The Political Report – April 25, 2023

A new Harvard Institute of Politics poll of 18-to-29-year-olds finds President Biden’s approval rating at just 36%, a drop of three percentage points since last fall (39%) and five percentage points since last spring (41%.)

The poll also finds that nearly half of young Americans (48%) have felt unsafe in the past month, with 40% worried about falling victim to gun violence.

Washington Post: “As Biden gears up to run for a second term, with aides targeting a Tuesday video announcement, polls and dozens of interviews show most of his party does not want him to be their nominee. But the lack of enthusiasm is tempered by another widespread motivator working in Biden’s favor: The determination to prevent a second Donald Trump term or the ascent of another Trump-like politician.”

“From Atlanta to Avondale, Ariz., Democrats this spring have collectively voiced both sentiments. The Washington Post conducted interviews in recent weeks with more than 130 Democrats in five battleground states that powered Biden’s 2020 victory. Across a wide range of demographic and ideological groups that make up the Democratic coalition, the reactions revealed a party accepting Biden as its standard-bearer — but only reluctantly.”

New York Times: “One wealthy donor had considered circulating a letter this year to urge Mr. Biden not to run before the person was dissuaded by associates because it would have been for naught and have served to embarrass Mr. Biden.”

Associated Press: “The contours of the 2024 campaign that Biden will formally launch with a video as soon as this week will look a lot like his messaging and policy moves from the past few months: Play up accomplishments from his first two years, draw a sharp contrast with Republican policies he deems extreme, and brush off worries about his age.”

“Biden, aides contend, has essentially been campaigning since Republicans took control of the House last year, focused on showing Americans how his administration is implementing massive new infrastructure, technology and climate laws, and portraying Republicans as in the grip of the far right at a time when Washington is nearing a crucial fight over raising the nation’s borrowing limit.”

“While advisers say Biden’s activities and message in coming months will be largely indistinguishable from what he’s been doing over the last six months, the frame of reference will inevitably shift as voters increasingly tune in to 2024 political dynamics.”

Playbook: “Biden is expected to soft-launch his reelection campaign on Tuesday in the form of a video and fundraising appeal to supporters.”

“Now, at the 11th hour, there’s some doubt about the timing. Biden famously takes a long time to pull the trigger on his final political decisions, and many top Democrats wouldn’t be surprised if Tuesday comes and goes without him taking the plunge.”

Politico: “Amid all the breathlessness, several Democrats outside the White House told Politico they are fine with him waiting until late summer or even the fall. They point to the chaotic Republican primary and cable TV chyron-dominating legal morass swirling around former President Donald Trump as reasons for Biden to keep his powder dry.”

 “Republican presidential hopefuls will make their pitch to evangelical voters in Iowa on Saturday, the first major event for candidates to court the key conservative voting bloc in a state set to hold the party’s first nominating contest in early 2024,” Reuters reports.

“It will be headlined by former Vice President Mike Pence, a devout evangelical who may soon launch a presidential bid, and U.S. Senator Tim Scott, who is exploring a run. Former President Donald Trump will participate remotely via video link.”

“The event comes as Trump appears to be consolidating his grip on the Republican Party, with some national polls showing him expanding his lead over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential primary rival who is not attending the forum but will visit the state next month.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence will make an announcement on whether he will be launching a 2024 presidential bid “well before late June,” CBS News reports.

Utah Republicans are furious that calls for protests during Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appearance at Utah Valley University this weekend use swastikas and refer to the potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate as a “fascist,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“Despite rising support for former President Donald Trump in his race for re-election, the Republican governor of New Hampshire remains skeptical,” Insider reports.

Said Gov. Chris Sununu (R): “Republicans want someone who can win in November of ’24.”

He added: “Donald Trump is a loser. He has not just lost once. He lost us in our House seats in 2018. He lost everything in ’20. We should have 54 US Senators right now, and we don’t because of his message. So, Donald Trump is positioning himself to be a four-time loser in 2024.”

Mike DuHaime, a Republican strategist and longtime Chris Christie adviser, told the Associated Press that Donald Trump is the favorite for the GOP nomination but nonetheless beatable.

Said DuHaime: “I do think that DeSantis is right now firmly the alternative to Trump, but I don’t know if it stays that way. There’s still way too long to go.”

He added: “Somebody’s just got to get momentum. It’s just so wide open even with Trump being the prohibitive favorite.”

 “I probably just wouldn’t vote.”— Gov. Chris Christie, when asked by The Atlantic whether he would vote for Donald Trump if he is the Republican nominee.

Bloomberg: “In conversations with Trump campaign advisers and allies, the strategy they’ve developed is to bury DeSantis’s expected presidential campaign before it begins.”

New York Post: Trump rips DeSantis for leaving “a wake of destruction.”

Rich Lowry: “If Trump were given a magic wand to move America in his direction policy-wise on his core commitments, and we had a secure border, more tariffs, fewer foreign entanglements, greater domestic energy production, the status-quo on entitlements and steps toward the center-right and away from what Trump calls the ‘radical-left lunatics’ on most culture issues, no one would think he or she were living in a right-wing dystopia — at least not if they didn’t know who was wielding the wand.”

“It’s Trump’s unique contribution to take an issue mix that could have broad appeal and make it toxic by association with himself.”

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wasn’t a candidate for president, but he got a welcome worthy of an American political VIP Monday in Japan, his first stop on an around-the-world tour,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Striding into the prime minister’s office holding the hand of his wife, Casey, Mr. DeSantis held a roughly 40-minute meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. He said they discussed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s provocations and the Chinese Communist Party—the sort of issues presidents worry about.”

Semafor: “The billion-dollar question is how far DeSantis and his allies are willing to go in attacking the former president when the real war begins and what areas they’ll pick to make the case.”

Associated Press: “As of Friday, the main DeSantis Super PAC said it had installed at least six paid staffers on the payroll in each of the first four states on the Republican presidential primary calendar: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Each state features a director, political director and a field director, among others.”

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

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