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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Friday, June 9, 2023

“As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t.”

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the partiesThe state of the GOP is not good. 

Paula Reid and Jeremy Herb at CNN:
Former President Donald Trump acknowledged on tape in a 2021 meeting that he had retained “secret” military information that he had not declassified, according to a transcript of the audio recording obtained by CNN.

“As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t,” Trump says, according to the transcript.

CNN obtained the transcript of a portion of the meeting where Trump is discussing a classified Pentagon document about attacking Iran. In the audio recording, which CNN previously reported was obtained by prosecutors, Trump says that he did not declassify the document he’s referencing, according to the transcript.

Trump was indicted Thursday on seven counts in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the mishandling of classified documents. Details from the indictment have not been made public, so it unknown whether any of the seven counts refer to the recorded 2021 meeting. Still, the tape is significant because it shows that Trump had an understanding the records he had with him at Mar-a-Lago after he left the White House remained classified.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

The War on the Floor, 2023

 Melanie Zanona and Manu Raju at CNN:
A conservative revolt paralyzing the House has set off a bitter blame game among the upper ranks of GOP leadership, with top Republicans scrambling to defuse internal tensions that have spilled out into public view – and take some of the heat off themselves.

Privately, allies of Speaker Kevin McCarthy have directed their frustration at his top deputy, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, for Tuesday’s surprise floor defeat when a band of Republicans tanked a procedural vote on a GOP messaging bill – a move that has halted all action in the House and showed the limits of the speaker’s power in his narrow majority.

McCarthy’s allies say there’s a reason for the current standoff: Scalise mishandled a demand by a conservative hardliner, Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, for a vote on a bill to loosen a gun regulation. And they thought Scalise should have just apologized to Clyde before it grew into a bigger problem with more members coming forward with their own list of demands and grievances.

But Scalise’s allies believe it falls on McCarthy, whose deal-cutting with President Joe Biden to suspend the debt limit prompted accusations from the far-right that he violated the terms of his January agreement to become speaker. Scalise did not play a role in either of those deals.

In 1997, Bill Connelly and I wrote of another House GOP civil war

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The GOP Field

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The early stages of the 2024 race have begun.

Will a divided primary field help Trump as it did in 2016?  Nate Cohn at NYT

With Mike Pence and Chris Christie bringing the field up to 10 candidates this week, it’s easy to wonder whether the same conditions might be falling into place again. Despite high hopes at the start of the year, Ron DeSantis has failed to consolidate Trump-skeptic voters and donors alike. Now, the likes of Mr. Pence and Mr. Christie — as well as Tim Scott and Nikki Haley — are in the fray and threatening to leave the Trump opposition hopelessly divided, as it was seven years ago.

In the end, Mr. Pence or Mr. Christie might well break out and leave the opposition to Mr. Trump as fractured as it was in 2016. But it’s worth noting that, so far, the opposition to Mr. Trump has been far more unified than it ever was back then. It’s not 2016, at least not yet.

So far this cycle, polls have consistently shown Mr. DeSantis with the support of a majority of Republican voters who don’t support Mr. Trump. Nothing like this happened in that past primary, when at various points five different candidates could claim to be the strongest “not-Trump” candidate, and none came even close to consolidating so much of the opposition to Mr. Trump. Ted Cruz got there eventually, but only after a majority of delegates had been awarded and it was down to him and John Kasich.

Morning Consult:

  • DeSantis’ support is stagnant after launch: DeSantis trails Trump by 34 percentage points among GOP primary voters (22% to 56%), similar to his standing before he launched his campaign on May 24. A fourth of potential primary voters reported hearing something negative about DeSantis over the past week, the highest share since tracking began in late November.
  • Pence, Christie enter the 2024 race with meager support: Former Vice President Mike Pence, who filed paperwork to seek the GOP’s 2024 nod, is backed by 7% of potential Republican primary voters, similar to his standing since tracking began in December. Just 1% of the party’s prospective electorate supports former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in advance of his campaign launch.
  • Few primary voters know who Burgum is: Roughly 4 in 5 potential GOP voters (78%) have either never heard of or formed no opinion about North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who is expected to launch a presidential campaign this week.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023


Monday, June 5, 2023

GOP Ground Game Grifting

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the partiesThe state of the GOP is not good. 

Allan Smith at NBC:

The large-scale voter contact effort that conservatives have put at the center of their political operations in recent years is plagued with issues, according to more than a dozen people who’ve worked in GOP-aligned field operations and internal data obtained by NBC News. Those issues include fraudulent and untrustworthy data entries, akin to what occurred in Nevada, as well as allegations of lax hiring practices and a lack of accountability. 

Though Democrats deal with some of the same door-knocking challenges, the party has built-in advantages for in-person canvassing, according to interviews with two Democratic canvassing veterans as well as with Republicans with similar experience. They include a more ready supply of younger volunteers, allies in organized labor offering union workers to hit the doors and a base of supporters who are more tightly concentrated in urban and dense suburban areas where canvassers can hit a lot more doors in a lot less time.


Canvassers once went around with clipboards and paper, checking off houses along the way. Now, canvassers are largely expected to tick off doors in real time via smartphone apps equipped with geotracking, a core fraud-prevention capability. Canvassing experts say there are some valid reasons to still use paper on a small scale, but those types of entries make it more difficult to ensure that a canvasser was physically knocking on a door.

A high volume of paper, these experts said, would be cause for concern — as appears to be the case last year in Georgia’s general election.

Two field staffers who worked for Georgia Victory, a ground-game operation jointly overseen by the RNC and the state Republican Party, said that as November neared, they became increasingly alarmed by the unusually high volume of paper entries. The operation used the app Campaign Sidekick, a Republican-aligned data platform that includes geotracking technology.


In recent cycles, Republicans have become more and more dependent on paid canvassing facilitated by outside consultants. While a welcome resource, paid door-knockers, who are often flown in from out of state, are sometimes minimally vetted in order to be deployed quickly, multiple sources said. Consulting outfits may take on jobs only to subcontract them out to other firms, creating an unwieldy patchwork that’s difficult to police. Eight sources said this system may make the data that campaigns are getting about potential voters less reliable.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

DeSantis Money

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses campaign finance.

Shane Goldmacher at NYT:
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida made a splash when he announced that he had raised a record $8.2 million in his first 24 hours as a presidential candidate. New figures disclosed by the campaign reveal that he relied heavily on larger contributors to set that record.

The DeSantis campaign said it had around 40,000 donors in May as “we raised over” $8.2 million, according to text messages and emails to supporters asking for more donations. That works out to an average of more than $200 per donor — a figure far higher than is typical for a campaign heavily funded by grass-roots support. By comparison, Senator Bernie Sanders, who was a Democratic online fund-raising powerhouse, raised $5.9 million in his first 24 hours in 2019 — but from 223,000 donors, for an average donation of around $26.

How a campaign raises money matters. Because of strict campaign contribution limits of $3,300 per person for the primary, campaigns that raise money chiefly from bigger contributors cannot return to those same donors again and again for support.

Small contributors are particularly valuable because they can give $30 more than 100 times before bumping up against contribution caps.

Tim Tagaris, a Democratic digital strategist who oversaw the Sanders fund-raising operation in 2020, called the number of DeSantis donors surprisingly small.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Turmout 2022

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections

William H. Frey at Brookings:

What these analyses [of the 2022 midterm] did not provide, however, was a detailed examination of turnout rates—the percent of eligible voters who voted—associated with these groups. But now, new Census Bureau data from the Current Population Survey’s Voting and Registration supplement provides this information for the 2022 election, and can be analyzed along with a similar data product from earlier elections.[1]

Perhaps the most notable finding with respect to voter turnout is that 2022 turnout rates were nearly as high as the record-setting 2018 midterm turnout rates. Yet unlike the previous midterm elections, the groups with the highest Democratic voting margins—in particular, young people, Black Americans, women, and white female college graduates—did not show greater turnout increases than other groups, and often displayed lower turnout rates than in the 2018 midterms. These groups displayed higher turnout rates than in the low-turnout 2014 midterms, but either did not match or did not improve on their 2018 turnout levels. And only a minority of states registered turnout increases between 2018 and 2022, while an even smaller number showed increases among young and nonwhite voters.