The Political Report – July 26, 2023

A new USA Today/Suffolk University survey of Ohio showed the amendment guaranteeing access to reproductive services backed by a double-digit margin, 58% to 32%.

Significant support crossed partisan lines, including a third of Republicans and a stunning 85% of independent women, a key group of persuadable voters.

DESANTIS 2024. “Top officials on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s campaign acknowledged to donors on Sunday that they’d spent too much money and that further changes would be made as they look to recover from a disappointing start,” Politico reports.

“Appearing before around 70 of the campaign’s top contributors at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah, DeSantis’ campaign manager Generra Peck said money had been spent on operations that had turned out to be ineffective and that the campaign would move to a leaner, ‘insurgent’ posture going forward.”

New York Times: “One recent move that drew intense blowback, including from Republicans, was the campaign’s sharing of a bizarre video on Twitter that attacked Mr. Trump as too friendly to LGBTQ people and showed Mr. DeSantis with lasers coming out of his eyes. The video drew a range of denunciations, with some calling it homophobic and others homoerotic before it was deleted.”

“It turns out to be more of a self-inflicted wound than was previously known: A DeSantis campaign aide had originally produced the video internally, passing it off to an outside supporter to post it first and making it appear as if it was generated independently.”

“Never Back Down is beginning to take over some event planning from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign, launching a bus tour that will take him through Chariton, Osceola and Oskaloosa ahead of Friday’s Iowa GOP Lincoln Dinner,” the Des Moines Register reports.

“The bus tour appears to be an acknowledgment that DeSantis will need to spend more time on the ground if he wants to gain momentum in Iowa.”

Matthew Yglesias: “Donald Trump has a lot of flaws as a person, as a policymaker, and as a politician.”

“But the only criticism Ron DeSantis seems to have of him is that Trump isn’t a totally dogmatic ideologue. As criticisms go, this one does have the virtue of being true: Trump governed as a conservative who moved the policy status quo to the right, but he hasn’t spent the bulk of his career in the conservative movement, isn’t particularly steeped in the canon of conservative thought, and has from time to time been willing to toss aside conservative ideological dogma to advance his own purposes. If you’re looking for the most rigid right-winger in the universe, DeSantis is right — Trump is not your guy.”

“As the basis for a presidential campaign, though, it’s not very persuasive, and I think DeSantis’s inability to articulate any other critique is one reason his campaign is flailing.”

“For months, Ron DeSantis’ pitch to Republicans was simple: He was the only serious alternative to Donald Trump. Others might run, but he was coming off a blowout re-election, putting up record-shattering fundraising numbers, and leading a post-Trump conservative movement in Florida — nobody’s resume (or polling) could compare,” Semafor reports.

“But as DeSantis’ campaign struggles mount, that narrative — to use one of DeSantis’ favorite words — is showing some major cracks. And polling over the weekend threatened to crumble it entirely.”

PENCE 2024. Washington Post: “While Pence’s advisers are emphatic that he will make the debate stage, the mere uncertainty is emblematic of the early challenges the Indiana Republican is confronting in his nascent campaign. Pence has struggled to gain attention or traction by running a traditional and low-key conservative campaign in a race dominated by firebrands like Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.”

“Vice presidents typically enter their party’s nominating contest as strong contenders if not front-runners. Yet Pence is registering well behind Trump and DeSantis and much closer to longshot candidates like tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, while also being far outraised by his rivals.”

“I’m not interested in trading insults with my old friend. I’m not. And some people think that’s the way to win the presidency. I don’t. But laying out the choice for the American people. We’ve been doing it. We’ll keep doing it.”— Mike Pence, quoted by ABC News, after a voter questioned whether he would ever stand up to Donald Trump.

“When executives at Showtime pulled a VICE documentary exploring Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ experiences with Guantanamo Bay detainees, it was hard to ignore the timing: It was one day after DeSantis officially declared for president,”the Daily Beast reports.

“The Daily Beast has obtained a transcript of that unaired documentary, The Guantanamo Candidate, which was anchored by Seb Walker, a longtime correspondent for the Emmy-winning newsmagazine.”

“Among a number of insights into DeSantis’ past, the transcript features interviews with former prisoners and a former Naval staff sergeant-turned-Gitmo whistleblower who overlapped with DeSantis. All three allege inhumane treatment at the hands of the U.S. government, with the detainees directly implicating DeSantis—at the time, a junior-level military legal adviser—in approving and overseeing brutal measures.”

TRUMP 2024. “Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Chris Christie and Tim Scott have all met the Republican National Committee’s polling and fundraising thresholds to earn invitations to the first primary debate next month,” Politico reports.

“Whether they all will show up is another question.”

“Trump, in particular, has indicated he is not inclined to step foot on the stage, publicly waffling on whether he’ll make the trip to Milwaukee at the end of next month.”

“Set aside the polls, the fundraising numbers or Donald Trump’s name recognition as metrics of his early dominance of the Republican presidential contest. He has what could prove to be the most important advantage in the race: a leg up in winning the delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination,” the AP reports.

“While the delegate count won’t begin taking shape until voting begins next January, Trump’s edge in the race to win their votes is years in the making. Many state Republican parties made changes to their rules ahead of the 2020 election by adding more winner-take-all contests and requiring candidates to earn higher percentages of the vote to claim any delegates. Those changes all benefit a front-runner, a position Trump has held despite his mounting legal peril, blame for his party’s lackluster performance in the 2022 elections and the turbulent years of his presidency.”

Maureen Dowd: “A man is running to run the government he tried to overthrow while he was running it, even as he is running to stay ahead of the law.”

“That sounds loony, except in the topsy-turvy world of Donald Trump, where it has a grotesque logic.”

KENNEDY 2024. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. blamed the media for dragging his campaign, saying he has been slammed “even more than President Trump was slammed” by mainstream media outlets, Politico reports.

Said Kennedy: “I’ve been really, you know, slammed in a way that I think is unprecedented.”

He added: “I mean, listen, if I believed the stuff that’s written about me in the papers and reported about me on the mainstream news sites, I would definitely not vote for me. I would think I was a very despicable person.”

BIDEN 2024. Washington Post: “Political campaigns have increasingly employed data scientists and engineers to better understand the electorate and inform decisions on where to spend time and money. The Biden campaign says those efforts will be turbocharged this cycle, becoming central to how the campaign targets and connects with voters over the next 16 months.”

“As software programs become smarter and more powerful, they are increasingly able to provide nuanced profiles of specific groups. And technology provides a growing number of ways to contact them.”

“This is going to sneak up on people. I don’t know why alarm bells aren’t going off now, and they should be at a steady drumbeat from now until the election.”— David Axelrod, quoted by CNN, about Cornel West’s third party presidential bid.

“The Arizona Republican Party picked a bad time to run out of money,” The Messenger reports. “There are two competitive House seats on the line as Republicans are looking to defend their slim majority in the lower chamber next year. Not to mention, Arizona is going to be a major swing state in the 2024 presidential election.”

“But the state GOP has just over $23,000 in cash on hand in its federal account.”

SCOTT 2024. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) appears to be rising in the Republican presidential race, Politico reports, and his rivals have started to beef up their opposition research on him.

Said one ally of a rival candidate: “He’s never really had a real challenger in terms of a serious primary or general, so in that sense he’s pretty unvetted. The scrutiny will come.”

Harry Enten: “While the South Carolina senator remains well behind front-runner Donald Trump in the national horserace polls, a number of key indicators – from favorability ratings to early-state polling to fundraising – suggest Scott may be the GOP candidate to watch besides the former president or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.”

“They acknowledge Donald Trump’s dominance, but weary Republicans across New Hampshire — even inside the governor’s office — are fighting to stop the former president from winning the first-in-the-nation primary,” the AP reports.“For now, however, they’re relying on little more than hope and prayers.”

RAMASWAMY 2024. Semafor: “Ramaswamy, a successful investor running on an “America First” platform that he says will build on Donald Trump’s presidency, wasn’t registering in the polls when he first announced his presidential run in February. His campaign says he met the RNC’s 40,000 donor fundraising requirement back in May and that they have over 65,000 unique donors to date.”

“He’s also officially met the RNC polling rule, which requires a candidate to have at least 1% in three separate independent national surveys recognized by the committee. As part of his finance efforts, he’s offered fundraisers the chance to keep 10% of any donations they raise for his campaign.”

NBC News: “Florida Democrats say they’re spending and organizing to chase down people who vote by mail after election officials across the state canceled all standing mail ballot requests this year. The mass cancellations were to comply with a 2021 election law that added new restrictions to mail-in voting.”

“In the six months since the ballot requests were canceled, less than a third of voters in three large counties have taken steps to request mail ballots again.”

“The Club for Growth is preparing to spend millions of dollars to help reelect the 20 House Republicans who opposed Kevin McCarthy’s speakership bid,” Politico reports.

“David McIntosh, the president of the anti-tax group known for antagonizing the party establishment, told donors he was preparing a $20 million defense fund to help ‘The Patriot 20’… He warned that “moderate donor networks” were already mobilizing to punish those members.”

“The mesh trucker hats, ‘Bud Right’ koozies and ‘Abolish the FBI’ yard signs Republican presidential candidates are feverishly hawking are, on the surface, all about amassing enough small-dollar donors to qualify for the first debate,” Politico reports.

“But there’s something else revealing about the candidates’ emporiums of red meat. In the modern GOP, owning the libs is what sells.”

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

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