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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Friday, November 24, 2023

The Stakes of a Trump Presidency

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

At The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein says that the Biden release sums up the president's strategy.  It is not a referendum on the incumbent as much as a choice between two incumbents.

The silver lining for Biden is that in Trump he has a polarizing potential opponent who might allow him to do just that. In the 2022 and 2023 elections, a crucial slice of voters down on the economy and Biden’s performance voted for Democrats in the key races anyway, largely because they viewed the Trump-aligned GOP alternatives as too extreme. And, though neither the media nor the electorate is yet paying full attention, Trump in his 2024 campaign is regularly unveiling deeply divisive policy positions (such as mass deportation and internment camps for undocumented immigrants) and employing extremist and openly racist language (echoing fascist dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in describing his political opponents as “vermin”). Eventually, Trump’s excesses could shape the 2024 election as much as Biden’s record will.
If the GOP renominates Trump, attitudes about the challenger might overshadow views about the incumbent to an unprecedented extent, the veteran GOP pollster Bill McInturff believes. McInturff told me that in his firm’s polling over the years, most voters usually say that when a president seeks reelection, their view about the incumbent is what most influences their decision about whom to support. But in a recent national survey McInturff’s firm conducted with a Democratic partner for NBC, nearly three-fifths of voters said that their most important consideration in a Trump-Biden rematch would be their views of the former president.

“I have never seen a number like this NBC result between an incumbent and ‘challenger,’” McInturff told me in an email. “If 2024 is a Biden versus Trump campaign, we are in uncharted waters.”

 Philip Bump at WP:

I was driving with my kids on Sunday, mind wandering as I steered. I was looking at a cluster of leafless trees when the first words from a social media post by Donald Trump popped into my mind.

“2024 is our final battle.”


Trump has used this expression a lot this year. He used it at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He used it at his first campaign rally in Waco, Tex. — an event that came during the 30th anniversary of the deadly standoff between government agents and a religious cult in that city. He used it again when speaking to Turning Point Action this summer. Over and over, the same framing: The final battle is nigh.


So we arrive at the final battle. If your immediate point of reference for that phrase wasn’t to the Book of Revelation’s depiction of the apocalypse, you are probably not a Trump supporter. (A 2012 poll from PRRI found that the religious group most likely to say that the end times as predicted in Revelation would occur during their lives was evangelicals.)