The Political Report – September 14, 2023

A new Iowa State University poll finds Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential field with 51%, followed by Ron DeSantis at 14%, Nikki Haley at 10% and Vivek Ramaswamy at 9%.

A new Emerson College Polling survey in Iowa finds Donald Trump with 49% support in the Republican caucus, followed by Ron DeSantis with 14%, Tim Scott with 8%, Nikki Haley at 7%, and Vivek Ramaswamy at 7%.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) “was escorted out of a Sunday night performance of the Beetlejuice musical in downtown Denver, accused by venue officials of vaping, singing, recording and ‘causing a disturbance’ during the performance,” the Denver Post reports.

Politico: “It’s no accident that Boebert’s profile in her home state these days is diverging from the Freedom Caucus rabble-rouser she’s known as on the Hill. After squeaking through a recount to a second term last fall against Democrat Adam Frisch — Boebert won by just 546 votes — it became clear that her rhetorical bomb-throwing was wearing on GOP voters.”

“Boebert is hardly the only member projecting a different version of herself in the Capitol than she does back home. But her embrace of a political split personality illustrates the limits of raucous Trump-first conservatism in a competitive district. Her Freedom Caucus stardom hasn’t immunized her from the risk of playing more to the GOP base than voters back home.”

DESANTIS 2024. “A quiet lobbying fight between backers of Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis is breaking out over a push from the former president’s supporters to get the Florida GOP to scrap a loyalty oath requirement supported by the governor,” NBC News reports.

“If Trump allies are successful in getting the state Republican Party to vote against DeSantis’ political wishes, some of his supporters are concerned it will send a signal that even Florida Republicans who have been steadfastly loyal to their governor are abandoning his presidential campaign, which continues to trail Trump’s by significant margins in the polls.”

BIDEN 2024. “President Joe Biden’s reelection team is escalating its fundraising efforts, salting away cash as Republicans battle over whether Donald Trump should be their standard-bearer next year,” Bloomberg reports.

“Biden will headline at least nine fundraisers before month’s end.”

“President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign is expanding its fundraising strategy to try to boost contributions in the coming weeks and over the longer term, as officials acknowledge that small-dollar donations have been slower to materialize,” NBC News reports.

“The new phase coincides with campaign officials’ privately downplaying expectations for how much the re-election effort will raise during the current fundraising quarter, which ends Sept. 30.”

“To increase fundraising numbers in the run-up to the deadline, the campaign plans to roll out fresh incentives and messaging that officials hope will energize donors, including a stronger focus on the notion that former President Donald Trump and his allies are a threat to democracy.”

“The Biden re-election campaign is deploying Vice President Kamala Harris to Chicago on Wednesday afternoon for a donor retreat, where she’ll seek to motivate deep-pocketed supporters to act with more urgency — without panicking,” Axios reports.

David Ignatius: “What I admire most about President Biden is that in a polarized nation, he has governed from the center out, as he promised in his victory speech. With an unexpectedly steady hand, he passed some of the most important domestic legislation in recent decades. In foreign policy, he managed the delicate balance of helping Ukraine fight Russia without getting America itself into a war. In sum, he has been a successful and effective president.”

“But I don’t think Biden and Vice President Harris should run for reelection. It’s painful to say that, given my admiration for much of what they have accomplished. But if he and Harris campaign together in 2024, I think Biden risks undoing his greatest achievement — which was stopping Trump.”

Biden has called David Ignatius his “favorite columnist.”

Wall Street Journal: “These octogenarian voters are among nearly a dozen Americans born the same day as the president that The Wall Street Journal interviewed. They are uniquely suited to answer one of the biggest questions hanging over the 2024 election: Is Biden too old to run again?”

“Most said no. But they were candid about the risks of aging in the years to come.”

Sidney Blumenthal: “It is the Democrats who pull Biden underwater. They see his physical faults and shudder at his political fall. He is 80, his hair thinned, his gait slower and more careful. He is not eloquent. The slight hesitation of the stutter he overcame as a child seems occasionally to return. He is not Mick Jagger strutting at 80. The intensity of concern among Democrats about Biden is in direct proportion to their panic about Trump. They see in his fragility their own predicament. He is the screen on which they project their anxiety, insecurity and fear. They suffer from a crisis of bad nerves.”

“The Democrats’ withholding creates a self-fulfilling prophesy. Spooked by the shadow of Trump, they react with disapproval of Biden, whose numbers are stagnant, flashing the sign that makes them more frightened. They do not censure Biden or dislike him. But they hope for a counter-factual scenario. There is none.”

Jonathan Chait: “It seems clear enough that Joe Biden is up to the job of being president. The economy is booming, especially for the poor and working class; he has signed more bipartisan legislation (on infrastructure, guns, and domestic manufacturing) than anybody expected; and he has held together the western alliance while maintaining a dogged defense of Ukraine’s sovereignty after Russia expected to swallow up its smaller neighbor.”

“But whether Biden is up to the task of running for president is another matter. The national polls show a virtual tie with Biden leading Donald Trump, on average, by less than a point. Since the Electoral College has given Trump a substantial edge in each of the past two elections, it seems as though Biden needs much more than that. He won by 4.4 percentage points in 2020, and had he performed just over half a point worse, Trump probably wouldn’t have even needed to try to steal a second term.”

YOUNGKIN 2024. Financial Times: “The yearning for Youngkin is a sign of the donor dilemma: for some deep-pocketed Republicans, no single, compelling alternative to Trump has emerged in the primary. And while the billionaires want to see such a candidate break from the pack before giving, the candidates need the money first to help them make that break.”

Said one adviser to a donor: “Is Trump beatable? Yes, but the first step is the field consolidating. Without consolidation, there’s not a viable path.”

“Several big GOP donors — from billionaire hedge fund bosses such as Paul Singer and Ken Griffin, to Miriam Adelson, the wife of the late casino emperor Sheldon Adelson — are now on the sidelines. Peter Thiel, who gave $35mn to two Senate candidates in 2022, ‘does not plan to donate to any 2024 race’, said a person familiar with his thinking.”

SCOTT 2024. Ben Terris: “I wasn’t interested in laundering innuendos for this Republican operative. At the same time, the whole exchange left me intrigued about how voter interest (or lack thereof) in Scott’s love life (or lack thereof) might illuminate the politics of marriage, family and masculinity in today’s GOP. Donald Trump scrambled the values of the ‘family values’ party to such a degree that the base kept loving him despite the “locker-room talk” about grabbing women and the allegation — which Trump denies — that he had cheated on his third wife with a porn star.”

“And yet, for all the conventional wisdom that went out the door when Trump walked in, a long-held belief persists: that the absence of a wife and kids would make voters uneasy, especially the kind who vote in Republican primaries. Was that still true?”

He finally asked Scott in an interview: “He wouldn’t tell me her name, and the campaign declined to make her available to chat, even off the record. Technically I can’t verify that she exists, except to note that for a presidential campaign to essentially reverse-catfish America would be insane.”

Jonathan Last: “Looking at the Republican field today, it is startling how significantly Trump has changed most of the Good Republicans.”

“Tim Scott has pledged to fire the FBI director on the first day of his presidency, shattering the design of the agency. FBI directors are appointed to 10-year terms specifically so that they will span presidential administrations and be firewalled from partisanship.”

“What is Tim Scott’s justification for wanting to fire Christopher Wray? Because Trump has declared Wray haram. That’s literally the only reason. If Trump hadn’t said anything about firing Wray, then Tim Scott wouldn’t have dreamed of making Wray’s promised firing a pillar of his campaign.”

“And so, Tim Scott’s efforts to remain on the same team have corrupted his entire approach to government and the rule of law.”

Susanna Gibson (D), who is running for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates and had sex with her husband in live videos posted on a pornographic website, called the exposure of the videos “the worst gutter politics,” CBS News reports.

Said Gibson: “It won’t intimidate me and it won’t silence me. My political opponents and their Republican allies have proven they’re willing to commit a sex crime to attack me and my family because there’s no line they won’t cross to silence women when they speak up.”

Gibson’s attorney said that disseminating the videos is a violation of Virginia’s revenge porn law, which makes it a crime to “maliciously” disseminate or sell nude or sexual images of another person with the intent to “coerce, harass, or intimidate.”

“A Democrat running for a crucial seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates performed sex acts with her husband for a live online audience and encouraged viewers to pay them with ‘tips’ for specific requests,” the Washington Post reports.

“Susanna Gibson, a nurse practitioner and mother of two young children running in a highly competitive suburban Richmond district, streamed sex acts on Chaturbate.”

RAMASWAMY 2024. Semafor: “Throughout the campaign, Ramaswamy has embraced a flood-the-zone media strategy, pushing for appearances on cable news networks and saying yes to virtually every media invite, no matter how controversial.”

“His podcast flips the formula, with Ramaswamy serving as the host, questioning a roster of well-known conservative figures.”

“Andrew Yang, the former Democratic presidential candidate and one-time New York City mayoral hopeful, has had talks with centrist third party organization No Labels about its third-party presidential bid,” Politico reports.

“Virginia, whose off-year elections are usually closely watched as an indicator of the national mood, has been mostly out of the spotlight this year, overshadowed by the Republican presidential primary and the looming general election clash,” the New York Times reports.

“But with every seat in the Legislature up in eight weeks, the stakes are unusually high, with Republicans in position to swing the entire state, just four years after Democrats did the same. The effort, led by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a popular Republican with national ambitions, is likely to serve as an early read on the politics of 2024, spinning out lessons for both parties, especially on abortion.”

“Democrats have made abortion rights their top issue, warning that if Republicans win full control of the General Assembly, then Virginia will join other Southern states by sharply restricting abortion access.”

“The fundamentals of the 2024 campaign are still taking shape, but one thing is already clear: A flurry of court actions might cost Republicans the House majority,” Politico reports.

“In the past nine days, state and federal judges threw out two congressional maps — and helped Democrats avoid a worst-case scenario in Ohio — kicking off an unusually busy redistricting calendar heading into the election year.”

“All told, a dozen or more seats across at least six states could be redrawn, increasing the likelihood Democrats could chip away the five-seat GOP House majority through redistricting alone.”

“The biggest GOP showdown in California this month might not be the second presidential primary debate, scheduled to be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library,” NBC News reports.

“Instead, it looks as if it will take place behind the scenes at the state Republican Party’s convention days later, as allies of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump signal they are preparing to fight over the state party’s new delegate rules — a battle with major implications for the important Super Tuesday contest.”

“While AIPAC has indicated that it is weighing a more aggressive approach to challenging anti-Israel incumbents this election cycle, the pro-Israel group is facing some early complications as several of its favored House recruits remain undecided about running,” Jewish Insider reports.

“Meanwhile, in a couple of pivotal races involving Squad members, the field of challengers is growing, potentially reducing the chances for an upset.”

CHRISTIE 2024. “You think I’m going to have a hard time finding Donald Trump? You think that over the course of the next couple of months, I’m not going to find him and confront him someplace? I was a prosecutor for seven years. It was my job to find people and confront them. Don’t worry about it. I’ll find him.” — Chris Christie, at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, suggesting Trump is hiding “behind the walls of private clubs and Secret Service protection.”

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

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