The Political Report – July 24, 2024

A new Monmouth poll finds Donald Trump’s net favorability now stands at negative 27 points — the highest in the history of the poll.

A new Quinnipiac poll finds Donald Trump leads the GOP presidential primary voters with 54%, followed by Ron DeSantis at 25%, Nikki Haley at 4%, Mike Pence at 4%, Tim Scott at 3%, Chris Christie at 3% and Vivek Ramaswamy at 2%.

DESANTIS 2024. The Economist: “From May through June Mr DeSantis raised $20.1m and spent $7.9m, a burn rate of 39%. Compared with the same period during the 2020 election cycle, this seems modest. During the second quarter of 2019, Mr Trump’s campaign had a burn rate of 40%, and then-front-runners of the Democratic primaries Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden both slightly exceeded 50%.”

“But those fundraising juggernauts, unlike Mr DeSantis, relied heavily on small-dollar donors—individuals who pledge less than $200 to a campaign. These contributions matter not only because they help line campaign coffers, but because smaller donations from more people suggest greater enthusiasm for the candidate. During the second quarter of 2019, 70% of Mr Sanders’s fundraising came from small-dollar donors compared with Mr DeSantis’s 14% during the same period this year.”

“A reliance on big-dollar donors can be hard to sustain. Fewer people have lots of money to give and campaign-finance law caps individual contributions at $3,300 per candidate per election. Nearly 70% of donors to the DeSantis campaign have already reached this limit for the primaries.”

“As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis faces growing national doubts over his stalled presidential bid, Republican political operatives in Iowa say they’re not ready to hit the panic button — so long as DeSantis takes seriously the opportunity to reset and refocus on competing in the early voting states,” the Des Moines Register reports.

But GOP strategist Jimmy Centers doesn’t see it: “If you come in and you do a small gathering with a certain group and then maybe do a speech at a larger event that night, that’s not a blitz, folks. That’s a day in Iowa. It’s a quick business trip.”

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign is planning a reboot, top campaign officials said, with a significant shift on messaging, events and media strategy,” NBC News reports.

“Expect fewer big speeches and more handshaking in diners and churches. There will be more of a national focus than constant Florida references. And the mainstream media may start to get more access.”

“In short, DeSantis will be running as an insurgent candidate rather than as an incumbent governor.”

“Republican voters with a college degree and a built-in skepticism of Donald Trump were supposed to form the backbone of Ron DeSantis’ strategy to win the 2024 GOP presidential primary,” the Miami Herald reports.

“Instead, they’re leaving his campaign in droves.”

“A trio of Republican primary polls, including previously unpublished data obtained by McClatchyDC, show that Florida’s governor has suffered steep declines in support among GOP voters with at least a bachelor’s degree, an erosion that threatens to undermine his candidacy.”

“Their defections — which started in the spring and have continued this summer — are disproportionately responsible for DeSantis’ overall decline in the race, where polls show he now sits a distant second place to Trump.”

NBC News: “Though it’s a part of life that distinguishes him from former President Donald Trump and other rivals for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, DeSantis has reached for it sparingly in his first eight weeks in the race — usually as a perfunctory aside or impersonal transition to his more prosaic policy proposals…”

“Now, as DeSantis struggles for traction in his White House run, his campaign is telegraphing a new strategy that will feature his Navy service much more prominently in messaging on the trail and in TV ads.”

TRUMP 2024. Jonathan Last: “At any point during the last 4 years, Republican elites could have stopped Trump and prevented him from running for president again. But doing so would have been painful. It would have cost some—perhaps even many—of these elite Republicans their jobs and their rank. It would have temporarily ruptured the GOP. It would have certainly cost them the 2020 election and might have cost them the 2024 election, too.”

“But Donald Trump understands that power emanates from the balance of pain… Getting rid of Trump would be vastly more painful for the Republicans who did so than it would be for Trump. Meaning that Trump held all of the power.”

“Which is why Republican elites have been forced into this pattern where they defend Trump from existential attacks while hoping that the attacks succeed. Where they say that they wish they could remove Trump today, but they can’t. Tomorrow would be better. And when tomorrow comes and Trump is still there, they have to defend him again. While—again—hoping that the other side can do the work for them.”

“As the Trump campaign tells it, the 2024 Republican presidential primary is already over,” the Daily Beast reports.

“Behind the scenes, however, the Trump team is quietly planning for the most chaotic outcome of a bitter primary war: a fight on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next July.”

“According to five Republicans familiar with the discussions, Trump and his team are making a concerted push to ensure that the convention is packed with loyalists who could fortify their position, should another candidate win enough delegates during the primary to potentially maneuver for the nomination.”

“Donald Trump followed a predictable pattern this week,” CNN reports.

“The former president announced Tuesday a new set of legal troubles, this time a letter from special counsel Jack Smith that said he is the target of a criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. By day’s end, he was asking his supporters for campaign donations to help him fend off what he called ‘another vicious act of Election Interference on behalf of the Deep State.’”

“Recent disclosures with the Federal Election Commission underscore how much these criminal cases – and Trump’s fundraising around them – have boosted his campaign finances as he mounts a third White House bid.”

“Donald Trump insisted he ‘didn’t pick a fight’ and has a good relationship with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds — even as he doubled down Tuesday night on his claim that she owes her first election victory to him,” the Des Moines Register reports. Said Trump: “With Kim, I helped her get elected. I would say that without me she would not be governor.”

BIDEN 2024. Mark Leibovich: “West, the famed academic and civil-rights activist, is a Green Party candidate for president. He probably will not win. Not a single state or, in all likelihood, a single electoral vote. But he remains a persistent object of concern around the president these days.”

“I’ve talked with many of these White House worrywarts, along with their counterparts on Joe Biden’s reelection team and the usual kettles of Democratic anxiety who start bubbling up whenever the next existential-threat election is upon us. Even with the nuisance primary challenger Robert F. Kennedy Jr. polling in the double digits, West inhabits a particular category of Democratic angst, the likes of which only the words Green Party presidential candidate can elicit.”

“President Joe Biden is staking his reelection bid on the political and financial muscle of the Democratic National Committee,” the AP reports.

“As it prepares for a bruising 2024 contest, his campaign plans to raise and spend around $2 billion. But it will do so in coordination with the national and state Democratic parties, in an effort to establish a coordinated campaign around the country. The idea is to bolster field, volunteer and data organizations, and ensure they work jointly to promote Biden and down-ballot Democratic candidates.”

HALEY 2024. “When Nikki Haley entered the presidential race Feb. 15, she was polling at 4.5%. Five months later, she’s at 4.4%,” NBC News reports.

“But in Haley’s telling, and that of her allies, she’s got everyone right where she wants them: doubting her.”

Said Haley: “I have been underestimated in everything I have ever done. And it’s a blessing, because it makes me scrappy.”

“Donald Trump recently delivered the news to Rep. Matt Rosendale: He wouldn’t win the former president’s coveted endorsement if he runs in the GOP primary for the US Senate seat in Montana, a decision with major implications in the high-stakes battle for control of the Senate,” CNN reports.

“In West Virginia, Trump privately suggested to Rep. Alex Mooney that he is unlikely to back him in the Senate GOP primary over Gov. Jim Justice, the candidate backed by Republican leaders, in part because of his loyalty to the West Virginia governor.”

“The twin developments will be welcome news for GOP leaders, who have been carefully maneuvering for months to try to keep Trump from undermining their efforts to prop up their preferred candidates in the nation’s most pivotal Senate races.”

Playbook: “Trump’s decisions are in part due to his shared antipathy with the NRSC for the Club for Growth, which is backing more insurgent, hard-right primary candidates. He’s also more focused on his presidential campaign than wading into Senate primaries. He feels loyal to Justice — and miffed that Rosendale hasn’t endorsed him yet.”

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said that Donald Trump would be making “a mistake” if he opts out of the upcoming primary debate, Politico reports. Said McDaniel: “I think it’s a mistake not to do the debates, but that’s going to be up to him and his campaign.”

“Donald Trump’s rivals are upping the pressure on him to take part in next month’s GOP primary debate, seeking to draw the front-runner onto a crowded stage as they look to put a dent in his polling lead,” The Hill reports.

McDaniel “has invited the popular Ruthless Podcast to host a ‘College GameDay’-style show ahead of the first GOP presidential debate in August,” Axios reports.

“The three-year-old podcast — which mixes politics and games, with Comfortably Smug, Josh Holmes, Michael Duncan and John Ashbrook as ringmasters — is one of the right’s most influential outlets, with more than 3 million unique listeners.”

SCOTT 2024. “Sen. Tim Scott’s upcoming travel schedule will include an intense focus on campaign fundraising, after Scott was off the trail for stretches of July due to his Senate schedule,” NBC News reports.

“A political consultant closely tied to the effort to elect Tim Scott president repeatedly used the N-word when he was playing a card game with friends,” a video obtained by Politico shows.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) told PBS that she would cross party lines and vote for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) – if he ran as a third party candidate – over former President Donald Trump or President Joe Biden, were those her options.

Said Murkowski: “I am one who doesn’t like to use my vote for the lesser of evils. I want to be proactive in who I think could do the job. I think Manchin could do the job. But will our system allow for that? That I don’t know.”

“Candidates for office were practically swimming in grassroots money over the last few cycles, as politics increasingly went online and the money followed,” Politico reports. “This cycle, the well is drying up.”

“A Politico analysis of federal campaign finance data found a dramatic downturn in small-dollar donations across the board.”

The Economist: “Only should Mr Biden’s health fail might Americans be lucky to have No Labels on the ballot… That is the only real argument for this third party, and it is the most cold-blooded one imaginable.”

Politico on college towns being the GOP’s electoral nightmare: “In isolation, it’s a worrisome development for Republicans. Unfortunately for the larger GOP, it’s not happening in isolation.”

Donald Trump released a new video attacking President Joe Biden’s environmental policies in a bid to win the endorsement of the powerful auto workers union,” Bloomberg reports. “Trump said in the video released Thursday that Biden’s push to transition to electric vehicles has cost auto workers jobs and saddled consumers with higher prices for cars.”

Washington Post: “To illustrate how Trump’s criminal defense is swallowing his campaign, just over half of the money he raised last quarter went not to the campaign itself but to an affiliated PAC that is footing the legal bills.” Said one Trump adviser: “A lot of money is going to legal and people who don’t do much, and not a lot is left over to do marketing and advertising. A lot of the money we’re raising is just going to legal.”

“If we don’t get our act together, 25 years from now, school children in this country are going to be forced to learn 37 different pronouns in Mandarin and we cannot let that happen.”— Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), at a campaign event. Spoken Mandarin actually doesn’t identify the gender of a person.

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

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