The Political Report – April 27, 2023

Marc Thiessen: “So, what happens if voters are forced to choose between two candidates they don’t want?”

“A Wall Street Journal poll (conducted by pro-Trump super PAC pollster Tony Fabrizio) suggests the answer: It found that among voters who disapprove of both Trump and Biden, Biden leads Trump by a massive 39 points: 54 percent to 15 percent. Clearly, swing voters who dislike Biden dislike Trump even more.”

Nate Cohn: “Almost every recent survey shows a highly competitive presidential race. On average, Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump by 1.4 percentage points so far this year. Mr. DeSantis even leads Mr. Biden, by less than a point.”

“Now, to be clear: I don’t think you should put a lot of stock in general election polls quite yet. But no one should be terribly confident about the outcome of a general election at this early stage either. If there were any case for early confidence, it ought to be reflected in the early polls. If Mr. Trump is doomed, why isn’t he getting trounced in the polls?”

“At the very least, Mr. Biden seems to have his work cut out for him. His job approval and favorability ratings remain stuck in the low 40s. This makes him quite a bit weaker than in 2020, when polls showed that voters generally had a favorable view of him. Or put differently: While the 2020 election was decided by voters who liked Mr. Biden and didn’t like Mr. Trump, today it seems the 2024 election could be decided by voters who dislike both candidates.”

Edward Luce: No cakewalk for Biden against Trump.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said Tuesday that he would forgo another presidential bid of his own and instead endorse President Joe Biden’s reelection, the AP reports.

Dan Balz: “President Biden begins his campaign for a second term in both an enviable and unenviable position. Unenviable because the country remains in a sour mood, his approval ratings are weak, and there is minimal enthusiasm for his candidacy. Enviable because Donald Trump, who at the moment is Biden’s most likely opponent, is an ideal foil to make the election a choice and not a referendum.”

“Biden’s announcement video released Tuesday morning was an echo of his 2020 campaign video, with images and language that put the former president and his followers at the center of a 2024 message. Biden will run in part on his legislative record and his desire to ‘finish the job,’ as he said in the video. But just as much, he will continue to warn voters, as he did in both 2020 and in 2022, of the dangers ahead if Trump wins the White House and of the policies of a Trump-dominated Republican Party.”

Peter Baker: “President Biden has acknowledged that he has not accomplished all he wished to. But that, he maintains, is an argument for his re-election.”

Politico: “For a country that likes to pride itself on its youthful vitality, it now is more likely than not that come November 2024, voters will be left to choose between two men who would be octogenarians while in the nation’s highest office.”

Politico: “Priorities USA will also announce its overall investment target of $75 million for the 2024 presidential cycle — $5 million more than its 2020 target. The group will use the money to reach voters in key battleground states including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.”

“I can tell you that freedom has been testing very, very strongly.”— Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, quoted by New York Magazine on President Biden’s 2024 campaign theme.

“Top White House officials are rushing to the aid of Vice President Kamala Harris to try to shore up her underwhelming poll numbers heading into 2024,” Axios reports.

“There’s zero chance Biden will replace her on the ticket — doing so would be an admission that he botched the most important decision he made as a candidate. So the White House and campaign team are working to give Harris a boost — which her allies feel is long overdue.”

New York Times: “The vice president will be central to President Biden’s re-election efforts, particularly on the issue of abortion access. Both critics and supporters say the increased spotlight is a good thing.”

President Biden’s re-election campaign is not concerned with headlines about Tucker Carlson and Kevin McCarthy overshadowing the president’s reelection announcement because they think it helps “keep the spotlight on MAGA extremism,” Politico reports.

“For an incumbent eager to frame the next election, as he did last year’s, as a choice and not a referendum on his own record, being somewhat out of the spotlight’s glare has its benefits. Biden’s team wants to present him as a trusted, experienced politician; the drama-free alternative to extremism on the right. The media’s focus on louder, more strident voices — and his own innate unobtrusiveness — are not just an outgrowth of circumstances but also a key part of his campaign’s strategy.”

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “Presidential approval is typically a good predictor of the share of the vote an incumbent president will receive. Recent presidents often ran a little ahead of their approval as opposed to a little behind, although the sample size is very small.”

“Assuming President Biden’s approval, which is mired in the low-to-mid 40s, does not spike to 50% or better before Election Day, he is likely going to have to perform well with those who only “somewhat” disapprove of his job performance. Democrats held their own with these voters in 2022.”

“Americans are in a negative mood about the current state of the country, with large majorities expressing dissatisfaction with the economy and overall national conditions. And when they look toward the not-too-distant future, they see a country that in many respects will be worse than it is today,” according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

“Sizable majorities of U.S. adults say that in 2050 – just over 25 years away – the U.S. economy will be weaker, the United States will be less important in the world, political divisions will be wider and there will be a larger gap between the rich and the poor. Far fewer adults predict positive developments in each of these areas.”

“And when Americans reflect on the country’s past, the present looks worse by comparison. Around six-in-ten (58%) say that life for people like them is worse today than it was 50 years ago.”

PHILADELPHIA MAYOR. A judge on Monday approved a deal between the Philadelphia Board of Ethics and For A Better Philadelphia, which is supporting businessman Jeff Brown, where the super PAC agreed to finance only general get-out-the-vote efforts ahead of the May 16 Democratic primary.

The agreement came two weeks after the board filed a lawsuit alleging the super PAC had improperly coordinated with Brown, something both it and the candidate deny. The judge back then issued a temporary order forbidding For A Better Philadelphia, which had already deployed $3 million, from spending more money for Brown, an order the super PAC said it would not challenge because it had already completed its planned spending.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday that this was still far above the $1.3 million that another super PAC had spent to aid one of Brown’s many intra-party rivals, former City Councilmember Cherelle Parker. A third contender, former City Councilmember Helen Gym, has benefited from more than $700,000 in outside support, but the paper said her allies were almost out of money and hadn’t run any TV ads that week.

Former City Council member Cherelle Parker earned an endorsement Tuesday from Derek Green, a former colleague who dropped out of the May 16 Democratic primary in time to remove his name from the ballot.

ALLEGHENY COUNTY (Pa) EXECUTIVE. State Rep. Sara Innamorato has secured an endorsement from EMILY’s List ahead of the May 16 Democratic primary.

WASHINGTON 3RD DISTRICT. Camas City Councilmember Leslie Lewallen has filed FEC paperwork to run as a Republican against freshman Democratic Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in next year’s top-two primary.

RHODE ISLAND 1ST DISTRICT. Navy veteran Walter Berbrick, who recently stepped down as a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, on Friday became the 15th Democrat to launch a bid for this seat. “The most urgent threat that we face as a country isn’t from abroad. It’s from within,” he said Friday, continuing, “Our country is so deeply divided along party lines … It’s breaking up families and friendships and communities. It’s putting our country at risk.”

Lincoln Town Councilor Pamela Azar on Monday became the 16th Democrat to kick off a bid, declaring, “I’m running to help people and be a red-tape cutter and negotiate and mediate with the other side of the aisle.”

ILLINOIS 12TH DISTRICT. Darren Bailey, the far-right former state senator who was the GOP’s nominee for governor of Illinois last year, told Donald Trump on Wednesday that he’s interested in waging a primary challenge against Rep. Mike Bost, according to Politico’s Shia Kapos.

We don’t know how Trump, who won Bost’s 12th Congressional District by a giant 71-28 margin, reacted to Bailey’s feelers, but we do know that a battle between these two prominent hardliners in downstate Illinois would attract plenty of attention. There’s also no word on why exactly Bailey, who once filed a bill to kick Chicago out of Illinois, is thinking about going up against Bost, an ardent Trumpist who voted to overturn Joe Biden’s win hours after the Jan. 6 attack.

However, this isn’t the first sign of tension between the two. In October, a flyer appeared from people claiming to be Bost supporters alleging that Bailey knew he couldn’t unseat Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “So the plan is for Bailey to campaign as much as possible in Mike Bost’s district and secure as many supporters and votes as possible so he can challenge Mike Bost in 2024,” the leaflet alleged. It went on to urge the reader, “Keep Bailey’s vote totals down in Mike’s district.”

Bost’s side responded at the time by denying it had anything to do with the message and pointing out that the congressman was backing Bailey’s bid for governor, but The Pantagraph reported that “this is not the first time the scenario described in the flyer has been discussed in Republican circles.” Bailey, predictably, lost to Pritzker in a 55-42 drubbing, but it didn’t even take a full day for the Chicago Tribune to relay that Bost’s allies “have privately expressed concerns Bailey is eyeing a primary challenge.” (According to an estimate from OurCampaigns, Bailey ran slightly ahead of Trump in the 12th District, carrying it 73-25 last year while Bost was winning his own race 75-25.)

Trump has lent his support to both men in the past, so there’s no telling whether he’d take sides this time. He endorsed Bailey just ahead of last year’s primary, much to the delight of Democrats, who spent a fortune to help him win the nod in the ultimately correct belief he’d prove a weak opponent for Pritzker. Trump also headlined a rally for Bost in 2018, when the congressman was in the midst of a tough reelection battle. (Democrats later redrew the 12th District to make it much redder by packing in as many Republican voters as possible.)

Bost raised $410,000 during the first quarter of 2023, which was almost three times what he brought in at this point in the previous cycle, in what Kapos interprets as a sign he’s getting ready for a potential challenge from Bailey. The incumbent also finished March with $670,000 in the bank, while the former state senator would need to start from scratch if he were to run.

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

1 comment on “The Political Report – April 27, 2023

  1. cassandram

    I think that Thiessen is asking the wrong question — Is there anyone who *could* run who would be more competitive than those who have declared. I don’t think there is right now and we should have questions about that. I think voters are grumpy and they have been grumpy for years. It gets worse as national politics fails to address those things important to them.

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