Search This Blog

Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

DeSantis Doctrine

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

DeSantis is doing very very poorly.

William Galston at WSJ:
Last year several professors and a student filed a suit against Florida’s Stop WOKE Act of 2022—which prohibits Florida’s teachers from promoting eight controversial propositions about race, color, national origin or sex—on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment. In response, Mr. DeSantis’s lawyers argued that “a public university’s curriculum is set by the university in accordance with the strictures and guidance of the state’s elected officials.”

Accordingly, they claimed, “the Florida government has simply chosen to regulate its own speech—the curriculum used in state universities and the in-class instruction offered by state employees—and the First Amendment simply has no application in this context.”

If this argument were to prevail, American public universities would more closely resemble Chinese state universities, where what faculty members say is certainly “government speech.” The line between education and indoctrination would be blurred further.

To be sure, Mr. DeSantis may not bear direct responsibility for the arguments his lawyers made on his behalf. But he is responsible for selecting his principal education advisers and for relying on their views.

Consider Richard Corcoran, former Florida education commissioner and now interim president of New College, an institution over which Mr. DeSantis has asserted direct control. Education, Mr. Corcoran said in a speech to Hillsdale College’s National Leadership Seminar, is “100% ideological.” If so, the only question is which ideology will dominate. Not surprisingly, Mr. Corcoran went on to describe education as “our sword.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Trump's Retribution

\Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. The 2024 race has begun.  Trump seeks retribution against critics.

Alex Griffing at Mediaite:

Former President Donald Trump joined controversial radio host Glenn Beck for an interview on Tuesday and was asked flat out if he would use the office of the president to jail his political opponents – as he promised to do in 2016.

“You said in 2016, you know, ‘lock her up.’ And then when you became president, you said, ‘We don’t do that in America.’ That’s just not the right thing to do. That’s what they’re doing. Do you regret not locking her up? And if you’re president again, will you lock people up?” Beck asked Trump.

“Well, I’ll give you an example. Uh, the answer is you have no choice because they’re doing it to us,” Trump replied, making clear he would.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Battle for NY House Seats

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

Kadia Goba at Semafor: 

Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries has installed two loyalists at the flailing New York State Democratic Party — in the hopes that his home state can carry him to the Speakership.

Jeffries’ former campaign manager, Lizzy Weiss, will head the battleground effort, and Jeffries’ longtime ally, André Richardson, is a senior advisor at a new arm of the state party. Jeffries, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Gov. Kathy Hochul first announced the new initiative to donors they hope will underwrite the coordinated campaign in June over a Zoom call.

The new effort is a muscle flex by one of the most powerful Democrats in the country to refocus his home state’s Democratic party on 2024 House races. They are, for now, retaining staffers close to Hochul, including New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs, whose performance in the midterms inspired a campaign calling for his removal, and Executive Director Alex Wang.

Weiss and Richardson have met with and interviewed congressional candidates, and are present at some of the most sensitive meetings with Democratic leaders and members of the delegation.

The campaign will be adding additional organizers between now and the 2023 elections, which, I’m told, should yield “younger, more dynamic candidates that are going to hustle,” a person familiar with the strategy told Semafor.

Abby Livingston at Puck:

But it’s the state’s famously competitive junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, who plans to run up the score next year in her campaign for a third full term. As the only statewide official on the ballot, I’m hearing that she intends to run hard, even if she doesn’t face a strong Republican challenger, in order to help supercharge down-ballot House races across New York. She’s already gotten started, using part of her August recess on a 21-county tour through the state, Instagramming her way through county fair after county fair.

This sort of expansive strategic thinking is not always obvious to other senators, many of whom could not be less interested in House politics. But memories of Gillibrand’s 2020 flamout in the Democratic presidential primary cloud her previous reputation as a ferocious House candidate, prior to her Senate career. In 2006, Gillibrand stunned the political world when she snatched a reddish, off-the-radar Albany-area seat in that year’s Democratic wave, and then she held it in 2008. Which is all to say that, with so many political veterans entering this fight, Gillibrand’s influence could be decisive.


Monday, August 28, 2023

The Age Issue

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. The 2024 race has begun.

 Associated Press:

U.S. adults

Nikki Haley goes there: My post from 2008

Last week, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman quoted Adlai Stevenson as warning of “Nixonland” – “a land of slander and scare.” Ironically, a vivid example of scare tactics came from Stevenson’s own lips at the end of the 1956 campaign. Crudely exploiting President Eisenhower’s heart attack, he tried to frighten voters with the prospect that Vice President Nixon would soon succeed him. “And distasteful as this matter is, I must say bluntly that every piece of scientific evidence we have, every lesson of history and experience, indicates that a Republican victory tomorrow would mean that Richard M. Nixon would probably be President of this country within the next four years.” Lest anybody miss the point, he added: “I recoil at the prospect of Mr. Nixon as custodian of this nation’s future, as guardian of the hydrogen bomb…”

Of course, Richard Nixon did become president twelve years later, and undertook landmark arms talks with the Soviet Union. President Eisenhower lived to watch his inauguration on television. Stevenson did not. He had died in 1965 – of a heart attack.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Week of Offensiveness

Our recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Trump has praised Vivek Ramaswamy, done interviews with Tucker Carlson, and dined with Nick Fuentes.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

More Hints of Violence

Our book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.  Some Republican leaders -- and a measurable number of rank-and-file voters -- are open to violent rebellioncoups, and secession.

 MMFA shows Palin on Newsmax:

ERIC BOLLING (HOST): When you see the former president being fingerprinted, having to show up, turn himself in, you see the mugshots of the other seven or eight who've turned themselves already, do you have concern for the country as I do?

SARAH PALIN (GUEST): Absolutely, I mean -- I think those who are conducting this travesty and creating this two-tiered system of justice and I want to ask them, "What the heck? Do you want us to be in Civil War?" because that's what's going to happen. We're not going to keep putting up with this. And Eric, I like that that you suggested that we need to get angry. We do need to rise up and take our country back.

Isaac Arnsdodrf at WP:

Former president Donald Trump suggested that the United States could see intensifying political violence, saying in a new interview that tensions in the country were reaching a boiling point.

Asked by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson whether the nation is headed toward open conflict, Trump responded: “I don’t know. I can say this: There’s a level of passion that I’ve never seen. There’s a level of hatred that I’ve never seen. And that’s probably a bad combination.”


Friday, August 25, 2023

Trump Surrenders in Fulton County

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. The 2024 race has begun.

 Right after surrendering to authorities in Fulton County, Georgia, Trump returned to Twitter:

Thursday, August 24, 2023

First GOP Debate

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. The 2024 race has begun.

Lloyd Green at The Guardian:
On Wednesday night, eight Republicans clashed in Milwaukee. The debate was more than simply an audition to be the former guy’s running mate. Over the course of two hours, real differences emerged within the field. Donald Trump’s impregnable lead remains intact.

Ron DeSantis dodged the question of whether Mike Pence did the right thing on January 6. Florida’s governor emerged diminished. Tim Scott won the vice-president wannabe contest. An oleaginous and belligerent Vivek Ramaswamy repeatedly puckered-up to Joe Biden’s predecessor.

Nikki Haley, Trump’s UN ambassador, jabbed at the Trump administration’s spending record, called him the “most disliked politician in America”, and defended aid to Ukraine.

Chris Christie dinged Trump and Hunter Biden. New Jersey’s former governor also reminded the audience of the Trump-Putin bromance and Russia’s lawlessness.

On January 6, a mob prepared makeshift gallows for Mike Pence to his former boss’s delectation. With the cameras rolling, Pence again embraced the “Trump-Pence” label.

As the 45th president avoided his competitors, his legal woes mount. His bail in Georgia is set at $200,000, conditioned on not threatening witnesses or co-defendants.

On Tuesday night, a filing by the special counsel’s office laid out a failed effort to destroy Mar-a-Lago videos when faced with a federal grand jury subpoena. Trump as mob boss, Goodfellas repeats itself.

His interview with Tucker Carlson, where he reveled in the prospect of civil war and bloodshed, did not confer the immunity he so badly craves.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Candidate Caught in a Lie

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

Daniel Dale at CNN:
Newly released audio disproves Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s claim on CNN that he was misquoted by The Atlantic about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Ramaswamy’s inaccurate insistence that he was misquoted about 9/11 in the magazine’s Monday article came during a contentious on-air exchange that night with Kaitlan Collins, anchor of CNN’s “The Source.”

Collins told Ramaswamy, “Speaking of another comment that you’ve made that is getting attention today, about 9/11 – a report in The Atlantic, that you gave an interview to. You said, quote, ‘I think it is legitimate to say how many police, how many federal agents, were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers. Maybe the answer is zero. It probably is zero for all I know, right? I have no reason to think it was anything other than zero. But if we’re doing a comprehensive assessment of what happened on 9/11, we have a 9/11 commission, absolutely [that] should be an answer the public knows the answer to.’”

Tuesday, August 22, 2023


 Our book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.

 Devlin Barrett, Spencer S. Hsu and Isaac Arnsdorf at WP:

Under the terms of Trump’s bond in Fulton County, he was ordered to “perform no act to intimidate any person known to him or her to be a codefendant or witness in this case” and “make no direct or indirect threat of any nature against any witness” or victim. The agreement announced Monday said the restrictions “include, but are not limited to, posts on social media or reposts of posts made by another individual on social media.”

Legal experts say placing a tight leash on Trump’s pretrial statements could play into his hands by sparking a legal fight over free speech that he has already signaled he wants.

In Washington, Chutkan “no doubt wants to treat Donald Trump like any other defendant, but she must treat him like every other defendant who is also running for president, an unprecedented situation,” said Barbara McQuade, a University of Michigan law professor and former U.S. attorney.

“Any judge would be very reluctant to jail a candidate for president, not only to protect the candidate’s First Amendment rights, but to permit voters access to the defendant’s statements as they decide how to cast their ballots,” McQuade said. “It will take an awful lot for Judge Chutkan to jail Trump, and you can bet he will push the line as far as he can. It is a win-win situation for him. If he is not gagged and jailed, he can disparage prosecutors and witnesses with impunity. If he is jailed, he can portray himself as a victim of persecution.”

Monday, August 21, 2023

Senate GOP Recruitment

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

Senate Republicans’ string of major recruiting wins could soon be coming to an end as the party prepares for less-than-welcome entries in two races that could help decide the fate of the Senate majority next year.

Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) and former gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake are widely expected to launch bids for the upper chamber in Montana and Arizona, respectively, in the coming months.

That’s creating headaches for GOP leaders in their quest to flip two seats and retake control of the Senate after four years in the minority.

Republican leaders in the Senate haven’t been shy about calling out “candidate quality” as a major issue for the party in 2022 and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Steve Daines (R-Mont.) vowed to more aggressively recruit and back candidates with a better shot of winning a general election.

Thus far, those efforts have borne fruit in a number of key contests.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) is the leading contender to take on Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) next year (if Manchin runs), Tim Sheehy entered the race in Montana to unseat Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sam Brown launched a campaign in Nevada. Manchin and Tester, who represent states former President Trump carried by a wide margin, are at the top of Republicans’ target list.

The party also has a number of acceptable candidates in Ohio to take on Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), though none are considered to be sterling by GOP operatives.

But it’s the potential coming pair of Rosendale and Lake that has Republicans worried.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

The Disqualification Clause

 Our book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.

J. Michael Luttig and Laurence H. Tribe at The Atlantic:
The former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and the resulting attack on the U.S. Capitol, place him squarely within the ambit of the disqualification clause, and he is therefore ineligible to serve as president ever again. The most pressing constitutional question facing our country at this moment, then, is whether we will abide by this clear command of the Fourteenth Amendment’s disqualification clause.

We were immensely gratified to see that a richly researched article soon to be published in an academic journal has recently come to the same conclusion that we had and is attracting well-deserved attention outside a small circle of scholars—including Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Anjani Jain of the Yale School of Management, whose encouragement inspired us to write this piece. The evidence laid out by the legal scholars William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen in “The Sweep and Force of Section Three,” available as a preprint, is momentous. Sooner or later, it will influence, if not determine, the course of American constitutional history—and American history itself.

At WP,  Jason Willick says that there are problems with the argument

An insurrection in a colloquial or political sense is not the same as an insurrection in a constitutionally binding sense. The Congressional Research Service notes that the Insurrection Act describes a situation in which it is “impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings.” That doesn’t seem to apply to the Jan. 6 violence, after which participants were vigorously prosecuted in federal court.

Trump probably gave “aid or comfort” to the mob with his disgraceful delay in responding to the violence at the Capitol — but to be constitutionally disqualified, an official must give aid or comfort to “enemies” of the country. As the Congressional Research Service also notes, “history … suggests that an ‘enemy’ is one who owes allegiance to an opposing government and not merely a U.S. citizen opposing the U.S. government.”

Baude and Paulsen anticipated such objections:

IInsurrection is best understood as concerted, forcible resistance to the authority of government to execute the laws in at least some significant respect. The term “insurrection” connotes something more than mere ordinary lawbreaking. It suggests an affirmative contest with, and active resistance to, the authority of the government. It is in that sense more than just organized resistance to the laws—more than just a protest, even one involving civil disobedience. Rather, it is organized resistance to the government. Insurrection is also more than mere “protest” in that it implies some element of forcible resistance. It is something more than a mere spontaneous, disorganized “riot.” Insurrection suggests at least some degree of coordinated, concerted action. The term also implies something more than acts of solitary individuals: to qualify as an insurrection the acts in question must involve some form of collective action, even if not an advance plan.


 We believe that “enemies” as employed in Section Three, embraces enemies both foreign and domestic. That now-familiar phrase (“enemies foreign and domestic”) comes from the “Ironclad Oath,” written into law in 1862, in the midst of the Civil War, and it seems clear from the political context of Section Three, enacted in the wake of a domestic civil war, that domestic enemies are enemies. It is almost unthinkable that Confederate rebels would not have been thought “enemies” in the sense employed by the text. Given the history and context of Section Three “enemies” seems to include the domestic rebels and insurrectionists just described earlier in the sentence. 


Saturday, August 19, 2023

J6 Video Evidence

 Our book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.

A Trump lawyer was at the scene of the crime.

Andrew Kaczynski, Em Steck and Yahya Abou-Ghazala, CNN:

When conspiracy theorist Alex Jones marched his way to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, riling up his legion of supporters, an unassuming middle-aged man in a red “Trump 2020” hat conspicuously tagged along.

Videos and photographs reviewed by CNN show the man dutifully recording Jones with his phone as the bombastic media personality ascended to the restricted area of the Capitol grounds where mobs of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters eventually broke in.

While the man’s actions outside the Capitol that day have drawn little scrutiny, his alleged connections to a plot to overthrow the 2020 election have recently come into sharp focus: He is attorney Kenneth Chesebro, the alleged architect of the scheme to subvert the 2020 Electoral College process by using fake GOP electors in multiple states.


Ella Sherman at TNR:

New explosive footage of Roger Stone strategizing to overturn the 2020 presidential election—before the vote was even called for Joe Biden—dooms Donald Trump’s main legal defense.

The video, aired on MSNBC Wednesday night and shot by filmmaker Christoffer Guldbrandsen, depicts the right-wing lobbyist dictating a fake elector plot in key battleground states. The video was taken on November 5, 2020, two days before the election was called, thus disproving Trump’s main defense that he and his allies genuinely believed they had won the race.

Friday, August 18, 2023

DeSantis Debate Memo

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

DeSantis is doing very very poorly.

Jonathan Swan, Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman at NYT:
Ron DeSantis needs “to take a sledgehammer” to Vivek Ramaswamy, the political newcomer who is rising in the polls. He should “defend Donald Trump” when Chris Christie inevitably attacks the former president. And he needs to “attack Joe Biden and the media” no less than three to five times.

A firm associated with the super PAC that has effectively taken over Mr. DeSantis’s presidential campaign posted online hundreds of pages of blunt advice, research memos and internal polling in early nominating states to guide the Florida governor ahead of the high-stakes Republican presidential debate next Wednesday in Milwaukee.

The trove of documents provides an extraordinary glimpse into the thinking of the DeSantis operation about a debate the candidate’s advisers see as crucial.


The documents were posted this week on the website of Axiom Strategies, the company owned by Jeff Roe, the chief strategist of Mr. DeSantis’s super PAC, Never Back Down.

The New York Times was alerted to the existence of the documents by a person not connected to the DeSantis campaign or the super PAC. After The Times reached out to Never Back Down for comment on Thursday, the group removed from the website a key memo summarizing the suggested strategy for the debate. By Thursday night, all the other documents that were posted had been taken down.

Super PACs are barred by law from strategizing in private with political campaigns. To avoid running afoul of those rules, it is not unusual for the outside groups to post polling documents in the open, albeit in an obscure corner of the internet where insiders know to look.

Notably missing from the debate materials is a document focused on Mr. Trump, who has been attacking Mr. DeSantis mercilessly for months. The former president, who has said he is unlikely to participate in the debate, is also not among the candidates whose previous attacks against Mr. DeSantis were highlighted by the super PAC, in a preview of what he might expect onstage. The main strategy memo for the debate contains no mention of policy — and the advice steers Mr. DeSantis away from talking about specific solutions because doing so won’t get him headlines.

Trump Support is Not Just "Symbolic Racism"

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.

In explaining Trump support, Ruy Teixeira writes, scholars "went looking for racism—and they found it ...researchers’ priors and political beliefs were heavily influencing both their analytical approach and their interpretation of results."
And there is an even deeper problem with the conventional view. Start with a fact that was glossed over or ignored by most studies: trends in so-called racial resentment went in the “wrong” direction between the 2012 and 2016 election. That is, fewer whites had high levels of racial resentment in 2016 than 2012. This make racial resentment an odd candidate to explain the shift of white voters toward Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

Political scientists Justin Grimmer and William Marble investigated this conundrum intensively by looking directly at whether an indicator like racial resentment really could explain, or account for, the shift of millions of white votes toward Trump. The studies that gave pride of place to racial resentment as an explanation for Trump’s victory did no such accounting; they simply showed a stronger relationship between this variable and Republican voting in 2016 and thought they’d provided a complete explanation.

They had not. When you look at the actual population of voters and how racial resentment was distributed in 2016, as Grimmer and Marble did, it turns out that the racial resentment explanation simply does not fit what really happened in terms of voter shifts. A rigorous accounting of vote shifts toward Trump shows instead that they were primarily among whites, especially low education whites, with moderate views on race and immigration, not whites with high levels of racial resentment. In fact, Trump actually netted fewer votes among whites with high levels of racial resentment than Mitt Romney did in 2012.
So much for the racial resentment explanation of Trump’s victory. Not only is racial resentment a misnamed variable that does not mean what people think it means, it literally cannot account for the actual shifts that occurred in the 2016 election. Clearly a much more complex explanation for Trump’s victory was—or should have been—in order, integrating negative views on immigration, trade and liberal elites with a sense of unfairness rooted in just world belief. That would have helped Democrats understand why voters in Trump-shifting counties, whose ways of life were being torn asunder by economic and social change, were so attracted to Trump’s appeals.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

DeSantis Falling, Continued

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

DeSantis is doing very very poorly.

Josh Dawsey at WP:

“The more he is met by people, the more they are not going to like him,” said [former Florida GOP chair Joe] Gruters, who is also a state senator. “The more he’s out there, the more his numbers go down. It’s not a good long-term scenario for him. I fully expected the downfall of his campaign a long time ago.”


Still, in interviews, Florida Republicans described an aloof governor who believed in “sticks and no carrots,” according to a senior Florida official, and whose idea of negotiating was “my way or the highway,” in the words of another. An insular governor who infrequently talked to some senior members in his own Cabinet, including his top law enforcement officials, or other leading Republicans. A congressman who seemed to avoid any opportunity to make friends with others in the delegation. A politician who rarely tried to connect with donors and supporters and seemed to not enjoy being around crowds or attending events. A governor who sometimes declined to participate in a lot of the customary niceties in politics, such as thank you notes and calls to donors.

“It’s kind of what I expected to see,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), whose backing of Trump stung DeSantis according to people close to the governor, said of the DeSantis campaign. He added: “In presidential politics, you have to be able to engage and connect with people. It’s through TV, it’s through interviews, it’s charisma. You know it when you see it … I never felt like it was something the governor would be able to do or accomplish.”

DeSantis hoped to be Trump without the baggage, but he's also Trump without the passion and fun. 

 Benjamin Wallace-Wells at The New Yorker:

Even before its official launch, the campaign and its allies were conducting polls and focus groups to test various anti-Trump messages. Across several months, the source familiar with the campaign said that it consistently struggled to find a message critical of Trump that resonated with rank-and-file Republican voters. Even attaching Trump’s name to an otherwise effective message had a tendency to invert the results, this source said. If a moderator said that the COVID lockdowns destroyed small businesses and facilitated the largest upward wealth transfer in modern American history, seventy per cent of the Republicans surveyed would agree. But, if the moderator said that Trump’s COVID lockdowns destroyed small businesses and facilitated the largest upward wealth transfer in modern American history, the source said, seventy per cent would disagree.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

DeSantis Falling

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

DeSantis is doing very very poorly.

 Ed Kilgore at New York:

Ron DeSantis remains the most formidable rival to Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. But it’s been a long, long time since he’s gotten any particularly good news in the polls. A new Emerson College survey shows him dropping into single digits and third place in New Hampshire, behind Chris Christie. In the RealClearPolitics averages of national GOP polls, he’s dropped from 30.1 percent at the end of March to 14.8 percent now. He looks relatively strong in Iowa, where it appears he is making a desperate all-or-nothing stand, but mostly just by comparison. Trump only leads him by 27 points in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, though sparse Iowa polling may disguise a less positive environment for DeSantis.

Polling aside, recent news emanating from the DeSantis campaign has been generally quite bad. He’s had three campaign leadership shakeups, a big round of staff layoffs, and at least one major “reboot” of his message and strategy. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is still building steam, and its main problem is that too much of his vast financial resources are going into legal costs in connection with indictments that aren’t hurting him at all among Republican voters. Another bad development for DeSantis is that a large field of rivals has remained in the race, spoiling his hopes for a one-on-one battle with the front-runner.

The trajectory of DeSantis 2024 should remind political observers of another recent Republican presidential bid that at this point in 2015 was about to enter a dramatic plunge into premature defeat well before voters voted: Scott Walker.

There are similarities:  Walker was a youngish governor who took on a formidable foe (the public employee unions).  But there are differences:  Walker was a college dropout with limited knowledge of national and international issues.  DeSantis has degrees from Yale and Harvard Law, served in the military and the House.  For all his problems, he knows his stuff.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

"The Enterprise"

Our most recent book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and Trump's disregard for law.

The Georgia indictment:

Defendant Donald John Trump lost the United States presidential election held on November 3,2020. One of the states he lost was Georgia . Trump and the other Defendants charged in this Indictment refused to accept that Trump lost,and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump .That conspiracy contained a common plan and purpose to commit two or more acts of racketeering activity in Fulton County, Georgia, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, and in other states .


At all times relevant to this Count of the Indictment ,the Defendants , as well as others not named as defendants , unlawfully conspired and endeavored to conduct and participate in a criminal enterprise in Fulton County , Georgia ,and elsewhere . Defendants Donald John Trump, Rudolph William Louis Giuliani, John Charles Eastman, Mark Randall Meadows, Kenneth JohnChesebro, Jeffrey Bossert Clark , Jenna Lynn Ellis, Ray Stallings Smith III, Robert David Cheeley, Michael A. Roman, David James Shafer , Shawn Micah Tresher Still, Stephen Cliffgard Lee,Harrison William Prescott Floyd, Trevian C. Kutti, Sidney Katherine Powell, Cathleen Alston Latham, Scott Graham Hall, Misty Hampton,unindicted co-conspirators Individual 1 through Individual 30 , and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, constituted a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged invarious related criminal activities including, but not limited to,false statements and writings, impersonating a public officer, forgery, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, computer theft, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, conspiracy to defraud the state, acts involving theft, and perjury. 

This criminal organization constituted an enterprise as that term is defined in O.C.G.A. § 16-14-3(3), that is,a group of individuals associated in fact.The Defendants and other members and associates ofthe enterprise had connections and relationships with one another and with the enterprise.The enterprise constituted an ongoing organization whose members and associates functioned as a continuing unit for a common purpose of achievingthe objectives of the enterprise.The enterprise operated in Fulton County,Georgia, elsewhere in the State ofGeorgia, in other states, including,but not limited to, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin,and in the District of Columbia.The enterprise operated for a period of time sufficient to permit its members and associates to pursue its objectives.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Diploma Divide and Democratic Brahminization

Our more recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses voter demographics and the diploma divide.

 Michael Baharaeen at The Liberal Patriot:

College-educated white voters have been trending more Democratic with little interruption since the 1970s. And while both parties were competitive with non-college whites through the latter half of the 20th century, this group began to definitively break toward Republicans around 2000:
While the Democrats’ losses among white voters without a college degree are well documented, it’s also worth noting that their slide over the past decade with the non-college demographic disproportionately came from non-white voters. This bloc moved toward Republicans by a whopping 19 points between 2012 and 2020. In other words, Democrats have been losing ground with non-college voters of all races.

It is possible that these trends will work out for Democrats as more Americans graduate college. As things currently stand, however, non-college voters make up a far greater share of the presidential electorate (62 percent) than do college degree-holders (38 percent). Though it’s difficult to know for sure which party will ultimately benefit the most from this widening “diploma divide,” it’s likely to continue molding both our politics and the culture in profound ways in the coming years.

Also at The Liberal Patriot, Ruy Teixera writes of the "Brahminization" of the Democratic Party:

Another indicator of the Brahminization of the Democratic Party is the current distribution of congressional seats. Democrats now dominate the more affluent districts while Republicans are cleaning up in the poorer districts. Marcy Kaptur, who represents Ohio’s working-class 9th district and is the longest-serving female member of the House in American history, has said of this pattern:
You could question yourself and say, well, the blue districts are the wealthiest districts, so it shows that the Democrats are doing better to lift people's incomes. The other way you could look at it is: how is it possible that Republicans are representing the majority of people who struggle? How is that possible?
How indeed. Kaptur has a two-page chart that arrays Congressional districts from highest median income to lowest with partisan control color-coded. The first page is heavily dominated by blue but the second, poorer page is a sea of red. You can access the chart here. It’s really quite striking. Overall, Republicans represent 152 of the 237 Congressional seats where the district median income trails the national figure.

In light of all this, consider how Democrats are proposing to run in 2024. First, they are not going to back down an inch on the party’s commitment to cultural leftism, a key marker of the party’s Brahmin turn. Indeed, they believe the abortion issue currently gives them cover in this area due to the Dobbs decision, where the party has been able to occupy center ground in opposition to significant parts of the GOP who wish to ban the procedure. But crime isn’t the abortion issue. Immigration isn’t the abortion issue. Race essentialism and gender ideology aren’t the abortion issue. Even the abortion issue isn’t the abortion issue once you get past opposing bans and start having to deal with the nitty-gritty of setting some limits on abortion access (as the public wants).

The fact is that the cultural left in and around the Democratic Party has managed to associate the party with a series of views on crime, immigration, policing, free speech, and of course race and gender that are quite far from those of the median working class voter (including the median nonwhite working-class voter). These unpopular views are further amplified by the Democrats’ “shadow party” (as John Judis and I put it in our forthcoming book, Where Have All the Democrats Gone?), the activist groups, think tanks, foundations, publications and websites, and big donors, and prestigious intellectuals who are not part of official party organizations, as well as within the Democratic Party infrastructure itself, all of which are thoroughly dominated by the cultural left.


Sunday, August 13, 2023

How Prosecutions Helped Trump Tighten His Grip on the GOP

Our most recent book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and Trump's disregard for law.

At NYT, Jonathan Swan, Ruth Igielnik, Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman report that the indictments have helped Trump tighten his grip on the GOP.

Right-wing media went from helping DeSantis to rallying behind Trump.
Mr. DeSantis’s office closely coordinated with Fox producers to create flattering segments, according to emails obtained by The Tampa Bay Times. His achievements in Florida — especially his handling of Covid — were heralded as heroic acts of governance in the face of leftist opposition. Fox programming centered on themes and villains that Mr. DeSantis had built his brand on fighting: transgender athletes, Dr. Anthony Fauci and all things “woke.”

But after Mr. Trump’s first indictment, the priorities of the conservative movement and its media ecosystem shifted

.Influential conservative talk radio hosts rallied behind Mr. Trump. Even commentators who liked Mr. DeSantis, such as Mark Levin, took on the indictments as a personal mission that seemed to override other priorities. Another right-wing personality, Glenn Beck, who used to warn about the dangers of Mr. Trump, went on Tucker Carlson’s now-canceled show on Fox, put on a MAGA hat and declared that “the America that we knew, the fundamental transformation that started in 2008, is finished.”
The party apparatus went from nominal neutrality to support.
But when Mr. Trump announced he was running for president on Nov. 15, top officials at the Republican National Committee knew they needed to stop pumping out the Trump emails. They wanted to avoid giving the appearance that they were playing favorites in the G.O.P. primary and therefore risk compromising their official neutrality. An analysis of the past 10 months of fund-raising emails from an online archive shows that between Mr. Trump’s announcement on Nov. 15 and late March the R.N.C. sent only one email that mentioned Mr. Trump in its subject line.

But on March 29, when rumors were swirling that the former president would soon be indicted in Manhattan, the R.N.C. ended its moratorium.
..The money flowed.
That first indictment poured rocket fuel into Mr. Trump’s online fund-raising machine. Mr. Trump had been averaging $129,000 raised per day in 2023 until that point, according to federal records. In the next three weeks he averaged more than $778,000 per day.

And the grassroots moved.

More than half of Republicans — including 77 percent of self-identified MAGA Republicans — said the indictments and investigations against Mr. Trump were an attack on people like them, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll taken soon after the most recent indictment. And 86 percent of Republicans felt the indictments were an attempt to stop Mr. Trump from campaigning.