The Political Report – November 18, 2023

Noble Predictive Insights poll in Arizona finds Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) leading a hypothetical three-way U.S. Senate race with 39%, followed by Kari Lake (R) at 33% and incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) at 29%. The data shows that Sinema is pulling more Republican votes from Lake than Democratic votes from Gallego.

“President Biden’s re-election campaign privately has been weighing whether to join the social media platform TikTok to try to reach more young voters,” Axios reports.

“Most Republicans have avoided TikTok over data security concerns because it’s owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, but Democrats are increasingly split about using the popular app for short-form videos.”

“The political group No Labels says it does not take corporate money, but disclosures from several companies indicate it has received corporate donations, including some received as recently as last year,” Sludge reports.

“The full scope of corporate money that has been given to No Labels is unknown, since the 501(c)4 nonprofit advocacy group does not release information about its donors and is not required by law to do so. But glimpses of corporate donors to No Labels can be seen in companies’ voluntary political disclosures.”

“Nikki Haley’s strong performances in the Republican presidential debates have won over several of the party’s big donors and intrigued other Wall Street figures this week, as she swung through New York seeking moneyed backers who want an alternative to Donald Trump,” the Financial Times reports.

“The former US ambassador to the UN drew big names to New York events on Tuesday, among them a small meet-and-greet breakfast with financiers including BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink, and an evening fundraiser co-hosted by former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn.”

“Billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller, traditionally a big GOP donor, announced his support on Monday and New York-based donor Eric Levine said he would host a fundraiser for Haley in early December with Elliott Management executive Terry Kassel and Annie Dickerson, who has close ties with Elliott president Paul Singer.”

Billionaire Citadel CEO Ken Griffin is “actively contemplating” financially supporting former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in the Republican primary for president, CNBC reports.

Said Griffin: “That’s a decision that we’re actively contemplating. I mean, we are at the finish line on that choice. Yes or no.”

Spencer Zwick, the money maestro for Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) 2012 presidential bid, is joining Nikki Haley’s 2024 fundraising team, Axios reports.

William Saletan: “In the Republican presidential race, the two men who stoutly advocated a federal ban on abortions—Mike Pence and Tim Scott—are gone. The candidates who remain on the debate stage or who don’t need it—Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Donald Trump—are hedging or downplaying the issue.”

“They still call themselves pro-life. But they’re finding ways to pretend that they’re not a threat to abortion rights.”

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign has launched its second TV ad in Iowa,” KCCI reports.

“The 30-second ad includes a video of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaking to crowds in Des Moines last week when she officially endorsed DeSantis.”

“New York’s top court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case that will determine whether the Democratic-dominated state Legislature ill have another chance to draw maps for its 26-member congressional delegation,” Politico reports.

Nikki Haley told CNBC that Donald Trump should not be re-elected because “chaos follows him everywhere he goes.”

Said Haley: “Chaos follows him. And in a time where we need to start getting our act together, do we really want to go that route? I don’t think we do.”

But she added: “I’ll support the Republican nominee. I mean, I think that’s important that we support the Republican nominee because I think anybody is better than Kamala Harris at this point.”

“President Joe Biden’s campaign is mulling a significant change in its digital fundraising operation, testing alternatives to ActBlue, the powerhouse behind much of the Democratic Party’s small-dollar operation that blossomed during Donald Trump’s tenure,” Politico reports.

“One reason the Biden team is considering the switch is to look for ways to lower the cost of processing what will likely be the hundreds of millions of small-dollar donations that flow to the president’s campaign. The approach is in line with the campaign’s well-established frugality but also comes amid broader Democratic grumbling about the fees that ActBlue charges.”

“Former President Trump’s team is trying to build on the GOP’s recent gains among Latinos with a strategy in Florida that’s aimed at voters of Cuban, Venezuelan and Colombian descent — and that casts Trump as a victim of overzealous socialists,” Axios reports.

“Trump’s efforts to liken his legal woes and his clashes with Democrats to the difficulties many Latin Americans have faced under socialist and authoritarian rule represent a turn in his push to appeal to the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. electorate.”

“Democrats are planning to spend millions of dollars next year on just a few state legislative elections in Kansas, North Carolina, Kentucky and Wisconsin — states where they have little to no chance of winning control of a chamber,” the New York Times reports.

“Yet what might appear to be an aimless move is decidedly strategic: Democrats are pushing to break up Republican supermajorities in states with Democratic governors, effectively battling to win back the veto pen district by district. Such supermajorities result when a single political party has enough votes in both chambers of a legislature to override a governor’s veto, often, though not always, by controlling two-thirds of the chamber.”

“The extraordinary political dissonance of having a governor of one party and a supermajority of an opposing party in the legislature is one of the starkest effects of gerrymandering, revealing how parties cling to evaporating power.”

“President Biden’s re-election team has spent more than $50 million on TV and digital ads in swing states this year — and next to nothing on local organizers to begin reaching voters in person,” Axios reports.

“The ad-heavy strategy — with unprecedented spending by an incumbent this early — is a departure from Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, which invested millions assembling an army of organizers in swing states to contact voters up to 18 months before that election.”

“Biden’s team is focused on the idea that Americans are online and on their phones more than ever — and that meeting people there is just as important as meeting them on their doorstep.”

“After their big wins in Virginia last week, Democrats are signaling they will use the strategy adopted there as a model for down-ballot races in 2024,” Time reports.

“In a memo to top donors… the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which focuses on state legislative races, credits its early focus on abortion rights in Virginia as a critical factor in helping the party retain control of the State Senate and flip the State House, thwarting a high-profile effort by Gov. Glenn Youngkin to ban abortion in most cases after 15 weeks in the state. The memo signals that the committee plans to position state-level races next year as part of a national fight to preserve Americans’ freedoms.”

“Priorities USA, one of the biggest liberal super PACs, will not run a single television advertisement in the 2024 election cycle,” the New York Times reports.

“Instead, the group announced Tuesday, Priorities USA is reshaping itself as a digital political strategy operation, the culmination of a yearslong transition from its supporting role in presidential campaigns to a full-service communications, research and training behemoth for Democrats up and down the ballot.”

“The move reflects a broad shift in media consumption over the past decade, away from traditional broadcast outlets and toward a fragmented online world.”

Rolling Stone: “In 2020, campaigning at the height of the global pandemic, the Biden campaign leaned heavily on influencers to reach young voters. Republican rivals called it a cop out — they said Biden was “hiding in his basement” — but it was hard to argue with the results of that social media-intensive strategy: Biden won voters under the age of 29 by a 26-point margin.”

“In 2024, the Biden campaign is doubling down, with plans to add even more than the roughly two dozen staffers who worked on the campaign’s influencer program in 2020. But this time around, there are real questions about whether that strategy will work: handpicked influencers that have been on the receiving end of overtures from the administration are noticing increased criticism of Joe Biden among their followers — particularly as it relates to the president’s handling of the crisis in Gaza — and some influencers courted by the White House are strongly considering backing alternative candidates in 2024.”

“Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has amassed support from the 80,000 donors needed to qualify for the fourth Republican presidential debate in December, as he pushes to remain on the stage even while one of his rivals from last week’s debate, Sen. Tim Scott, just suspended his campaign,” NBC News reports.

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “A flurry of other retirements across the board haven’t pushed us to reconsider other ratings, though some primaries may be consequential.”

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2 comments on “The Political Report – November 18, 2023

  1. cassandram

    The focus on Haley and her chances really interests me. I get the horserace business that is trying to get ahead of what voters will actually choose, but there is an element of this reporting and punditry from the Never Trumper crowd that seems to want to cast her as the R party’s savior from Trump and Trumpism. Haley’s policy positions are uniformly bad, and follow the theme of “the cruelty is the point”, which means she would be horrible for the US. But you can see that the Never Trumpers haven’t lost their fundamental allegiance to corporations and hurting as many Americans as they can.

  2. cassandram

    Also interesting and REALLY alarming is how integral to the horserace reporting is noting what money players are in the game, for who and for how much. It’s as though the people who come to the polls are an afterthought here.

    And a strong signal to me that we REALLY need to tax these people more. ALOT more.

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