The Political Report – August 11, 2023

A new Economist/YouGov survey found that 77% of respondents said abortion rights are either very or somewhat important, while 23% of those surveyed said the issue is not very important or unimportant to them.

Along political party lines, 87% of Democrat respondents said abortion rights is an important issue, compared with 73% of independent respondents and 72% of Republicans.

A new CNN poll finds Americans’ discontent with the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade remains as potent as it was a year ago, with a record-high share of the public saying that they’re likely to take a candidate’s position on abortion into consideration when voting.

A 64% majority of adults say they disapprove of last year’s Supreme Court ruling that women do not have a constitutional right to an abortion, with half strongly disapproving.

A new NHJournal/co-efficient poll in New Hampshire finds that 62% of GOP primary voters said they would vote to elect Donald Trump president even if he were convicted of a felony.

In a further display of resolve, 57% said they would vote to send Trump back to the White House even if he were “serving time in prison” on Election Day.

The primary itself, Trump leads with 43%, followed by. Chris Christie at 9%, Ron DeSantis at 9%, Nikki Haley at 7%, Tim Scott at 5% and Vivek Ramaswamy at 5%.

CHRISTIE 2024. “If you had the guts you would show up to the debate and say it to my face.”— Chris Christie, responding to Donald Trump calling him a “fat pig.”

“Look, I’ll make it real easy for Donald Trump. You’re such a big guy, such a tough guy, so full of it. You want me? I’ll be on the stage in Milwaukee two weeks from tonight. I’ll be there waiting for you.”— Chris Christie, on Fox News.

RAMASWAMY 2024. Wall Street Journal: “A detailed look at Ramaswamy’s record of political commentary, dating back to his Harvard University years when he was an occasional rapper, shows some past statements may be out of step with some GOP primary voters and even his own current rhetoric.”

“Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy became the first Republican candidate for president Tuesday to formally qualify for the first debate by signing a Republican National Committee pledge to support the party’s eventual nominee,” the Washington Post reports.

HALEY 2024. New York Times: “By many measures, Ms. Haley is running a healthy campaign poised to capitalize on rivals’ mistakes…”

“Yet as Ms. Haley tries to occupy a lonely realm between the moderate and far-right wings of her party, her attempts to gain national traction — talking openly about her positions on abortion, taking a hard stance against transgender girls playing in girls’ sports, attacking Vice President Kamala Harris — appear to be falling flat with the Republican base at large.”

TRUMP 2024. “Donald Trump said he would announce next week whether he would attend the first GOP presidential debate, but insisted he would not sign a required pledge to support the party’s nominee,” Bloomberg reports.

Said Trump: “I have a problem with the debate for another reason. I wouldn’t sign the pledge.”

“Days after former President Donald Trump was indicted on conspiracy charges relating to attempts to overturn the 2020 election, Republican presidential hopefuls in Iowa called for massively changing — or completely dissolving — the Department of Justice and the FBI,” the Des Moines Register reports.

“But, despite their fervor against federal agencies, the candidates shied away from specifically discussing Trump’s latest charges.”

New York Times: “Several [of Trump’s rivals] have adopted much of Mr. Trump’s rhetoric sowing broad suspicion about the courts, the F.B.I., the military and schools. As they vie for support in a primary dominated by Mr. Trump, they routinely blast these targets in ways that might have been considered extraordinary, not to mention unthinkably bad politics, just a few years ago.”

Donald Trump said he decided to strip Hillary Clinton of his favorite nickname for her and officially bestow it upon President Biden, the Daily Beast reports.

Said Trump: “I even changed his name. I took it away from Hillary, and we call him ‘Crooked Joe.’ Instead of ‘Sleepy Joe,’ we call him ‘Crooked Joe.’ I retired it.”

He added: “That was a great day for Hillary. I said we’re removing the name from ‘Crooked Hillary.’ Now we call her ‘Beautiful, Beautiful Hillary,’ such a beautiful woman, and we’re giving it to Biden because he’s a crooked person.”

Playbook: “The biggest question, of course, centers on Trump, who relishes keeping people on the edge of their seats. As the clear frontrunner, the former president has publicly poo-pooed suggestions that he participate — for instance, telling Breitbart last weekend that his attendance would be ‘stupid.’”

“But, but, but … Some who have Trump’s ear are telling him that he’ll be a punching bag whether he’s there or not, so he might as well show up and parry the blows himself. They’re also arguing that a no-show could give his rivals a chance to create a viral moment and gain momentum against him. And several have also pointed out that after he skipped the last debate before primary voting began in 2016, he ended up losing Iowa to Ted Cruz.”

“Some close to Trump are no longer predicting what he’ll do and are even warning reporters against making definitive statements either way. But if you can bank on anything, it’s this: Trump will find a way to keep himself at the center of attention until the very last moment.”

Jack Shafer: “A person shouldn’t eat when he’s not hungry, drink when he’s not thirsty or debate when he’s already won. So if Trump has already acquired the nomination and stowed it in a box in his Mar-a-Lago bathroom for reopening on the week of the Republican convention, there’s no reason, outside entertaining his fans, for him to appear on the Milwaukee dais.”

Donald Trump “will visit the Iowa State Fair Saturday with a bevy of congressional endorsers in tow — not high-profile Iowans, but nine Florida Republicans who have backed him over his chief rival and fellow Floridian, Gov. Ron DeSantis,” the Des Moines Register reports.

DESANTIS 2024. “Ahead of the first Republican primary debate in Milwaukee, in two weeks, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is ramping up his prep and bracing for a potential onslaught of attacks from his rivals when he steps on stage,” ABC News reports.

“If Trump ultimately skips the debate, sources told ABC News that the DeSantis campaign believes the move could hurt the former president with primary voters who want to see him on the stage. DeSantis’ campaign has been conducting polling on the issue with Republican voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.”

“When WinRed, the company that processes nearly all online Republican campaign contributions, recently released its enormous trove of donor data for the first half of the year, donations were conspicuously absent for one presidential candidate: Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida,” the New York Times reports.

“It was no technical glitch. The DeSantis campaign worked with WinRed in a way that prevented the disclosure of donor information, ensuring that the campaign’s small donors would remain anonymous.”

“The arrangement appears to be the first of its kind for a presidential campaign since WinRed’s founding four years ago and could presage a return to an era in which far less information on small donors is made public, at least for Republicans.”

SCOTT 2024. Larry Ellison has already decided to make a massive donation to Sen. Tim Scott’s super PAC, “which should be wired soon if it hasn’t landed in his account already,” Puck reports.

“The commitment, described to me as a planned eight-figure contribution, would be at minimum the second largest contribution in the Republican presidential primary thus far. If the gift eclipses the $20 million given by Robert Bigelow to boost Ron DeSantis, it would be the single biggest check of the entire 2024 race.”

PENCE 2024.  “Mike Pence has released a new campaign ad attacking President Joe Biden for high gas prices—but it’s gone viral for all the wrong reasons,” the Daily Beast reports.

“As he delivers his spiel to the camera… the gas pump can be heard beeping off camera with increasing urgency, beckoning him, as gas pumps do, to pay and select a kind of fuel. He somehow keeps up the whole charade throughout the incessant beeping, holding the nozzle into his gas tank as if viewers might not notice there’s no gas coming out.”

“The super PAC aligned with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy could spend at least $100 million in the 2024 election cycle to support GOP House candidates in states that were won by President Joe Biden in 2020,” according to a strategy memo obtained by CNBC.

From the memo: “In 2024, the House will be won or lost in blue states.”

“Days after former President Donald Trump was indicted on conspiracy charges relating to attempts to overturn the 2020 election, Republican presidential hopefuls in Iowa called for massively changing — or completely dissolving — the Department of Justice and the FBI,” the Des Moines Register reports.

“But, despite their fervor against federal agencies, the candidates shied away from specifically discussing Trump’s latest charges.”

Punchbowl News: “Politically, this indictment will be a challenge for Republicans for the next 460 days leading up the election. Instead of a laser focus on Biden’s perceived shortcomings, GOP lawmakers will be asked over and over again about the former president’s behavior on Jan. 6 and the efforts to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost.”

“There will also be a renewed focus on what many sitting Republicans did during that period, including requests by some for pardons from Trump before he left office.”

BIDEN 2024. “President Biden’s campaign — racing Republicans to identify persuadable 2024 voters — is leaning into a recently developed database that includes contact information for 90% of U.S. voters, gleaned from 500 organizations during the past decade,” Axios reports.

“One of the best online fundraising days for Democrats this year was the day of Joe Biden’s campaign launch — but even that day’s haul was meager compared to his campaign kickoff four years ago,” Politico reports.

“That’s among the findings of an analysis of fundraising for the first half of the year through ActBlue, the party’s primary donation processor. Small-dollar giving at the federal level totaled $312 million in the first half of 2023 — a drop-off of more than $30 million compared to this point in the 2020 cycle. The platform also had 32 percent fewer donors in the second quarter this year compared to four years prior, although its total fundraising including state and local campaigns increased slightly due to more recurring donors.”

Politico: “Michigan’s Republican party is broke. Minnesota’s was, until recently, down to $53.81 in the bank. And in Colorado, the GOP is facing eviction from its office this month because it can’t make rent…”

“The demise of the GOP state parties could have a profound impact on the 2024 election. Operatives fear that hollowed out outfits in key battlegrounds could leave the party vulnerable, especially as Democrats are focusing more on state legislative races.”

“Top Democrats, including those close to Joe Biden, are moving to dull the possibility that not one but two third-party challengers could siphon away critical votes in the upcoming election,” Politico reports.

“Inside the party, there is bubbling concern of a repeat from what happened seven years ago, when Green Party candidate Jill Stein drew more votes in three critical battleground states than the amount by which Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in those places.”

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “Just about 150 of the nation’s more than 3,100 counties cast half of the nation’s presidential vote in 2020.”

“Joe Biden won 126 of the 151 top half counties, while Donald Trump won 2,548 of the remaining 2,960 counties in the bottom half.”

“Trump’s wins among the top half counties were concentrated among the smaller pieces of that group — Biden won all but one of the nearly 50 counties that cast 500,000 votes or more.”

“Democrats are calling for their 2024 candidates to reengage with young voters amid signs that the critical voting bloc may be distancing from the party,” The Hill reports.

Said John Della Volpe, the pollster for Harvard’s Institute of Politics: “Nearly every sign that made me confident in historic levels of youth participation in 2018, 2020, and 2022 — is now flashing red.”

Wall Street Journal: “Iowa is more white and rural than the rest of the country, and Republicans have grown stronger with those voters, particularly through Trump’s populist appeals.”

“Meanwhile, Democrats have lost droves of voters in rural areas, and Iowa has fewer of the minority and urban voters who tend to be more liberal and have helped the party offset rural losses. Some Iowa Democrats say they are struggling to connect with voters on cultural issues as Americans have grown more polarized.”

A reminder that Barack Obama won Iowa in 2008 and 2012.

“President Joe Biden’s brand as a family-oriented public servant has been a signature political asset that for more than 50 years has helped him win the argument that, when judged against ‘the alternative’ rather than ‘the Almighty,’ he stacks up pretty well,” NBC News reports.

“He’s never lost to a general-election opponent in a political career that’s taken him from Delaware’s New Castle County Council to the Oval Office.”

“But the burnish on Biden’s brand is being tested like never before, ahead of a close 2024 election. Some of the president’s Democratic allies are worried about potential fallout from a confluence of family drama that’s spilled into public view and from Republican attacks that cut at the bedrock of Biden’s longtime political appeal.”

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

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