The Political Report – April 11, 2023

Americans’ views of the economy are the best they’ve been in more than a year, according to a new CNN poll – but they’re still pretty bad, with 7 in 10 saying it’s in poor shape.

However, half the country says their personal financial situation is worse than a year ago. 

A new AP-NORC poll finds 79% of Americans say they oppose reducing the size of Social Security benefits and 67% are against raising monthly premiums for Medicare.

“Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the De­mo­c­rat-turned-in­de­pen­dent, is pre­paring for a re-elec­tion cam­paign, set­ting the stage for what could be an un­pre­dictable three-way con­test in the highly com­pet­i­tive state,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“A re-elec­tion cam­paign by Ms. Sinema would have im­pli­ca­tions for the bat­tle for the Sen­ate in 2024 and test whether a sen­a­tor who has spurned a tra­di­tional party iden­tity can build a win­ning cen­trist coali­tion. Ms. Sinema left the De­mo­c­ra­tic Party last year to be­come an in­de­pen­dent af­ter be­ing a reg­u­lar thorn in the side of De­mo­c­ra­tic lead­ers and pro­gres­sive ac­tivists. She still cau­cuses with the De­moc­rats, how­ever, and re­mains a piv­otal vote in the par­ty’s 51-49 ma­jor­ity.”

Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is now advising Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on his presidential bid.

Donald Trump “took aim at Daniel Kelly, the losing Republican candidate for the Wisconsin state Supreme Court who was defeated by a liberal candidate this week, calling him a ‘foolish man’ for not seeking the former president’s endorsement,” The Hill reports.

Said Trump: “He bragged that he won’t seek Trump’s Endorsement, so I didn’t give it—which guaranteed his loss. How foolish is a man that doesn’t seek an Endorsement that would have won him the Election?”

“A Florida elections bill introduced in the Senate this week could make it harder for college students to vote and add more restrictions to third-party registration groups, which opponents say amounts to more voter suppression,” the Orlando Sentinel reports. “The package, the third of its kind in three years, is the latest being pushed by the Republican-led Legislature.”

David Graham: “Donald Trump is back—or at least, the 2016 version of Donald Trump is back on the campaign trail, just hours after he was arrested and arraigned in a New York court earlier today.”

“The former president has become no more honest and no less irritable since leaving office in disgrace in 2021, but the man who has been campaigning for president these past few months has been a diminished version of himself. Oh, he’s still full of vitriol, and the man doesn’t seem to visibly age, but his heart hasn’t been in it, and he has slipped from the center of the political conversation. He was tired.”

“That’s the man who appeared in court in Manhattan today for his unprecedented arraignment: subdued, silent, and maybe even looking a little scared. But by the time Trump took the dais at Mar-a-Lago tonight, he seemed to have stepped back in time eight years.”

Popular Information: “No Labels said that it has raised $70 million for the effort and will seek to secure a line on the ballot in all 50 states. It has ‘already gained ballot access in Arizona, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon.’”

“Where did No Labels get all this money? The group has not revealed any of its donors. It’s an odd position for an organization dedicated to restoring ‘trust’ in institutions.”

Seth Masket writes that the push for a “bipartisan unity ticket” by No Labels is based on a fundamental misreading of American politics — just because people express dissatisfaction with the major parties and say they want more options doesn’t mean they’ll vote for another option.

The problem is that no one can define the “common-sense, moderate, independent platform” this effort promises.

Politico: “The electoral potency of Trump is once more the central element of the Democratic Party’s internal debates. Back in 2016, Trump was supposed to have been the perfect opponent: too crude and way too outrageous to win a general election. As Hillary Clinton’s campaign geared up for that November’s race, many were rooting for Trump to be the GOP nominee, believing that he’d be the easiest Republican to beat.”

“It didn’t work out as planned. And the shock many in the party experienced because of it compelled them to pledge that they’d take a more sober-minded approach to the possibility of a Trump revival.”

“But with Trump once more eyeing the White House, the conventional wisdom is again forming that he would be the easiest Republican to defeat, owing to the myriad of legal problems he’s facing.”

“Before this indictment it was already tough for any Republican to attack Trump, and the reason is because for the last five years voters were under the belief that if you attack Trump you’re a RINO or establishment Republican. Now that got even harder. You’re attacking him while Democrats are going after Trump in New York — how does that not make you look allied with the people who are trying to take him down?” — A Republican operative close to Donald Trump’s campaign, quoted by Politico.

Kim Strassel: “Conservatives cheered mightily last year when the Supreme Court returned abortion to the states with Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. And rightly so. Yet that was a legal victory. The political question is something else entirely, and it’s the left cheering now.”

“In race after race, state after state, Democrats are pummeling conservative candidates on abortion, drowning out every other topic, stoking fearful centrists, suburbanites and women to turn out and elect them to office.”

Washington Post: “His response to Trump’s indictment reflects both the trial-and-error in his approach, and his reluctance to declare open warfare against the top-polling Republican candidate. Rather than open a new phase of combativeness with Trump, DeSantis is lying low again, at least for the moment.”

“The person who said DeSantis wasn’t going to ‘bullied’ expects the governor to push back on Trump more sharply if he runs for president. But this person also expects he will take ‘the high road’ and engage with Trump on policy rather than trade insults and name-call — for instance, by rebutting the former president’s criticisms of how DeSantis handled the pandemic and taking aim at Trump’s own record on the issue, including his use of Anthony S. Fauci as a White House coronavirus adviser.”

Frank Luntz on how a Republican beats Trump in a Republican primary: “It begins by reflecting more closely on Mr. Trump’s rule-breaking, paradigm-shattering campaign in 2016 and all of his unforced errors since then. It accurately reflects the significant attitudinal and economic changes in America over the past eight years. And it requires an acceptance that pummeling him and attempting to decimate his base will not work. Trump voters are paying laserlike attention to all the candidates. If they think a candidate’s mission is to defeat their hero, the candidate will fail. But if a 2024 contender convinces them that he or she wants to listen to and learn from them, they’ll give that person a chance. Neither Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz understood this dynamic when they attacked Mr. Trump in 2016, and that’s why they failed.”

“So consider this a playbook for potential Republican candidates and for G.O.P. voters and conservative independents wanting someone other than Mr. Trump in 2024, a strategic road map based on informed experiences with Trump voters for the past eight years. This is what I’ve learned from these focus groups and research.”

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

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