The Political Report – September 17, 2023

AP-NORC poll: “Three-quarters of Americans, or 76%, favor allowing the federal health care program for the elderly to negotiate prices for certain prescription drugs. That includes strong majorities of Democrats (86%) and Republicans (66%)… About one in five Americans are neutral on the issue, while 6% outright oppose it.”

“But the same poll shows Biden’s approval rating, at 40%, is about where it’s been for the last year. Americans are split on how Biden is handling the issue of prescription drug prices — 48% approve, making it a relative strong point for Biden, but 50% disapprove.”

Josh Marshall: “it occurs to me that I’ve written the ‘Biden ain’t stepping aside so just suck it up and move on’ post a few times. But I left something out.

You getting all angsty about Biden’s age and worrying about it and coming back to it – you’re the problem. You need to grow up. I mean this not in an intemperate or judgmental spirit but in one of kindness and compassion. But seriously, you need to grow up.

A lot of Democrats are demoralized in significant measure because Biden’s approval numbers are stuck in the low 40s. You know a really big reason he’s stuck in the low 40s? Because a sizable fraction of Democrats are anti-Trump and scared of Trump and just not feeling that Biden is being the non-Trump well enough. There’s a significant amount of Democratic disapproval of Biden over that, and thus a big notch of overall disapproval for the same reason.

Republicans are rallying around their guy because they’re Republicans and Democrats are perseverating about whether their cousin in Atlanta and their friends at work think Biden walks like he’s old so they’re going to vote for Trump.

Seriously. Biden’s the President. He’s running for reelection. He’ll be President or Trump will. Rally around the candidate who you prefer.”

Jonathan Chait: “The election is more than a year away, and Biden’s polling might improve. Another 14 months of surging wages and declining inflation could give his campaign the ‘Morning in America‘ feel it has thus far lacked. On the other hand, if the economy sputters, or if Biden suffers a health setback that reinforces the public’s already serious doubts about his fitness, it could get even worse. For an incumbent presiding over peace and prosperity to be effectively trailing an indicted felon feels terrifying. And it undercuts one of the central rationales of both Biden’s 2020 run and his reelection campaign: that he is best positioned in the Democratic field to stave off the threat of a second Trump term.”

“The strangest thing about this harrowing circumstance is that no mainstream Democrat is challenging Biden for the nomination. The hunger for such a challenge certainly exists: A CNN poll finds two-thirds of Democrats want their party to nominate somebody else. There isn’t much mystery as to why. The same poll asked Democrats what concerns they may have about Biden and found that two-thirds cited his age, his health, his mental sharpness, or his vice-president, all of which amount to the same thing. The demand for a different option is robust. What is mystifyingly absent is the supply.”

David Von Drehle: Democrats are crazy to insist only Biden can beat Trump.

Aftyn Behn (D) beat David Hooven (R) in a special election for the Tennessee state House, the Tennessean reports.

Daily Kos notes Behn outperformed 2020 results by nine percentage points.

In special elections so far this year, Democrats are outperforming by an average of 7.4 percentage points.

“Former President Donald Trump is set to deliver a pair of headline speeches Friday night at two socially conservative Christian groups’ gatherings in Washington, D.C., his first trip to the nation’s capital since his criminal arraignment last month,” CNBC reports.

“Trump’s top Republican rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, is also scheduled to speak at the two summits hosted by the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee and the Family Research Council.”

“The women’s group, which espouses staunch opposition to abortion, gay marriage and a progressive view of transgender rights, bills itself as the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization. The Family Research Council takes a similarly hard-line tack on social issues.”

TRUMP 2024. Donald Trump said Thursday that former First Lady Melania Trump may be back on the campaign trail with him “pretty soon,” NBC News reports.

Said Trump: “Yeah, pretty soon. When it’s appropriate, but pretty soon. She’s a private person, a great person, a very confident person and she loves our country very much.”

He added: “And honestly, I like to keep her away from it. It’s so nasty and so mean.”

Politico: “In a state that built its political identity as a presidential proving ground, Donald Trump’s commanding lead in the GOP primary is turning the 2024 campaign on its head. It pains Granite Staters to say it. But from the back rows of town halls to the vinyl booths of the state’s famed diners, New Hampshire voters are starting to give voice to a new reality — and a growing fear among the former president’s critics — that their vetting is no longer truly for the top of the ticket.”

“The Republican activists and politically curious who turn out for campaign events in the first primary state are now grading candidates on a lower curve — as the person next in line should Trump implode, or, more realistically at this juncture, as his running mate.”

SECOND RNC DEBATE. Politico: “Eight candidates participated in the first debate last month. With only a week and a half left to qualify, two are still hunting for an invitation to the second on Sept. 27.”

“And there are signs that the debates after that could see the number of participants contract considerably.”

“The candidates whose participation in future debates is most in doubt are scrambling to influence the qualifications ahead of any announcement. The campaign manager for Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) sent a letter to the Republican National Committee this week asking for an overhaul of the criteria — without which the South Carolina senator could find himself booted from the stage for the third debate. The same fate could also befall former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.”

THIRD RNC DEBATE. “Former President Donald Trump is pushing the Republican National Committee to change the venue for the third GOP presidential debate with a tease that he may attend,” The Messenger reports.

“Trump has been negotiating directly with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel over the terms of what it would take for him to show up on a debate stage.”

“The third debate is set to be held in Miami, three Republicans familiar with the discussions told The Messenger on Thursday – not Alabama as had been previously reported. Two Republicans familiar with the discussions said NBC is being considered to host the debate.”

DESANTIS 2024. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized Donald Trump for claiming he doesn’t know who gave Dr. Anthony Fauci a presidential commendation that the former president awarded him,” CNN reports.

Said DeSantis: “It literally says President Trump awards commendation. Is this the immaculate commendation or something like that? Did this just happen out of thin air?”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “took at least six undisclosed trips on private jets and accepted lodging and dining in late 2018… that reflect his proclivity for luxury travel and leisure time with wealthy donors,” the Washington Post reports.

“Ron DeSantis said Donald Trump is unlikely to be elected president again if convicted in any of the four criminal cases he faces,” the AP reports.

Said DeSantis: “I didn’t think even before all this that the president, the former president, should have run again. There’s too many voters, who, he’s a dealbreaker for them.”

He added: “I think the chance of getting elected after being convicted of a felony is as close to zero as you can get.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis told CBS News that he would send the U.S. military to the southern border if elected president and allow them to deploy deadly force against Mexican drug cartel members.

“The latest contest between former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida came down to a loyalty pledge. And Florida Republicans on Friday evening chose Trump,” Politico reports.

“Top officials in the Republican Party of Florida, under pressure from Trump supporters, voted to remove a provision in its state bylaws that required any candidate seeking to be on the March 19 presidential primary ballot to pledge loyalty to the eventual GOP nominee.”

RAMASWAMY 2024. Wall Street Journal: “Ramaswamy is among the youngest candidates ever to run for president, and he’s doing it in an election where both parties’ leading contenders would be the oldest nominees in U.S.history. The distinction has both helped him stand out in a crowded GOP field and emerged as a liability at a time when voters and Republican party leaders are giving his candidacy more scrutiny.”

“The critique of inexperience is familiar to the long list of young contenders who have challenged establishment orthodoxy in recent presidential elections.”

“Vivek Ramaswamy, the Republican presidential candidate whose strident and sometimes unrealistic proposals have helped him stand out in the crowded primary field, said in a policy speech on Wednesday that he would fire more than 75 percent of the federal work force and shutter several major agencies,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Ramaswamy also claimed he could make the changes unilaterally if he were to be elected president, putting forward a sweeping theory that the executive wields the power to restructure the federal government on his own and does not need to submit such proposals to Congress for approval.”

SCOTT 2024. “Sen. Tim Scott’s campaign is pushing the Republican Party to change the qualifying and podium placement rules for the upcoming GOP presidential debates, calling for more emphasis on polls in early voting states rather than national polls,” Axios reports.

“Qualifying for the third debate will be critical for every campaign — and being closer to the center of the stage often correlates with more speaking time, as it largely did in the first debate last month.”

NORTH CAROLINA. Politico: “At 25 years old, Anderson Clayton could pass for a college student. The North Carolina Democratic Party chair’s persona is reinforced by the bag slung over the shoulder, her colorful overalls and bright yellow Croc sandals, the half-consumed Venti iced coffee in her hand, and the youthful southern drawl with which she speaks.”

“But she’s not a student. She’s the linchpin for Democrats winning over her state. And a lot of pressure is now falling on her after she ousted a 73-year-old-incumbent with the backing of a number of top state Democrats earlier this year.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE. “New Hampshire Democrats are furious about a plan from the Democratic National Committee — one that could take another formal step forward Thursday — that would effectively relegate the state’s nominating contest to a symbolic event in which President Joe Biden’s name might not even appear on the ballot,” the Miami Herald reports.

“They’re planning to rally support for Biden anyway.”

“Despite deep frustrations about losing their traditional place as as the first-in-the-nation primary, a loose collection of Granite State Democrats is moving ahead with an effort to persuade rank-and-file New Hampshire voters to vote for Biden during next year’s contest, even if they have to physically write in the president’s name on the ballot.”

Bloomberg: “Spending on political advertising is estimated to reach a record $10.2 billion in the 2024 cycle, according to new projections from AdImpact, which tracks and analyzes spending. Local television stations are projected to rake in half — $5.1 billion — of that amount, maintaining their advertising dominance in an increasingly competitive media landscape.”

“Television consumption has changed drastically in recent years as more consumers are opting to ditch costly cable subscriptions in favor of a la carte streaming services, depriving local stations of revenue. Still, local broadcast station owners, including Nexstar Media Group Inc. and Hearst Television Inc., remain the biggest beneficiaries of political group spending.”

CHRISTIE 2024. “In his against-all-odds pursuit of the Republican presidential nomination, former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has campaigned almost exclusively in New Hampshire: More than 90 percent of his events since February have been in the Granite State,” the New York Times reports.

“To hear Mr. Christie tell it, New Hampshire is his do-or-die state. If he doesn’t perform well here, that will probably be it.”

Said Christie: “I can’t see myself leaving the race under any circumstances before New Hampshire. If I don’t do well in New Hampshire, then I’ll leave.”

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

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