Cup of Joe – September 4, 2023

The Political Report is taking this Labor Day off, but the Cup of Joe is still percolating.

The 2024 election will be unlike any other. 

It will likely be a rematch of two presidents. One of them will be 82 years old at the start of his second term. The other is facing 91 criminal counts and could be in prison.

Doug Sosnik, who was Bill Clinton’s political director is out with a new memo reflecting on this historic time and how it’s changed our politics.

Here are his 10 new rules of American politics:

  • All politics is now national: “In 39 states, one political party has control of the governor’s office and the state legislature. In over half of these states the legislatures have veto-proof majorities. There are currently only five U.S. Senators and 23 members of the U.S. House of Representatives from a different party than the presidential candidate who carried their state or district in 2020.”
  • Education is the new fault line: “Biden carried white college educated voters by 15 points, which is a 29-point swing from Romney’s 14-point margin. At the same time, Trump carried white non-college educated voters by 32 points.”
  • National polling is not an accurate predictor: “Since most of the country now overwhelmingly supports one political party, polling that includes all states is largely meaningless in gauging the likely outcome of a national election.”
  • Only a handful of states determine control of power: “There are at most eight states that will determine the outcome of the 2024 election. The only polls that matter in the upcoming presidential election are in these swing states.”
  • The potency of abortion will increase over time: “Republican efforts to further restrict a woman’s right to choose at the state level runs counter to the views of a majority of the country and will further increase the political potency of the issue.”
  • The South and the West are now the center of political power: “In the last decade, nine of the top 10 states with the highest increase in population growth were in the South and the West.”
  • The suburbs are the last remaining battleground: “Of the 44 competitive U.S. House districts in the most recent Cook Political Report, there is not a single urban district and only two rural districts on their list of swing districts. Suburban voters determined the outcome of the last two presidential elections, as well as at least one branch of Congress in each of the last three election cycles.”
  • Online small-dollar donors are the real test of the strength: “Over the course of a campaign, big donor contributions are no match for the money that is continuously raised from small donors.”
  • There is no longer a true Election Day: “In the 2020 campaign for president, 69% of the country voted before the election — 43% by mail and 26% in person. This was a sharp increase from 40% early voting in 2016.”
  • Political reform is gaining strength: “In addition to taking politics out of drawing congressional and legislative districts, two of the most effective reforms that are increasing in popularity are ranked choice voting and open/jungle primaries. Both of these systems reward candidates who are more inclined toward compromise and willing to work across party lines since they need the votes of moderates and independents to get elected.”

Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for not meeting with President Biden while he visited the state Friday to survey hurricane damage, calling the decision “absolutely outrageous,” The Hill reports.

“The federal deficit is projected to roughly double this year, as bigger interest payments and lower tax receipts widen the nation’s spending imbalance despite robust overall economic growth,” the Washington Post reports.

“After the government’s record spending in 2020 and 2021 to combat the impact of covid-19, the deficit dropped by the greatest amount ever in 2022, falling from close to $3 trillion to roughly $1 trillion. But rather than continue to fall to its pre-pandemic levels, the deficit then shot upward. Budget experts now project that it will probably rise to about $2 trillion for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group that advocates for lower deficits.”

CNN: “One GOP lawmaker acknowledged there have been conversations among conservative hardliners about using a ‘motion to vacate’ — a procedural tool that forces a floor vote to oust the speaker — to gain leverage in the funding fight.”

“GOP hardliners in the House are eager to play a game of chicken over the end-of-the-month deadline to fund federal agencies, seeking to force the White House and Senate to make a choice: Accept a slew of conservative priorities or risk a debilitating government shutdown,” CNN reports.

“And caught in the middle, once again, is Speaker Kevin McCarthy.”

NBC News: “The president’s seeming disconnect from a major, consequential day in politics was as purposeful as it was predictable. It follows a long-held practice for Biden — one he adhered to after three previous indictments of the GOP front-runner: Stay quiet while Trump tries to convince Americans that Biden has abused the power of the presidency to sideline his likely 2024 election opponent.”

“But it’s not just a muted approach to Trump’s criminal charges, which Biden aides say is intended to demonstrate that his Justice Department acts independently from the White House. Biden has taken an overall gloves-on strategy to Trump, rarely uttering his name and declining to punch back when given the opportunity.”

“Biden’s closest political aides decided that he would not engage in day-to-day political combat until next spring — mirroring the tack taken by former President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign — even though that affords the former president months of largely unanswered attacks. It’s a political gamble that some Biden allies worry could have potentially perilous consequences.”

“Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola sobbed in a Washington, D.C., courtroom Friday as he asked a federal judge for leniency in his Jan. 6 sentence and vowed to stay out of politics in the future,” The Hill reports.

“However, after receiving a 10-year prison sentence, Pezzola reportedly raised his fist and shouted, ‘Trump won,’ as he left the courtroom.”

Proud Boys Leader Joe Biggs called in to Info Wars from jail to complain about the 17-year sentence he just received for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot.

Biggs then said his main hope is for Trump to win election in 2024: “I know he’ll pardon me. I believe that with all my heart.”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) “has a warning for her party about some efforts to restrict abortion without exceptions – and how it could affect moderate House Republicans on whom their narrow majority depends,” CNN reports.

Said Mace: “I think they’re walking the plank.”

She added: “I’m pro-life. I have a fantastic pro-life voting record, but I also understand that we cannot be assholes to women.”

New York Times: “The White House, as it turns out, is not waiting for a formal inquiry to wage war against impeachment. With a team of two dozen attorneys, legislative liaisons, communications specialists and others, the president has begun moving to counter any effort to charge him with high crimes and misdemeanors with a best-defense-is-a-good-offense campaign aimed at dividing Republicans and taking his case to the public.”

“The president’s team has been mapping out messaging, legal and parliamentary strategies for different scenarios. Officials have been reading books about past impeachments, studying law journal articles and pulling up old court decisions. They have even dug out correspondence between previous presidential advisers and congressional investigators to determine what standards and precedents have been established.”

New York Times: “The gambit does not appear to be working yet. Even as Mr. Biden presides over what is by all indicators a strong economy — one on track to dodge the recession many had feared — he is still struggling to convince most of the country of the strength of his economic stewardship. Wages are up, inflation has slowed, but credit to the president remains in short supply.”

“Polling last month from the Democratic organization Navigator found that 25 percent of Americans support Mr. Biden’s major actions, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, but still think the president is doing a poor job handling the economy. It’s a group that tends to be disproportionately younger than 40 and is more likely to be Black or Latino — voters critical to Democratic victories.”

Wall Street Journal: Resilient U.S. economy defies expectations.

“A judge in Florida ruled in favor of civil rights groups on Saturday, throwing out a congressional district map that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis had backed and deeming it unconstitutional,” The Messenger reports.

“The ruling, which is likely to be appealed, delivered another redistricting win for Democrats in the Southeast after a series of cases in the region have given the party more opportunities to flip Republican-controlled House seats ahead of what will be a contentious fight for control of the legislative chamber next year.”

“When former president Donald Trump’s media start-up announced in October 2021 that it planned to merge with a Miami-based company called Digital World Acquisition, the deal was an instant stock-market hit,” the Washington Post reports.

“Now, almost two years later, the deal faces what could be a catastrophic threat. With the merger stalled for months, Digital World is fast approaching a Sept. 8 deadline for the merger to close and has scheduled a shareholder meeting for Tuesday in hopes of getting enough votes to extend the deadline another year.”

“If the vote fails, Digital World will be required by law to liquidate and return $300 million to its shareholders, leaving Trump’s company with nothing from the transaction.”

Politico: “There are two ways the theory might be tested. One strategy is for politicians, advocacy groups or even ordinary voters to file lawsuits seeking judicial declarations that Trump is ineligible to run. This strategy is already in its infant stages, with two obscure plaintiffs filing lawsuits in New Hampshire and Florida in recent days.”

“The other, more politically perilous option would be for one or more states to embrace the theory outright and simply refuse to list Trump on their ballots. That might force Trump to file his own lawsuits asking courts to order his candidacy restored in those states. So far, no state has moved to bar Trump from the ballot, though secretaries of state around the nation are discussing the issue among themselves.”

“Either scenario could thrust the courts, and likely the Supreme Court, into an unsettled debate over the meaning of the insurrection clause, a long-winded 110-word provision that was ratified in 1868 and has rarely been interpreted — or even invoked — since then.”

Steven Calbresi: “Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment bans anyone from holding any federal office who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and who then breaks that oath by engaging in ‘insurrection or rebellion against the same.’ Donald J. Trump is precisely such a person.”

Former New Mexico governor and longtime political figure Bill Richardson has died, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.

“The anticipated late summer Covid wave is here – but it’s tougher than ever to measure,” Axios reports.  “With the end of federal Covid case tracking and the prevalence of rapid at-home testing, virus-related hospitalization rates and wastewater analyses are the best bet for monitoring spread.”

“Two years after Republican-led states approved waves of new voting restrictions, more states in 2023 have improved access to voting than have limited it,” Axios reports. “Key takeaway: 29 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted a total of 70 laws expanding voting rights this year, while 16 states have enacted 29 laws to restrict voting.”

“Twitter under Elon Musk’s ownership has played a major role in allowing Russian propaganda about Ukraine to reach more people than before the war began, according to a study released this week by the European Commission, the governing body of the European Union,” the Washington Post reports.

“The relationship between President Joe Biden’s White House and Eric Adams began breaking down in private months earlier than previously known – and long before the New York mayor started publicly blasting the president over the migrant crisis in his city,” CNN reports. “The issue is one of the most sensitive issues for the White House, and for Biden’s reelection campaign.”

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

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