personality or charisma—or the lack thereof? Or are observers looking in the wrong direction? Maybe it was not DeSantis who deflated, but Trump who rose—boosted by advance news of his imminent indictment.”

“Whatever the reason, Republican interest in the DeSantis brand of Diet Trump has dwindled.”

 “Democrats have targeted 31 Republican-held districts in their fight to retake control of the House in 2024, laying out an aggressive map and signaling early plans to go on offense,” NBC News reports.

“The list, first reported by NBC News, is a blend of ultra-competitive districts in places like New York’s Hudson Valley and Long Island, including the seat held by Rep. George Santos; areas President Joe Biden won, like the Omaha-core seat held by Rep. Don Bacon; and conservative-leaning districts where the party sees an extreme and vulnerable GOP incumbent, such as Rep. Lauren Boebert in Colorado.”

John Ellis has some thoughts on Donald Trump’s indictment in Manhattan:

Republican primary voters are back to backing Trump, for the time being, at least. His rural and exurban base never really wavered, but there was some wobble there. You could see it in the numbers. Not anymore. His base has re-solidified.

Fox is back to backing Trump. The power of Fox News in general elections is wildly overstated… The power of Fox News in GOP primary elections is substantial. If Fox ignores you in its news coverage or trashes you during its opinion programming, the chances of your winning a GOP nomination for local, statewide or federal office are (much) diminished. Your fund-raising will be the first casualty. Your name identification will stagnate if you’re not “covered.” If the primetime hosts go after you, your “negatives” will rise, bigly.

Many have told us that Trump can’t possibly win a general election in 2024. It is said that this indictment makes Trump’s general election impossible… There is no evidence (from the most recent public opinion polling) to support this assertion. In poll after poll (of late) Biden and Trump are statistically tied in a hypothetical 2024 match-up.

Maryland’s Democratic-run legislature has passed an amendment to the state constitution that would guarantee the right to an abortion, sending it to voters for their approval at the 2024 general election. Maryland is the first state to advance an amendment specific to abortion rights following the passage of similar amendments in California, Michigan, and Vermont last year. (New Yorkers will vote on a much broader Equal Rights Amendment next year that proponents say will protect abortion rights.)

Organizers in Ohio and South Dakota are also working to place an abortion rights amendment on the ballot for this November, but unlike in Maryland, where lawmakers voted to refer the measure to voters, advocates in those states must gather signatures to do so.

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

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