The Political Report – September 6, 2023

Josh Marshall: “We have another pretty sobering general election poll out. This one is from the Journal. Toplines are 46% to 46% horse race number, widespread misgivings about Biden’s age. In general, as you’d expect, Trump’s supporters and potential supporters are basically 100% united behind him whereas Biden’s are far less so. […]

The poll also sheds some light on this ever-present question of why Biden isn’t getting better approval numbers on the economy. Biden’s overall approval number in this poll is 42%. On “the economy” he’s down at 37% – net 22 percentage points under water. But his best number (47%-47%) is on “creating jobs” and his second best (45%-47%) is on “improving infrastructure”. His worst – a net -29% is on “inflation and rising costs”. If you want Biden to win reelection obviously you want all Biden’s numbers to be better. But step back and this spread of numbers makes much more sense. It also raises the question of just what voters are talking about when they talk about the economy. (Interest rates which have made the de facto cost of home and other major purchases dramatically higher are a decent place to start.)

The rejoinder from the Biden campaign is that the campaign hasn’t really happened yet. That’s true. In fact, that there are lots of two term presidents who were tied or behind a year out. In fact it’s close to the norm. It applies to Reagan, Clinton and Obama. The most accurate conclusion we can draw from these numbers is that Biden’s reelection is by no means a sure thing and that it will require a vast exercise of advocacy and activism from non-Trump America to animate a coalition to keep him in office for another four years.”

Nate Cohn: “President Biden is underperforming among nonwhite voters in New York Times/Siena College national polls over the last year, helping to keep the race close in a hypothetical rematch against Donald Trump.”

“On average, Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump by just 53 percent to 28 percent among registered nonwhite voters in a compilation of Times/Siena polls from 2022 and 2023, which includes over 1,500 nonwhite respondents.”

“The results represent a marked deterioration in Mr. Biden’s support compared with 2020, when he won more than 70 percent of nonwhite voters.”

UTAH 2ND DISTRICT SPECIAL ELECTION. Former state Rep. Becky Edwards (R), who voted for President Joe Biden and supported the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump, holds a commanding lead in the special election to replace retiring Rep. Chris Stewart (R) in Utah’s 2nd congressional district, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“Utah’s special election primary on Tuesday to replace longtime U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart could offer a glimpse into how Republican voters feel about a string of indictments against former President Donald Trump that haven’t deterred him from charging ahead with his 2024 presidential run,” the AP reports.

RHODE ISLAND 1ST DISTRICT SPECIAL ELECTION. “Gabe Amo, a former aide to President Biden, emerged as the winner of a wide-open, twelve-candidate Democratic primary in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District,” The Messenger reports.

New York Times: “As Rhode Islanders return from their state’s well-loved beaches after the long Labor Day weekend, they will cast votes on Tuesday in a special primary election to determine who will replace former Representative David N. Cicilline, the seven-term Democrat who stepped down in May to become president of the Rhode Island Foundation.”

“His resignation, a surprise to much of the Rhode Island political world, gave rise to a crowded and chaotic contest during an otherwise sleepy summer political season. With 11 Democrats and two Republicans comprising a historically diverse field, the candidates regularly bump into one another at community festivals, ice cream socials, meet-and-greets and more as they try to prove themselves to voters.”

“The Biden campaign plans to place a new TV ad targeted to battleground states during the NFL season opener Thursday,” Axios reports.

“The spot is part of a broader $25 million campaign that will focus on the president’s economic record and last through December.”

“During their first showdown, Donald Trump disparaged Joe Biden as ‘a sleepy guy in the basement of a house’ who was barely aware of his surroundings. Now, facing four criminal indictments and gearing up for a 2024 rematch, the former president is changing course to depict his successor as a nefarious mastermind who is pulling the strings of a complex justice system without leaving any fingerprints,” NBC News reports.

 “Marjorie Taylor Greene and Kari Lake have been locked in what one source close to Donald Trump describes to Rolling Stone as a ‘death race’ to become his 2024 vice presidential pick,” Rolling Stone reports.

“In public, the far-right congresswoman from Georgia and the failed Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate are happy to present an image of calm unity in their cause to return Trump to the White House. But behind the scenes, the two view one another with intense distrust and disdain, each seeing the other as direct competition for Trump’s political affections.”

“In an ironic twist, one of the bigger complaints coming from Greene — who years ago cemented her public image as a QAnon-promoting, school-shooting-survivor-mocking, Jewish-Space-Laser-fearing activist — lately is that Lake is not a ‘serious’ enough person to be Trump’s second-in-command.”

“Democrats could gain a seat in the U.S. House and multiple seats in Georgia’s Legislature if a judge rules Republicans drew maps illegally weakening Black voters’ power,” the AP reports.

“The trial beginning Tuesday is part of a wave of litigation progressing after the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year stood behind its interpretation of the Voting Rights Act, rejecting Alabama’s challenge to the law.”

“Chris Christie is running away with support from at least one major voting bloc in his presidential bid,” Politico reports.

“The only problem is it’s among the least important groups in the Republican primary.”

“The former New Jersey governor has seen his popularity soar with Democrats. Whereas Democrats once considered him a bully, a threat and an opportunistic apologist for Donald Trump, they now can’t get enough of his new Trump-bashing persona.”

The author of a new biography of Joe Biden has said it “wouldn’t be a total shock” if the president cancels his re-election bid by the end of the year, The Guardian reports.

Franklin Foer, whose book The Last Politician, said “it doesn’t take Bob Woodward to understand that Joe Biden is old. I’m not a gerontologist, and I can’t predict how the next couple years will age Joe Biden.”

Asked if Biden could drop out of his re-election bid, Foer said: “It would be a surprise to me, but it wouldn’t be a total surprise to me.”

 “Their rivals are busy answering voters’ questions at town halls across South Carolina, glad-handing with business owners in New Hampshire and grinding to hit every one of Iowa’s 99 counties,” the AP reports.

“But the front-runners for their party’s nomination, former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, are barely campaigning in crucial early-voting states as the primary season enters the fall rush.”

A new NMB Research poll in New Hampshire finds Donald Trump leading the GOP presidential race with 47%, followed by Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley each at 10%, and then Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy each at 8%.

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

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