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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Weird DeSantis Ad

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The early stages of the 2024 race have begun.  And DeSantis is off to a shaky start: he is stumbling and Trump is attacking. 

Saturday, April 29, 2023

DeSantis Slipping

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The early stages of the 2024 race have begun.  And DeSantis is off to a shaky start: he is stumbling and Trump is attacking.

Natasha Korecki and Matt Dixon at NBC:

As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis prepares to jump into the presidential race, a growing number of supporters say he is sorely in need of a change in strategy if he’s to have any chance of defeating Donald Trump for the GOP nomination. 

They point to his drop in the polls, his lack of outreach to potential supporters who have instead backed Trump and the policy issues he has focused on. He’s spending his time battling one of the largest employers in the state, moving to the right on abortion and cleaning up verbal missteps on the war in Ukraine. 

But inside DeSantis world, there’s no plan for a course correction on messaging or a broad strategy that puts culture wars front and center. 

 At Politico, Stefan Boscia reports on his "trade mission" to London:

One U.K. business figure said DeSantis “looked bored” and “stared at his feet” as he met with titans of British industry in an event co-hosted by Lloyd’s of London — the world’s largest insurance marketplace.

“He had been to five different countries in five days and he definitely looked spent, but his message wasn’t presidential,” they told POLITICO. “He was horrendous.”

A second business figure who was in the room said it was a “low-wattage” performance and that “nobody in the room was left thinking, ‘this man’s going places’.”

Alex Isenstadt and Natalie Allison at Politico:

Never Back Down, the pro-DeSantis group, is now running an ad online attacking Haley, has polled Twitter users on a new nickname for her, and accused her in a tweet of “trying really hard to audition” to be Trump’s vice presidential pick.

The move suggested a shifting dynamic in the contest: With DeSantis falling further behind Trump in national and early-state surveys, his allied super PAC is trying to ensure that the primary remains a two-way race and that other candidates vying to be the Trump alternative do not gain traction.

“This is the DeSantis team acknowledging that he is closer to the field than he is to President Trump,” said Justin Clark, a Republican strategist who was Trump’s 2020 deputy campaign manager but who isn’t involved in a 2024 presidential campaign.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

GOP Debt Bill

Politico Huddle:
After House Republicans barely passed their debt bill, House Democrats are getting ready to pull out the playbook that worked for them in 2018 to win back the majority in 2024.

In those midterm elections, Democrats hammered Republicans over tough votes that swing seat lawmakers made on repealing Obamacare and enacting tax cuts. This time, Democrats think they’ll be able to hitch vulnerable Republicans to Wednesday’s vote pairing a debt limit hike with spending cuts.

“I think the American people are pretty upset with what's happening, and they want to see governance work, and Republicans are going to be held accountable for not governing,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) said in an interview.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) set the tone at the beginning of the week, privately telling Democrats in a leadership meeting that the debt vote could be framed to the American people in the same way liberals responded to Republican efforts to privatize Social Security, repeal Obamacare and pass the 2017 tax cut package, according to a person familiar with his remarks.

“We're focused on doing the right thing by the American people, which is to make sure we avoid a dangerous default and ensure that America pays its bills,” he said Wednesday in a brief interview.

Democratic groups are already gearing up to knock Republicans over the debt standoff. The DCCC said vulnerable Republicans were “helping build the case against themselves” and their re-election, and House Majority PAC singled out frontline Republicans who voted for the bill.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

DeSantis Surgeon General Rigs Study

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the politics of COVID.

Arek Sarkissian at Politico:
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo personally altered a state-driven study about Covid-19 vaccines last year to suggest that some doses pose a significantly higher health risk for young men than had been established by the broader medical community, according to a newly obtained document.

Ladapo’s changes, released as part of a public records request, presented the risks of cardiac death to be more severe than previous versions of the study. He later used the final document in October to bolster disputed claims that Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were dangerous to young men.

The surgeon general, a well-known Covid-19 vaccine skeptic, faced a backlash from the medical community after he made the assertions, which go against guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics. But Ladapo’s statements aligned well with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stance against mandatory Covid-19 vaccination.

Researchers with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and University of Florida, who viewed Ladapo’s edits on the study and have followed the issue closely, criticized the surgeon general for making the changes. One said it appears Ladapo altered the study out of political — not scientific — concerns.

“I think it’s a lie,” Matt Hitchings, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida, said of Ladapo’s assertion that the Covid-19 vaccine causes cardiac death in young men. “To say this — based on what we’ve seen, and how this analysis was made — it’s a lie.”

Monday, April 24, 2023

Nixon, Trump, Jordan

Our 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. 

Julia Mueller at The Hill:
Former President Trump on Sunday compared himself to former President Nixon, touting the support he has in Congress and within his own party as he weathered impeachment proceedings and now faces ongoing legal battles.

“I’ll never forget: when that happened, we had such great support. Nixon had no support. You know, he just didn’t have support. He was very, very tough with people. I get along with people. I mean, I have great Jim Jordan and all these congressmen are great. They’re really incredible people,” Trump said in an interview with Mark Levin, aired on Fox News.

“Nixon didn’t get along with the people in Congress. He didn’t get along with the senators. But the fact is, we have some great people in the Republican Party, but I get along with them, and they stuck together,” Trump said.

Trump, who was impeached twice as president, lost his 2020 reelection bid and is now running to retake the White House in 2024, appeared to say on Sunday that Nixon’s “biggest regret” was that he “didn’t fight” when confronted with the 1970s Watergate scandal, which prompted his resignation.

“They went over there one evening, Barry Goldwater headed up the delegation and they had some senators and some congressmen and they went over to tell him he’s got to get out and he left the following day or the following morning. And his biggest regret was that he didn’t fight, because it wasn’t really like him. And I find that very interesting,” Trump said.

Steve Benen at MSNBC:

Last night’s comments were intended as a compliment, but given the circumstances, they shouldn’t be seen as one. Trump effectively pointed to the House Judiciary Committee chairman as a mindless ally who’ll stand by the former president without regard for propriety.

Indeed, the Fox interview came a week after a New York Times report on the Ohio congressman, noting that Jordan is “using his perch on the judiciary panel to defend his most important political patron, Mr. Trump, and to attack his adversaries.” The article added, “Mr. Jordan has also acknowledged there is another goal at work, telling a conservative audience last year the investigations would ‘help frame up the 2024 race’ in a way that benefits Mr. Trump.”


Sunday, April 23, 2023

Problems of the House GOP Debt Plan

E.J. Dionne at WP:
McCarthy is having trouble uniting his caucus behind any budget proposal, so the speaker has pushed aside governing in favor of theater. And the production is not even worthy of a high school gym. (I apologize to high school thespians who take their work more seriously.)

It is truly astonishing, as my Post colleagues Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman wrote on Friday, that any Republican operating under labels such as “moderate,” “mainstream” or “problem solver” would vote for a McCarthy proposal that hides its ferocity behind sanitized budgetary gobbledygook. McCarthy would cut federal spending back to 2022 levels and limit its growth to 1 percent a year.

What this means in plain English, as The Post’s Tony Romm reported, are “massive spending cuts,” but without having to specify them. Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, helpfully translated the impact to particular programs. If Republicans exempted defense spending from their ax, as they seem inclined to do, all other programs would suffer 22 percent cuts, she said, which “would grow deeper and deeper with each year of their plan.”

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Heritage Personnel Database

Our new 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.  Neither is the condition of the conservative movement.

 Jonathan Swan and Maggie Haberman at NYT:
If a Republican enters the Oval Office in 2025, whether it’s Donald J. Trump or someone else, there is a good chance that president will turn to the same electronic database to staff the White House and federal agencies.

Think of it as a right-wing LinkedIn. This so-called Project 2025 — part of a $22 million presidential transition operation at a scale never attempted before in conservative politics — is being led by the Heritage Foundation, a group that has been staffing Republican administrations since the Reagan era.

Heritage usually compiles its own personnel lists, and spends far less doing so. But for this election, after conservatives and Mr. Trump himself decried what they viewed as terrible staffing decisions made during his administration, more than 50 conservative groups have temporarily set aside rivalries to team up with Heritage on the project, set to start Friday.

They have already identified several thousand potential recruits and have set a goal of having up to 20,000 potential administration officials in their database by the end of 2024, according to Kevin Roberts, the president of Heritage. Heritage has contracted the technology company Oracle to build a secure personnel database, Dr. Roberts said.

Mr. Trump wants to demolish that career civil service — or what he pejoratively calls “the deep state.” He has privately told allies that if he gets back into power he plans to fire far more than the 4,000 government officials that presidents are typically allowed to replace. Mr. Trump’s lawyers already have the legal instrument in hand.

In late 2020, Mr. Trump issued an executive order that would establish a new employment category for federal workers, called “Schedule F.” Barely anyone noticed because the order was developed in strict secrecy over more than a year and issued only two weeks before the 2020 election.


Mr. Trump’s staff estimated that Schedule F would give the president the power to terminate and replace as many as 50,000 career government officials who served in roles that influenced federal policy.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Mixed News on Local Elections

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

 Adam Gabbatt at The Guardian:

Scores of rightwing extremists were defeated in school board elections in April, in a victory for the left in the US and what Democrats hope could prove to be a playbook for running against Republicans in the year ahead.

In Illinois, Democrats said more than 70% of the school board candidates it had endorsed won their races, often defeating the kind of anti-LGBTQ+ culture warrior candidates who have taken control of school boards across the country.

Republican-backed candidates in Wisconsin also fared poorly. Moms for Liberty, a rightwing group linked to wealthy Republican donors which has been behind book-banning campaigns in the US, said only eight of its endorsed candidates won election to school boards, and other conservative groups also reported disappointing performances.

From Informing Democracy: 

Despite prevailing narratives following the 2022 election, more anti-democracy actors were elected to office last year. At the local level, where officials’ hands are literally and figuratively closest to our ballots, potential threats are growing in number and strength. 

In 2022, challenges to our democracy were widespread at the local level and carried out by the people we entrust with the responsibility for administering our elections.

These threats are growing in strength as misguided officials continue to peddle lies about non-existent fraud, probe for vulnerabilities in election law and process, and undermine public confidence about the security of future elections.

Our report looks at 204 of these officials, as a part of our effort to shine a spotlight on the people and processes that determine how our votes are counted and elections certified. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

DeSantis Is Not Doing Well

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The early stages of the 2024 race have begun.  And DeSantis is off to a shaky start: he is stumbling and Trump is attacking.

Rachel Bade et al at Politico:
It was supposed to be RON DeSANTIS’ big day on Capitol Hill. Yet DONALD TRUMP managed to overshadow him from almost 1,000 miles away.

In the 24 hours leading up to the Florida governor’s much-anticipated meeting with GOP lawmakers, two members from his own state — Reps. JOHN RUTHERFORD and GREG STEUBE — endorsed Trump. A third Floridian — Rep. BRIAN MAST, who was once considered close with DeSantis — told CNN’s Mel Zanona that he’ll soon follow suit.
And a few hours later, in a stone-cold act of political brutality, Rep. LANCE GOODEN (R-Texas) walked out of the DeSantis meeting and declared his support for Trump.

“The amazing part of it is how easy it was,” one person close to Trump said, noting his team was shocked, for example, that Florida Rep. BYRON DONALDS — who had introduced DeSantis and his family at the governor’s Election Night victory party — was all-in when they called him up recently.


Just ask Stuebe, who told Playbook in a brief interview last night that DeSantis has never once reached out to him during his five years in Congress nor replied to his multiple attempts to connect. He recalled a recent news conference dealing with damage from Hurricane Ian where the governor’s aides initially invited him to stand alongside DeSantis, only to tell him that he wouldn’t be part of the event when he showed up.

Trump, on the other hand, was the first person Stuebe remembers calling him in the ICU to wish him well after he was injured in a January tree-trimming accident. “To this day I have not heard from Gov. DeSantis,” he said.


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

House GOP Problems

Our 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. 

Marianna Sotomayor and Leigh Ann Caldwell at WP:
“Everybody is going to be looking at each other much more suspiciously now,” said a Republican aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal party dynamics. “It’s going to be much harder to do things.”

House Republicans have had some success, pushing through several bills that put Democrats on the record and were signed into law by President Biden, including those to declassify information pertaining to covid-19, end the covid national emergency and block a local D.C. crime bill from going into effect.

But Republicans’ first 100 days in the majority have been comparatively less productive than some previous Congresses. They have so far passed only a few of their top priorities, including an energy bill and voting to rescind money for IRS staffing — neither of which will be voted on in a Democratic-controlled Senate. Republicans point to the protracted speaker’s fight and slow organizing of the Congress to explain the sluggish start on the legislative front.

 Karlyn Bowman at AEI:

The difficulty Washington will have dealing with the deficit and entitlement spending going forward was clear in several questions in the Fox News poll. When asked which of two things was most important to them, 26 percent said reducing the budget deficit, while 71 percent said continuing to fund entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare at their current levels was. In separate questions, 21 percent said the funding of Social Security was a crisis (43 percent a major problem), and 28 percent gave that response about the national debt (50 percent a major problem). Only 16 percent supported reducing future Social Security benefits for some future retirees.

Joseph Zeballos-Roig at Semafor:

But new polling from Data for Progress, provided first to Semafor, suggests Americans are cold on the concept. It finds that about 65% of likely voters are against lifting the retirement age for people in their 20s, compared to 27% who support it. Among self-identified GOP voters, the split is similar: 59% are opposed and only 32% are in favor.

The Data for Progress poll also looked specifically at three swing districts in New York, where GOP gains in 2022 helped the party take back control of the House. In one of the districts, just 20% supported raising the retirement age to 70 for future generations. In the other two, less than 10% supported it.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Diploma Divide and 2024

 In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. In Divided We Stand, we discuss how these divides played out in 2020.  

Doug Sosnik at NYT:
The impact of education on voting has an economic as well as a cultural component. The confluence of rising globalization, technological developments and the offshoring of many working-class jobs led to a sorting of economic fortunes, a widening gap in the average real wealth between households led by college graduates compared with the rest of the population, whose levels are near all-time lows.

According to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, since 1989, families headed by college graduates have increased their wealth by 83 percent. For households headed by someone without a college degree, there was relatively little or no increase in wealth.

Culturally, a person’s educational attainment increasingly correlates with their views on a wide range of issues like abortion, attitudes about L.G.B.T.Q. rights and the relationship between government and organized religion. It also extends to cultural consumption (movies, TV, books), social media choices and the sources of information that shape voters’ understanding of facts.

This is not unique to the United States; the pattern has developed across nearly all Western democracies. Going back to the 2016 Brexit vote and the most recent national elections in Britain and France, education level was the best predictor of how people voted.

This new class-based politics oriented around the education divide could turn out to be just as toxic as race-based politics. It has facilitated a sorting of America into enclaves of like-minded people who look at members of the other enclave with increasing contempt.
The diploma divide really started to emerge in voting in the early 1990s, and Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016 solidified this political realignment. Since then, the trends have deepened.

In the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden defeated Mr. Trump by assembling a coalition different from the one that elected and re-elected Barack Obama. Of the 206 counties that Mr. Obama carried in 2008 and 2012 that were won by Mr. Trump in 2016, Mr. Biden won back only 25 of these areas, which generally had a higher percentage of non-college-educated voters. But overall Mr. Biden carried college-educated voters by 15 points.

In the 2022 midterm elections, Democrats carried white voters with a college degree by three points, while Republicans won white non-college voters by 34 points (a 10-point improvement from 2018).

This has helped establish a new political geography. There are now 42 states firmly controlled by one party or the other. And with 45 out of 50 states voting for the same party in the last two presidential elections, the only states that voted for the winning presidential candidates in both 2016 and 2020 rank roughly in the middle on educational levels — Pennsylvania (23rd in education attainment), Georgia (24th), Wisconsin (26th), Arizona (30th) and Michigan (32nd).

In 2020, Mr. Biden received 306 electoral votes, Mr. Trump, 232. In the reapportionment process — which readjusts the Electoral College counts based on the most current census data — the new presidential electoral map is more favorable to Republicans by a net six points.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Nikki Haley Does a Ballet with the Campaign Books

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

Isaac Stanley-Becker and Dylan Wells at WP:
Earlier this month, Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign touted an impressive number: A news release said the former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador had raised more than $11 million in the six weeks since launching her campaign for the GOP nomination.

But filings on Saturday with the Federal Election Commission show that her campaign drastically overstated its haul. The campaign appears to have double-counted money it moved among various committees.

The filings, covering the first three months of the year, show that three committees affiliated with Haley collectively brought in about $8.3 million.
Haley has been raising money across three committees. She has a main campaign committee. She has a committee predating her February launch that has been used to promote her agenda and boost other candidates. And she has a joint fundraising committee that directs funds to both.

Haley’s joint fundraising committee raised about $4.4 million, its filing shows.

The campaign committee’s haul of about $5.1 million included a transfer of $1.8 million from the joint fundraising committee.

And Haley’s other committee, known as a leadership PAC, posted gains of about $1.5 million, including a transfer of nearly $900,000 from the joint fundraising committee.

In arriving at $11 million, Haley’s campaign appears to have summed the three committee’s cash infusions, even though two of them took a significant chunk of money from the third.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Tim Scott's Rough Start

 Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The early stages of the 2024 race have begun. Tim Scott is off to a rough start.

He is screwing up on abortion.

At the Daily Beast, Jake Lahut writes that Tim Scott started an exploratory committee.

Perhaps the most basic rule for exploratory committees, however, is that they cannot refer to the person exploring a run as an actual candidate. Once they do that, the hopeful is essentially tossed in the deep end—and the race is on.

After launching his own exploratory committee on Wednesday morning, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) ran afoul of that fundamental rule.

One of the early fundraising blasts sent out by the Scott exploratory committee told potential donors: “Tim Scott is running for President of the United States!”

According to Paul S. Ryan, a campaign finance expert who’s filed successful complaints concerning the exploratory phase, that’s a serious no-no.

“Referring to yourself as a candidate is a fact with legal consequences under federal campaign finance law,” Ryan told The Daily Beast.

Federal Election Commission regulations on exploratory committees explicitly prohibit other activities. The potential candidates can’t publicize their intention to campaign, or inform the press when they will announce their candidacy.

In his own remarks, Scott himself has skirted the line: at an event in Iowa on Wednesday, Scott referred to his “candidacy” in the present tense—not future or conditional—in an interview with the AP.

If the South Carolina senator files paperwork for an official presidential campaign committee within the next 15 days, the phrasing is mostly just semantics—as long as the donations qualify retroactively under federal individual limits. (Individuals are allowed to give a campaign up to $3,300 for a primary election and the same amount for a general election.)

Friday, April 14, 2023

Another Bad Week for DeSantis


Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The early stages of the 2024 race have begun.  And DeSantis is off to a shaky start:

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Spinning GOP Infighting

At The Hill, Emily Brooks and Mike Lillis report that House Republicans are trying to put a happy face on their internal feuds.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) insisted that House GOP leadership is unified, but embraced the wrangling that comes with operating a slim majority under new rules that — unlike those under Democratic control — have empowered rank-and-file lawmakers with more opportunities to craft legislation.

“Tension, as a group? That’s a good thing. I hope we’re challenging each other. I hope we’re pushing each other,” Emmer said.

“As a Republican team, does that mean that we all agree on everything? No. Nor should we,” he added. “People should be challenging one another, and people should be pushing one another. Every once in a while, it should actually feel uncomfortable.”

While Republicans are generally happy to open the floor to countless amendments and empower rank-and-file lawmakers to craft legislation, they also acknowledge a major drawback: It makes it tougher for GOP leaders to win bipartisan support, which is required to enact bills into law, and can even harm a bill’s chances within the conference.

A high-priority parental bill of rights, for example, eked its way to passage after five Republicans defected, including the bill’s co-sponsor who said some of the amendments were unacceptable.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Young Kim Confronts Racist Colleague

At Politico, Olivia Beavers and Nicholas Wu report on Rep. Young Kim (R-CA):
Even Kim’s symbolic role is complicated, though. She is a prominent Asian American in a party struggling to allay fears among voters of color, including Asian Americans, that Republicans are focused on white voters and overly tolerant of racial bigotry and xenophobia.

A recent blowup on Capitol Hill illustrated this tension in wrenching terms: When Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) questioned the national loyalty of a leading Asian American Democrat, the U.S.-born Rep. Judy Chu of California, Kim sought a private meeting with Gooden. She did not call him out publicly at the time, but said during an interview in Seoul that his comments were inappropriate.

“Lance, out of nowhere, started attacking her loyalty. So I said ‘no.’ Whether or not she is a Democrat or Republican, it didn’t matter,” Kim said. “Don’t question someone’s loyalty when she is born in the U.S., and she has served honorably in her position.”

Responding to a request for comment, Gooden showed no contrition and instead chastised Kim.

“Rep. Kim requested this private meeting and I believed it was to remain private,” Gooden said in a statement. “She has betrayed the trust of our visit but as a now-undeserved courtesy to her, I will not further broach some of the other things she said.”

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Biden's Influencers

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

Sophie Cai at Axios:
President Biden's not-yet-official bid for re-election will lean on hundreds of social media "influencers" who will tout Biden's record — and soon may have their own briefing room at the White House, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: 
  • The move aims to boost Biden's standing among young voters who are crucial to Democrats' success in elections — and to potentially counter former President Trump's massive social media following, if he's the GOP nominee in 2024.Biden's digital strategy team will connect with influencers across the nation to target those who may not follow the White House or Democratic Party on social media — or who have tuned out mainstream media altogether.
  • Four Biden digital staffers are focused on influencers and independent content creators. The staffers officially work for the White House, not Biden's campaign — but reaching young and suburban voters is clearly a priority.
  • Young voters (ages 18-29) preferred Biden over Trump by a 26-point margin in 2020, and Democrats over Republicans by 28 points in the 2022 midterms.
  • A measure of the importance Team Biden is placing on its digital strategy: Rob Flaherty, who leads the effort, has been named assistant to the president — the same rank as the White House communications director and press secretary.
What they're saying: "We're trying to reach young people, but also moms who use different platforms to get information and climate activists and people whose main way of getting information is digital," said Jen O'Malley Dillon, White House deputy chief of staff.

The details: Hundreds of (unpaid and like-minded) content creators are working with Biden's White House. They include:

Monday, April 10, 2023

Abortion Politics Helps Dems

Our 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.  Trump is now under indictment.  And there are signs that the tide is turning against the GOP.

Dante Chinni at NBC:

Abortion has been illegal in Wisconsin since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June with its Dobbs decision. And Janet Protasiewicz, whose victory in the state Supreme Court race gave liberals a 4-3 majority, made it the fulcrum of her campaign. It was a dominant factor in her ads, and a case challenging the state’s 1849 abortion law is expected to start making its way through the Wisconsin courts next month.


President Joe Biden narrowly won Wisconsin in 2020, but on his path to victory he captured only 14 of the state’s 72 counties, and he leaned heavily on Milwaukee and Madison.

On Tuesday, Protasiewicz carried 27 counties and grew Biden’s advantage in suburban areas around metro areas. She added Kenosha near Milwaukee. She added Columbia and Lafayette around Madison. And she picked up Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago counties — which include the smaller blue-collar metro areas around Oshkosh and Green Bay.

The geographic rules of American politics in 2023 are pretty simple. Democrats win urban areas by large margins. Republicans win rural areas by large margins. And the two parties fight over suburban and exurban areas. But abortion seems to have changed that calculus, at least in some states, turning suburban areas more Democratic.

That’s how Protasiewicz won Wisconsin, a consistent battleground, by 11 points.

And the GOP’s suburban abortion problems extend beyond Wisconsin.

Chinni goes on to analyze similar patterns in Michigan and Kansas

Sunday, April 9, 2023


Our 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. 

Sorting and Polarization of House Districts

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

Paul Kane at WP:
David Wasserman, senior editor of the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, highlights the Kentucky district [ of Hal Rogers] in a new deep dive into all 435 House districts to explain the geographical roots of political polarization and how hollowed-out the political middle has become.

Although legislative gerrymandering plays a key role in letting representatives choose their constituents, the nation’s “urban/rural polarization” has been a much bigger factor over the past 25 years, Wasserman wrote.

“The electorate has simply become much more homogenous than it used to be,” he wrote in the newly released analysis.

It’s part of a nationwide realignment highlighted by the new rankings of the “Cook Partisan Voting Index,” which operatives in both parties have examined for years to help determine which districts are truly up for grabs every two years.

Districts like Rogers’s in Appalachia now have more in common with a rural district nearly 900 miles away in eastern Oklahoma — in terms of income and education levels, home property values and the number of people living in poverty — than Kentucky’s 6th District directly to the north and west.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Tennessee Backfire

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections.  The GOP has supermajorities in the TN Legislature.

Elizabeth Wolfe and Raja Razek, CNN:

Two Democratic members of the Tennessee House of Representatives were expelled while a third member was spared in an ousting by Republican lawmakers that was decried by the trio as oppressive, vindictive and racially motivated.

Protesters packed the state Capitol on Thursday to denounce the expulsions of Reps. Justin Jones and Rep. Justin Pearson and to advocate for gun reform measures a little over a week after a mass shooting devastated a Nashville school.


Steve Benen at MSNBC:
Stepping back, if GOP leaders don’t yet fully appreciate the degree to which this is likely to backfire, this will probably dawn on them soon.

For one thing, over the course of this week, the story about the Tennessee Three made the transition from local controversy in Nashville to a national outrage. As the dust settled on yesterday’s developments, for example, the White House issued a statement condemning the expulsions.

“Today’s expulsion of lawmakers who engaged in peaceful protest is shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent,” President Joe Biden said. “Rather than debating the merits of the issue, these Republican lawmakers have chosen to punish, silence, and expel duly-elected representatives of the people of Tennessee.”

He wasn’t alone. There were related condemnations from the Congressional Black Caucus, among other congressional Democrats from both chambers. Barack Obama added a statement of his own.

The Republican majority in Nashville, in other words, set out to silence the Tennessee Three. In the process, the GOP helped make the Democrats heroes to a worthy cause.

What’s more, if Republicans think they “won” the broader fight by kicking Jones and Pearson out of the legislature, they’ll soon learn otherwise: There’s nothing stopping the two men from running anew for the seats they held. In fact, it’s a safe bet they’re going to win, rejoining the institution that unjustly expelled them.

They may not even have to wait too long: Local officials have the authority to appoint temporary legislators to fill the vacancies, and no one should be surprised if they choose Jones and Pearson.

Friday, April 7, 2023

Kevin's Gate

 Our 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. 

Jonathan Swan and Annie Karni at NYT:
It was midway through Representative Kevin McCarthy’s drawn-out battle for the House speakership when Representative Jodey C. Arrington of Texas, one of his public supporters, began quietly approaching colleagues to see whether they would be open to backing his No. 2, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, instead.

The support was not there. When Mr. Arrington, a fourth-term Republican who chairs the Budget Committee, floated the idea with Representative Jim Banks of Indiana, for instance, the answer was a hard no. Mr. Banks promised to lead the opposition if Mr. Scalise tried to mount a serious challenge to Mr. McCarthy, according to two people who said Mr. Banks told them about the incident. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

Mr. McCarthy eventually won the speakership and promised not to bear grudges against the right-wing holdouts, who extracted major policy and personnel concessions in exchange for their votes. But the suspicions and divisions exposed during that process remain and are spilling out into the open as Mr. McCarthy faces his most consequential test: reaching a deal with President Biden to avert a catastrophic default on the nation’s debt as soon as this summer.

Mr. McCarthy has told colleagues he has no confidence in Mr. Arrington, the man responsible for delivering a budget framework laying out the spending cuts that Republicans have said they will demand in exchange for any move to increase the debt limit.

 Aside from the perceived disloyalty, Mr. McCarthy regards Mr. Arrington, a former official in the George W. Bush administration, as incompetent, according to more than half a dozen people familiar with his thinking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.


 Mr. McCarthy has told colleagues and allies that he cannot rely on Mr. Scalise, describing the majority leader as ineffective, checked out and reluctant to take a position on anything, according to three Republican lawmakers with direct knowledge of his private comments who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss them.