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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Debate over country song is a right-wing trap for Democrats.

The debate over the song “Try That in a Small Town” is an excellent example of a particularly devious right-wing extremist trap – one that the GOP will use against Democrats again and again in 2024. Dems need to understand what the trap is designed to accomplish, how it works and how to defend against it.

Read the Memo.

A Democratic Political Strategy for Reaching Working Class Voters That Starts from the Actual “Class Consciousness” of Modern Working Americans.

by Andrew Levison

Read the Memo

Progressives need to apologize to Oliver Anthony

He understands working people better than they do, he can talk to them better than they can.

Read the Memo.

Why Don’t Working People Recognize and Appreciate Democratic Programs and Policies

The mythology of “Franklin Roosevelt’s Hundred Days” and the Modern Debate Over “Deliverism.”

Read the Memo.

Innovative Study Offers New Insight into White Working Class Voters.

Innovative Study Provides Startling New Insight About Working Class Voters
By Andrew Levison

Read the memo.

Democrats Will Lose Elections in 2022 and 2024 if They do Not Offer a Plausible Strategy for Reducing the Surge of Immigrants at the Border.

Read on…

The Daily Strategist

December 2, 2023

Dionne: Time to face Democracy’s Twin Threats

In “Democracy faces two threats. Trump is only one of them,” Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes:

Over the next year, the survival of democracy should be the central issue in American politics. To insist on this is to be a realist, not an alarmist. But making that case requires identifying two distinct threats.

The first is Donald Trump, who is already at the center of our national conversation. The second is the ongoing assault on voting rights, which rarely commands the airwaves.

Let’s start with the good news: It has become untenable to treat Trump as a normal presidential candidate, thanks to his own evermore radical rhetoric, starting with his pledges to use the Justice Department as a tool for revenge against political enemies. The result is a partial but welcome shift in journalistic coverage recognizing Trump’s journey into what the New York Times called “more fascist-sounding territory.” The Economist, no avatar of left-wing politics, received wide attention for declaring that Trump “poses the biggest danger to the world in 2024.”
However, Dionne writes, “We are paying far less attention to the long-term deterioration of the right to vote, the essential building block of a democratic republic. It’s easier to overlook because chipping away at access to the ballot has been a subtle, decade-long process. It began with the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision that gutted Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, thus sharply circumscribing the Justice Department’s power to enforce the law.” Further,
This led to an explosion of state abuses, including discriminatory voter-identification laws, targeted purges of electoral rolls, gerrymanders that undercut minority representation and changes in early-voting rules that often advantaged some groups over others.
Because such moves fall short of the wholesale disenfranchisement of Black voters during the Jim Crow era — it ended with the Voting Rights Act’s passage in 1965 — defenders of today’s restrictions insist they are not discriminating against anyone. But making it harder for some people to vote — often in the name of preventing the falsely imagined “voter fraud” that is at the heart of Trump’s election denial — is no less an attack on democracy.

Also, “In his decision in Shelby, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. claimed that even without a strong Section 4, the Voting Rights Act bans discrimination under Section 2, which “is permanent, applies nationwide, and is not at issue in this case.” In addition,

Permanent? Not if the 2-1 decision last week from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit is allowed to stand….The court’s majority arrogantly tossed aside what Congress explicitly said it was doing when it passed the law, claiming miraculous powers to read the “text and structure” of the act as preventing private parties, including civil rights groups, from bringing cases under Section 2. As the Atlantic’s Adam Serwer noted, the ruling’s claim that only the Justice Department had this authority ignored “Congress’s intentions, Supreme Court precedent and decades of practice.”

This is no minor bit of judicial activism. Rick Hasen, a law professor at UCLA, wrote in the Election Law Blog that the ruling would eliminate the bulk of the cases aimed at protecting voting rights because “the vast majority of claims to enforce section 2 of the Voting Rights Act are brought by private plaintiffs, not the Department of Justice with limited resources.” Bye bye, Voting Rights Act. Indeed, there were immediate signs (in a key Louisiana case, for example) that the 8th Circuit ruling would be used to overturn earlier voting rights actions.

“Preventing Trump from overthrowing liberal democracy is certainly a necessary step,” Dionne argues, “but it’s not sufficient. Renewing the fight for a new Voting Rights Act and the access-enhancing reforms in the Freedom to Vote Act is essential. But it’s also time to address one of the major flaws of our Constitution: It does not contain an explicit, affirmative guarantee of every citizen’s right to vote. Enacting a constitutional amendment that would do so, Hasen argues, would bring our voting wars to an inclusive conclusion.
“Why do we let the state put barriers in front of people when they exercise their right to vote?” Hasen asked in an interview. The director of UCLA’s Safeguarding Democracy Project, Hasen details his proposed amendment and the case for it in a forthcoming book, “A Real Right to Vote.” A carefully framed amendment, he argues, could simultaneously protect voter access and assure election integrity. He’d link automatic voter registration with a nationwide, universal, nondiscriminatory form of voter identification.

Dionne concludes, “Polarization makes amending the Constitution nearly impossible these days, one reason Hasen addresses fears on both the left and the right. But whatever chances Hasen’s amendment has, it calls on Americans to address the most important question facing our democracy: Are we truly committed to being a democracy? We’ll decide that at the ballot box next November, but we’ll have a lot more work to do even if we get the initial answer right.”

Biden Has a Relatively Low Popularity Requirement for Beating Trump

Staring at the polls and recent precedents, I offered some blunt thoughts at New York on exactly how popular Biden needs to be in 2024:

There’s abundant evidence that if it were held today, a general election rematch of Joe Biden and Donald Trump would show the 46th president in serious trouble. He’s trailing Trump in national and most battleground-state polls, his job-approval rating is at or below 40 percent, his 2020 electoral base is very shaky, and the public mood, particularly on the economy, is decidedly sour.

The standard response of Biden loyalists to the bad recent polling news is to say “The election is a year away!,” as though public-opinion data this far out is useless. But it’s only useless if Biden turns things around, and while there’s plenty of time for that to happen, there has to be a clear sense of what he needs to secure victory and how to go about meeting those needs. Vox’s Andrew Prokop provides a good summary of possible explanations for Biden’s current position:

“One theory: Biden is blowing it — the polls are a clear warning sign that the president has unique flaws as a candidate, and another Democrat would likely be doing better.

“A second theory: Biden’s facing a tough environment — voters have decided they don’t like the economy or the state of the world, and, fairly or not, he’s taking the brunt of it.

“And a third theory: Biden’s bad numbers will get better — voters aren’t even paying much attention yet, and as the campaign gears up, the president will bounce back.”

The first theory, in my opinion, is irrelevant; Biden isn’t going to change his mind about running for reelection, and it’s simply too late for any other Democrat to push him aside. And the second and third theories really point to the same conclusion: The president is currently too unpopular to win in 2024 and needs to find a way to change the dynamics of a general-election contest with Trump.

There’s not much question that Biden needs to improve his popularity at least modestly. There is only one president in living memory with job-approval ratings anything like Biden’s going into his reelection year who actually won; that would be Harry Truman in 1948, and there’s a reason his successful reelection is regarded as one of the great upsets in American political history. There are others, including Barack Obama, who looked pretty toasty at this point in a first term and still won reelection but who managed to boost their popularity before Election Day (Obama boosted his job-approval rating, per Gallup, from 42 percent at the end of November 2011 to 52 percent when voters went to the polls 11 months later).

Given the current state of partisan polarization, it’s unlikely Biden can get majority job approval next year even with the most fortunate set of circumstances. But the good news for him is that he probably doesn’t have to. Job-approval ratings are crucial indicators in a normal presidential reelection cycle that is basically a referendum on the incumbent’s record. Assuming Trump is the Republican nominee, 2024 will not be a normal reelection cycle for three reasons.

First, this would be the exceedingly rare election matching two candidates with presidential records to defend, making it inherently a comparative election (it has happened only once, in 1888, when President Benjamin Harrison faced former president Grover Cleveland). In some respects (most crucially, perceptions of the economy), the comparison might favor Trump. In many others (e.g., Trump’s two impeachments and insurrectionary actions feeding his current legal peril), the comparison will likely favor Biden.

Second, Trump is universally known and remains one of the most controversial figures in American political history. It’s not as though he will have an opportunity to remold his persona or repudiate words and actions that make him simply unacceptable to very nearly half the electorate. Trump’s favorability ratio (40 percent to 55 percent, per RealClearPolitics polling averages) is identical to Biden’s.

And third, Trump seems determined to double down on the very traits that make him so controversial. His second-term plans are straightforwardly authoritarian, and his rhetoric of dehumanizing and threatening revenge against vast swaths of Americans is getting notably and regularly harsher.

So Biden won’t have to try very hard to make 2024 a comparative — rather than a self-referendum — election. And his strategic goal is simply to make himself more popular than his unpopular opponent while winning at least a draw among the significant number of voters who don’t particularly like either candidate.

This last part won’t be easy. Trump won solidly in both 2016 and 2020 among voters who said they didn’t like either major-party candidate (the saving grace for Biden was that there weren’t that many of them in 2020; there will probably be an awful lot of them next November). So inevitably, the campaign will need to ensure that every persuadable voter has a clear and vivid understanding of Trump’s astounding character flaws and extremist tendencies. What will make this process even trickier is the availability of robust independent and minor-party candidates who could win a lot of voters disgusted by a Biden-Trump rock fight.

So the formula for a Biden reelection is to do everything possible to boost his job-approval ratings up into the mid-40s or so and then go after Trump with all the abundant ammunition the 45th president has provided him. The more popular Biden becomes, the more he can go back to the “normalcy” messaging that worked (albeit narrowly) in 2020.

If the economy goes south or overseas wars spread or another pandemic appears, not even the specter of an unleashed and vengeful authoritarian in the White House will likely save Biden; the same could be true if Uncle Joe suffers a health crisis or public lapses in his powers of communication. But there’s no reason he cannot win reelection with some luck and skill — and with the extraordinary decision of the opposition party to insist on nominating Trump for a third time. Yes, the 45th president has some political strengths of his own, but he would uniquely help Biden overcome the difficulty of leading a profoundly unhappy nation.

Political Strategy Notes

At Maddowblog Steve Benen reports: “One need not be a political expert to know what issues Republicans see as their strengths. If it were up to GOP leaders, the public conversation would focus entirely on inflation, border security and crime — not because the party has solutions to any of these challenges, but because polls tend to show that voters favor Republicans more than Democrats on these issues….That said, there are plenty of issues that favor Democrats, most notably health care. A recent national survey from NBC News found the party with a 23-point advantage over the GOP on health care, which is one of the reasons Republicans generally avoid the subject….It was against that backdrop that Donald Trump apparently thought it’d be a good idea to publish this message to his social media platform on Saturday morning, telling Americans that he’s “seriously looking at alternatives” to “Obamacare.” The former president went on to complain about Republican senators who failed to “terminate” the Affordable Care Act in 2017, concluding, “[B]ut we should never give up!”….The public comments coincided with a written statement from the president’s re-election campaign. “Forty million people — more than 1 in 10 Americans — have health insurance today because of the Affordable Care Act and Donald Trump just said he would try to rip it away if he returns to power,” spokesperson Ammar Moussa said. “He was one vote away from getting it done when he was president — and we should take him at his word that he’ll try to do it again….“That means letting insurance companies deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions like diabetes, cancer, or asthma; kicking college kids off their parents’ coverage the moment they graduate; leaving a job once again resulting in a loss of coverage; premiums skyrocketing; and middle class families suffering. Donald Trump’s America is one where millions of people lose their health insurance and seniors and families across the country face exorbitant costs just to stay healthy. Those are the stakes next November….If Democrats were to have literally written a script for Trump to follow, they probably would’ve had the Republican pick a fight over the future of the ACA. It was awfully generous of him to play along for no apparent reason.”

“The problem for Biden is that Republicans have shown themselves over time to be brilliant at setting campaign narratives,” Colorado Sun columnist Mike Litton writes. “And the narratives that Biden is too old, that the economy sucks, that the border situation is in crisis make the job fairly easy….Trump may be slightly ahead in the polls, but no one is really running against him yet. The Republican pretenders, other than Chris Christie, have to be provoked to even mention him. It took Nikki Haley days — and only after she was asked — to note that Trump’s use of  “vermin” may not have been the best choice of words. I don’t think Ron DeSantis ever commented on it…. Even Biden has been trying to make the campaign about his own successes, which is the usual strategy for an incumbent. But there are two incumbents in this race. And what we know is that whenever Trump is on the ballot, voters inevitably choose between the candidate who is Trump and the candidate who’s not Trump….The candidate who is Trump is campaigning as a would-be strong man, as a democracy-defying defendant facing 91 charges in multiple courtrooms, as an immigrant basher who promises to round up undocumented immigrants by the millions, as the president who appointed the Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade….That should be enough, but we learned in 2016 how these things can go….The way to beat Trump is to remind voters that he is Trump, as Biden did four years ago. A younger, more vibrant Democrat could probably have done that better. But at this point the question is not whether it’s time for Democrats to panic, but what they do to make sure Biden can pull off that trick, and beat Trump, one more time.”

Has No Labels Become a Stalking Horse for Trump?,’ NYT columnist Thomas B. Edsall asks, and writes, “After its founding in 2010, the group was praised by moderates in both parties as a force for cooperation and consensus. Now, however, No Labels is a target of criticism because of its plan to place presidential and vice-presidential nominees of its choosing on the 2024 ballot — a step that could tip the outcome in favor of Donald Trump if he once again wins the Republican nomination….No Labels officials contend that their polling suggests that their ticket could win….Numerous factors exacerbate the suspicion that whatever its intentions are (or were), the organization has functionally become an asset to the Trump campaign and a threat to the re-election of Joe Biden….Leaks to the media that prominent Republican donors, including Harlan Crow, Justice Clarence Thomas’s benefactor, are contributing to No Labels — which is well on its way to raising $70 million — suggest that some major donors to No Labels see the organization as a means to promote Republican goals….No Labels, in turn, has declined to disclose its donors, and the secrecy has served to intensify the concern that some of its contributors are using the organization’s plan to run a third-party ticket to weaken the Biden campaign….“No Labels,” Representative Abigail Spanberger, Democrat of Virginia, declared, “is wasting time, energy and money on a bizarre effort that confuses and divides voters and has one obvious outcome — re-electing Donald Trump as president.”….An NBC survey in September found that the presence of third-party candidates on the ballot would shift the outcome from a 46-to-46 tie to a 39-to-36 Trump advantage over Biden.”

“Equally important,’ Edsall adds,  “NBC also found that the strongest appeal of third-party candidates is among constituencies Biden must carry, including voters pollsters call persuadable; low-income, working-class and middle-class voters of color; and voters who said they “somewhat” disapproved of Biden….In the media, the potential No Labels candidates most commonly mentioned are Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, who is 76 and recently announced his retirement from the Senate, and Larry Hogan, who is 67 and a former Republican governor of Maryland. The organization could also pick someone outside politics, including a military or corporate leader….Many Democratic leaders and organizations — including Nancy Pelosi, a former House speaker; state Democratic chairs; Third Way, a Democratic think tank; and advisers to President Biden — contend that a No Labels candidate in the race would probably doom Biden’s chances of re-election….No Labels is gearing up to pick a third-party presidential ticket without the constraints and safeguards of primary elections and caucus contests….William Galston, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and one of the 2010 founders of No Labels, resigned from the group this year in protest over the group’s plan to run presidential candidates….Over Galston’s objections, No Labels began “in 2022 to explore the possibility of an independent bipartisan ticket,” he wrote in an email to me. He objected, he said, “not only because I thought this plan had no chance of succeeding but also because I believed that anything that could divide the anti-Trump coalition was too risky to undertake.”….Ultimately, Galston continued, he decided he “did not want to be associated with a venture that I believed (and continue to believe) will increase Donald Trump’s chances of re-entering the Oval Office.”….I asked Fred Wertheimer, the founder and president of Democracy 21, a campaign-finance-reform organization, for his assessment. “In my view,” he replied, “when No Labels started qualifying in various states to be on the ballot to run a presidential candidate, they were functioning as a political organization under I.R.S. law and should have registered as such under section 527 of the I.R.S. code and disclosed their donors.”

Biden, Trump and Young Voters

I decided to add my analytical two cents at New York to the political topic many Democrats are worried about right now: the direction of the youth vote.

Until recently, Democrats’ biggest concern about the 2024 youth vote was that millennial and Gen-Z voters were so disappointed with our octogenarian president that they might not turn out in great enough numbers to reelect Joe Biden. Young voters were, after all, the largest and most rapidly growing segment of the Democratic base in the last election. But now public-opinion surveys are beginning to unveil a far more terrifying possibility: Donald Trump could carry the youth vote next year. And even if that threat is exaggerated or reversible, it’s increasingly clear that “the kids” may be swing voters, not unenthusiastic Democratic base voters who can be frightened into turning out by the prospect of Trump’s return.

NBC News reports it’s a polling trend that cannot be ignored or dismissed:

“The latest national NBC News poll finds President Joe Biden trailing former President Donald Trump among young voters ages 18 to 34 — with Trump getting support from 46% of these young voters and Biden getting 42%. …

“CNN’s recent national poll had Trump ahead of Biden by 1 point among voters ages 18 to 34.

“Quinnipiac University had Biden ahead by 9 points in that subgroup.

“The national Fox News poll had Biden up 7 points among that age group.

“And the recent New York Times/Siena College battleground state polling had Biden ahead by just 1 point among voters ages 18 to 34.”

According to Pew’s validated voters analysis (which is a lot more precise than exit polls), Biden won under-30 voters by a 59 percent to 35 percent margin in 2020. Biden actually won the next age cohort, voters 30 to 49 years old, by a 55 percent to 43 percent margin. In 2016, Pew reports, Hillary Clinton won under-30 voters by a 58 percent to 28 percent margin, and voters 30 to 44 by 51 percent to 40 percent.

So one baby-boomer Democrat and one silent-generation Democrat kicked Trump’s butt among younger voters, despite the fact that both of them had their butts kicked among younger primary voters by Bernie Sanders. It’s these sort of numbers that led to a lot of optimistic talk about younger-generation voters finally building the durable Democratic majority that had eluded the party for so many years.

What’s gone wrong?

For one thing, it’s important to note that yesterday’s younger voters aren’t today’s, as Nate Silver reminds us:

“Fully a third of voters in the age 18-29 bracket in the 2020 election (everyone aged 26 or older) will have aged out of it by 2024, as will two-thirds of the age 18-to-29 voters from the 2016 election and all of them from 2012. So if you’re inclined to think something like “gee, did all those young voters who backed the Obama-Biden ticket in 2012 really turn on Biden now?”, stop doing that. Those voters are now in the 30-to-41 age bracket instead.”

But even within relatively recent groups of young voters, there are plenty of micro- and macro-level explanations available for changing allegiances. Young voters share the national unhappiness with the performance of the economy; many are particularly afflicted by high basic-living costs and higher interest rates that make buying a home or even a car unusually difficult. Some of them are angry at Biden for his inability (mostly thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court) to cancel student-loan debts. And most notoriously, young voters are least likely to share Biden’s strong identification with Israel in its ongoing war with Hamas (a new NBC poll shows 70 percent of 18-to-34-year-old voters disapprove of Biden’s handling of the war).

More generally, intergenerational trust issues are inevitably reflected in perceptions of the president who is turning 81 this week, as youth-vote expert John Della Volpe recently explained:

“Today many young people see wars, problems and mistakes originating from the older generations in top positions of power and trickling down to harm those most vulnerable and least equipped to protect themselves. This is the fabric that connects so many young people today, regardless of ideology. This new generation of empowered voters is therefore asking across a host of issues: If not now, then when is the time for a new approach?”

All of these factors help explain why younger voters have soured on Uncle Joe and might be open to independent or minor-party candidates (e.g., Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel WestJill Stein, or a possible No Labels candidate). But they don’t cast as much light on why these same voters might ultimately cast a ballot for Donald Trump.

Trump is less than four years younger than Biden and is about as un-hip an oldster as one can imagine. He’s responsible for the destruction of federal abortion rights, a deeply unpopular development among youth voters (post-election surveys in 2022 showed abortion was the No. 1 issue among under-30 voters; 72 percent of them favored keeping abortion legal in all or most cases). His reputation for racism, sexism, and xenophobia ought to make him anathema to voters for whom the slogan “Make America Great Again” doesn’t have much personal resonance. And indeed, young voters have some serious issues with the 45th president, even beyond the subject of abortion. In the recent New York Times–Siena battleground state poll that showed Trump and Biden about even among under-30 voters, fully 64 percent of these same voters opposed “making it harder for migrants at the southern border to seek asylum in the United States,” a signature Trump position if ever there was one.

At the same time, under-30 voters in the Times-Siena survey said they trusted Trump more on the Israel-Hamas conflict than Biden by a robust 49 percent to 39 percent margin. The 45th president, needless to say, has never shown any sympathy for the Palestinian plight. And despite the ups and downs in his personal relationship to Bibi Netanyahu, he was as close an ally to Israel’s Likud Party as you could imagine (among other things, Trump reversed a long-standing U.S. position treating Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank as a violation of international law and also moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a gesture of great contempt toward Palestinian statehood). His major policy response to the present war has been to propose a revival of the Muslim travel ban the courts prevented him from implementing during his first term.

But perceptions often differ sharply from reality. Sixty-two percent of 18-to-29-year-old and 61 percent of 40-to-44-year-old voters said they trusted Trump more than Biden on the economy in the Times-Siena survey. It’s unclear whether these voters have the sort of hazy positive memories of the economy under Trump that older cohorts seem to be experiencing or if they instead simply find the status quo intolerable.

In any event, the estrangement of young voters provides the most urgent evidence of all that Team Biden and its party need to remind voters aggressively about Trump’s full-spectrum unfitness for another term in the White House. Aside from his deeply reactionary position on abortion and other cultural issues, and his savage attitude toward immigrants, Trump’s economic-policy history shows him prioritizing tax cuts for higher earners and exhibiting hostility to student-loan-debt relief (which he has called “very unfair to the millions and millions of people who paid their debt through hard work and diligence”). Smoking out the 45th president on what “Trumponomics” might mean for young and nonwhite Americans should become at least as central to the Biden reelection strategy as improving the reputation of “Bidenomics.” And without question, Democrats who may be divided on the Israel-Hamas war should stop fighting each other long enough to make it clear that Republicans (including Trump) would lead cheers for the permanent Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank while agitating for war with Iran.

There’s no world in which Donald Trump should be the preferred presidential candidate of young voters. But it will require serious work by Team Biden not only to turn these voters against the embodiment of their worst nightmares but to get them involved in the effort to keep him away from power.

Brownstein: How Biden Might Recover

In “How Biden Might Recover” at The Atlantic,  Ronald Brownstein writes: “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.

Brownstein notes further, “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.”

In addition, “Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University political scientist, said the principal reason presidents now appear more capable of surviving discontent about their performance is the rise of negative partisanship. That’s the phrase he and other political scientists use to describe a political environment in which many voters are motivated primarily by their belief that the other party represents an unacceptable threat to their values and vision of America. “Emphasizing the negative results of electing your opponent has become a way of unifying your party,” Abramowitz told me.”

However, “Jim Messina, the campaign manager for Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection, reflected the changing thinking when he told me he does not believe that Biden needs to reach majority approval to win another term. “I don’t think it’s a requirement,” Messina said. “It might be if we are dealing with an open race with two nonpresidents. People forget that they are both incumbents. Neither one of them is going to get to 50 percent in approval. What you are trying to drive is the choice.”….

Another consideration Browstein points out, “Trump has already laid out a much more militantly conservative and overtly authoritarian agenda than he ran on in 2016 or 2020. His proposals include the mass deportation of and internment camps for undocumented immigrants, gutting the civil service, invoking the Insurrection Act to quash public protests, and openly deploying the Justice Department against his political enemies. If Trump is the GOP nominee, Democratic advertising will ensure that voters in the decisive swing states are much more aware of his agenda and often-venomous rhetoric than they are today. (The Biden campaign has started issuing near-daily press releases calling out Trump’s most extreme proposals.).”

However, “In a recent national poll by Marquette University Law School, nearly twice as many voters said they trusted Trump rather than Biden to handle both the economy and immigration. The Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg released a survey last week of the nine most competitive presidential states, in which even the Democratic “base of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, LGBTQ+ community, Gen Z, millennials, unmarried and college women give Trump higher approval ratings than Biden.” Among all voters in those crucial states, the share that said they thought Trump did a good job as president was nearly 10 percentage points higher than the group that gives Biden good grades now.

“The problem for Trump’s team,” Brownstein adds, “is that he constantly pushes the boundaries of what the public might accept. Holding his strong current level of support in polls among Hispanics, for instance, may become much more difficult for Trump after Democrats spend more advertising dollars highlighting his plans to establish internment camps for undocumented immigrants, his refusal to rule out reprising his policy of separating migrant children from their parents, and his threats to use military force inside Mexico. Trump’s coming trials on 91 separate criminal charges will test the public’s tolerance in other ways: Even a recent New York Times/Siena College poll showing Trump leading Biden in most of the key swing states found that the results could flip if the former president is convicted.”

Brownstein concludes, “rump presents opponents with an almost endless list of vulnerabilities. But Biden’s own vulnerabilities have lifted Trump to a stronger position in recent polls than he achieved at any point in the 2020 race. These polls aren’t prophecies of how voters will make their decisions next November if they are forced to choose again between Biden and Trump. But they are a measure of how much difficult work Biden has ahead to win either a referendum or a choice against the man he ousted four years ago.”

Halpin: Legacy Media and Political Polarization

The following article by John Halpin, president and executive editor of The Liberal Patriot. is cross-posted from The Liberal Patriot: 

People often finger social media as the primary culprit in America’s increasingly bitter and divided politics. As the argument goes, corporate tech algorithms and consumer choices are forcing people into closed-looped information circuits full of misinformation, political self-righteousness, and acrimony toward others.

If you happen to spend any time on these social media platforms, you might agree with this assessment. However, the empirical question remains: Are the users of social media any more partisan or ideological than consumers of other types of media?

Looking at data from the recent TLP/YouGov polling of 3098 registered voters conducted in September 2023, the answer is not as simple as conventional wisdom dictates. It turns out, consumers of traditional media—mainly cable news, network television, radio, and national newspapers—exhibit far greater partisan imbalances than do consumers of the biggest social media platforms.

For context, the survey asked respondents, “In the past week, did you get any news from any of the following sources?” and allowed people to make multiple selections.

As the chart below shows, local television remains the most used media source for news information chosen by 41 percent of voters overall. News websites and apps come in second at 33 percent followed by a cluster of different sources including Fox News (28 percent), Facebook (28 percent), CNN (27 percent), and YouTube (26 percent). Notably, national print newspapers were selected by only 9 percent of voters—almost equal to those Americans getting news from the social media video platform, TikTok, at 10 percent. Seven percent of voters overall report not getting news from any of these sources.

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Looking at the crosstabs on media usage, the overlap in news consumption is interesting. For example, 54 percent of those who tune into CNN also get news from local television, and 40 percent get news from Facebook. Likewise, 53 percent of those who tune into Fox get news from local television, and 37 percent get news from Facebook. On the social media side, 52 percent of TikTok news consumers also turn to CNN for news, 54 percent watch YouTube, and 59 percent get news on Facebook.

To gauge the partisan leanings of different consumers, I examined the breakdown of media consumers on President Biden’s job approval, which stood at 45 percent approve and 53 percent disapprove among all voters in September. (Job approval and disapproval seems like a more representative measure of political beliefs than the national horserace at this stage, but the patterns are broadly matched in terms of Biden or Trump support.)

As the table below highlights, legacy media users emerge as the most skewed American consumers of media in terms of their approval or disapproval of President Biden—particularly cable news viewers.

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For example, among those who get news from CNN and MSNBC, Biden’s job approval is an impressive 72 and 78 percent, respectively—more than 25 points higher than his approval ratings nationally. Conversely, only one quarter or less of those who get their news from Fox, One America News Network, and Newsmax approve of the job Biden is going as president, around 20 points lower than the national average. Consumers of national newspapers and national network news also exhibit much higher approval of President Biden than voters nationally, and when compared to consumers of local newspapers or local television. On the flip side, radio news consumers exhibit higher than average disapproval of Biden.

In contrast, users of an array of social media platforms—including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and other social media (including LinkedIn and Instagram) appear more evenly split in their evaluations of the president. Among voters who get news from either Facebook or YouTube, an equal 49 percent approve and disapprove of Biden. And although both Twitter and TikTok users overall emerge slightly more pro-Biden than the national average, their approval or disapproval is much less pronounced than that among cable news viewers.

This is just one poll, of course. But these results cut against the grain of most commentary on America’s political divides.

If analysts are looking for the information roots of America’s most intense political polarization, they might want to examine the consumer bases and news content of legacy media sources as much as they scrutinize social media platforms.

The viewers of different cable news channels, and readers of national newspapers or listeners of radio, constitute vastly different (and more one-sided) partisan worlds than most people on social media platforms with a cacophony of voices and partisan inclinations.

Social media often gets dinged for partisan self-selection and ideological reinforcement, which certainly goes on to some extent, but these data show that the sharpest partisans splits are more prominently found among consumers of traditional cable, print, network news, and radio sources.

Political Strategy Notes

William A. Galston explains “What Today’s Working Class Wants from Political Leaders” at Brookings: “A second PPI report, a public opinion survey conducted in partnership with YouGov, investigates working-class sentiments and beliefs.1 While these voters harbor reservations about both political parties, they align more with Republicans than with Democrats on most of the matters that concern them….On the face of it, working-class voters would appear to be evenly divided in their view of the political parties. Thirty-eight percent trust the Democrats more to put the interests of working-class voters first, while 37% trust the Republicans more. Thirty-six percent see the Democratic Party is more committed to governing and problem-solving than in waging partisan warfare, while 34% see the Republican Party in this light….But this apparent even division is inconsistent with the voting behavior of America’s working class. In 2020, Joe Biden outpaced Donald Trump by 24 percentage points among voters with a college degree or more while losing to Trump by 8 points among those with less than a bachelor’s degree.  Among white voters with less than a bachelor’s, Trump prevailed by 32 points, and Trump also did 25 points better among Hispanic voters with less than a college degree than he did among college-educated Hispanics….The PPI poll helps us understand why this is so. Forty-five percent of working-class voters, it found, believe that the Democratic Party has moved “too far to the left,” and 40% see it as heavily influenced by “special interests like public sector unions, environmental activists, and academics.” They trust Republicans over Democrats to manage a growing economy, promote entrepreneurship and keep America ahead in new technologies, control public debt and deficits, handle immigration, reduce crime and protect public safety, and make public schools more responsive to parents. Democrats lead in only three areas: combatting climate change, managing America’s clean air transition, and respecting our democratic institutions and elections (the last by a narrow margin of 39% to 34%).”

Galston notes, “Moving from specific issues to broader themes, working-class voters think Republicans do better in protecting personal freedom, strengthening private enterprise, respecting hard work and individual initiative, and creating economic opportunities for working Americans. On what many Democrats believe is the center economic and social issue—making America fairer—their party only ties the Republicans in the eyes of these voters….To be sure, Republicans still have an affluence problem. By a margin of 41% to 31%, working-class voters believe that the Republican Party represents the interests of the wealthy more than the Democratic Party does, and 38% believe that the Republicans are too influenced by wealthy donors. But to judge from the results at polling booths, these reservations about Republicans are not as weighty for working-class voters as is their long litany of complaints about Democrats….Progressive Democrats may be surprised to learn that working-class voters do not share their understanding of the proper role of government in the economy. Although 65% of working-class voters believe that the economy is controlled by the rich for their own benefit, just 19% of them want a large federal government focused on issues such as inequality and the distribution of wealth, compared to 34% who want a smaller federal government that spends and taxes less. A plurality of these voters—47%—opt for a middle course: a federal government that actively steers the economy, but mainly by promoting and protecting free markets….Twenty-one percent strongly support what Biden has done on the economy, but 35% strongly oppose it. Overall, 46% support the president’s agenda with varying degrees of enthusiasm while 47% oppose it….Asked to name the most significant challenge facing the economy today, 36% said “the high cost of living” while an additional 33% said “inflation is outpacing the economy.” Asked to explain these negative developments, 55% said that “government went overboard with stimulus spending, overheating the economy,” compared to 29% who pointed to the aftereffects of the pandemic and 16% who blamed bottlenecks in the supply chain.”

Galston adds, “Although Democrats have scored solid gains among college-educated Americans in recent electoral cycles, policies to support them find little favor with the working class. Fifty-six percent of these voters oppose debt relief for college student borrowers on the grounds that such action is unfair to the majority of Americans who don’t get college degrees and will increase costs for both students and taxpayers over the long term. Asked about the policies most likely to help working people get ahead, 10% named student loan forgiveness and 15% backed a federal government push for stronger labor unions while 74% opted for public investment in apprenticeships and career pathways to help non-college workers upgrade their skills. When asked for their views about policies that would help them personally to get ahead, their responses formed a similar pattern. Six percent mentioned joining a union and nine percent, getting a four-year college degree. By contrast, 69% mentioned apprenticeships with companies or other forms of short-term training programs that combine learning with work….Overall, the PPI survey documents a pervasive sense of decline among working-class Americans. By a margin of 66% to 21%, they believe that people like them are worse off today than they were 40 years ago. Interestingly, they do not identify a single dominant cause for this decline: roughly equal numbers blame immigration, trade, automation, de-unionization, bad government programs, and cultural change. While they do not express great confidence in either political party to turn around this decline, they lean toward an “America First” stance on issues such as immigration and trade. But they do not accept Republicans’ hardline views on criminal justice and policing, and they are deeply concerned about social conservatives’ efforts to ban books from school libraries and restrict access to reproductive health services for women. Still, when asked which president in recent decades had done the most for average working families, 44% named Donald Trump, compared to just 12% for Joe Biden.”

From “Pollster sees hope for Biden: “Republicans are in far greater trouble than is generally understood: Trump needs 95% of Republicans to have a chance of winning. Simon Rosenberg explains “he’s very far away from that” by Chauncey Devega’s interview of Rosenberg at Salon: “Democratic Party strategist and commentator Simon Rosenberg rejects the consensus view that President Biden is already done for. Rosenberg’s insights merit very careful consideration: He was one of the few experts who predicted that the so-called Republican “red wave” was actually a chimera….In this conversation, Rosenberg explains why President Biden and the Democrats are in a much stronger position than Donald Trump and the Republicans heading into the 2024 election and why he thinks so many of the early 2024 election polls are incorrect….How are you feeling given Trump and the Republican fascists’ escalating threats to democracy?  I’m tired. But I’m also exhilarated by our continued strong electoral performances all across the country going back to 2017. In particular, the Democrats have been winning elections since the [Supreme Court’s] Dobbs decision in Spring 2022. We are winning across the country, in every kind of race — mayoral races, school board races, in governor’s races in red states, and on ballot initiatives. It leaves me deeply optimistic about 2024. In rte4sponse to other questions, Rosenberg notes, “As shown by how the Democrats have been winning in every type of race across the country now for a year and a half, that is a sign of institutional and organizational strength. The Democratic Party is very strong right now. By comparison, the Republican Party is very weak institutionally….there is no way to scrub Trump, to put lipstick on the Trump pig, or to dress him up and make him something other than the most dangerous candidate in the history of American politics. And it just gives me hope that people have been voting against MAGA and the Republicans repeatedly, especially, in the battleground states. If we have a normal election the Democrats should win next year — even with Joe Biden and all of his limitations. But at the end of the day, he’s been a good president. And he’s got a strong case for reelection….This idea that as the electorate gets bigger, it gets more Republican is false. The Democrats have won more votes in the last seven out of eight elections than the Republicans. No political party has done that in American history….Trump is only at 60%. 40% of Republican primary voters are not with him. That’s a huge problem. Trump can’t lose any Republicans. He’s the weak candidate. Trump is struggling to pull his coalition back together….I think the issues around abortion, as we’ve seen, are creating openings with Republican and independent women that are unprecedented. The Republicans have no way now to mitigate the political damage that abortion has done to them or will do to them again in 2024.”

Political Strategy Notes

In “This may be Biden’s best hope of reversing his slide with Black and brown voters,” Ronald Browntein writes at CNN Politics: “A wide array of recent polls shows Biden with an unusually small lead for a Democrat among both Black and Latino voters in a potential 2024 rematch with Trump. But many analysts say it’s less clear that Democrats are facing a lasting structural realignment among those voters – much less a change rooted in a long-term cultural alienation from the party – rather than immediate dissatisfaction with the economy under Biden….“I keep looking for it as well, but you are not seeing as much evidence for a culture war driving any kind of change at this moment,” said Carlos Odio, senior vice president for research at Equis Research, a Democratic polling firm that specializes in Latino voters. “What’s driving Trump and the Republicans is the economy. At the end of the day, ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ over and over again.”….If anything, rather than cultural alienation driving working-class non-White voters toward the GOP, continuing resistance in those communities to Republican priorities on many culturally and racially tinged issues may be Democrats’ best hope in 2024 of recapturing non-White voters disenchanted with Biden’s performance and the economy. Despite all the discontent over Biden, almost three-fifths of non-White voters without a college degree agreed that the “Republican Party has been taken over by racists,” in a recent national survey by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute, according to previously unpublished results provided to CNN….The stakes in this struggle are enormous. White voters without a college degree, now the electorate’s most Republican-leaning group, have been steadily shrinking as a share of the total vote at a rate of about 2 to 3 percentage points in each presidential election for decades. To offset that decline, Republicans need to find votes elsewhere. The party is facing resistance among college-educated White voters, many of whom have recoiled from the hard-edged cultural and racial views the party has embraced under Trump.”

Brownstein continues, “The exit polls conducted by Edison Research for a consortium of media organizations including CNN found that Trump’s vote among non-White voters without a college degree increased from just 20% in 2016 to 26% in 2020. Research by Catalist, a Democratic voter targeting firm whose analyses are respected in both parties, found that Trump’s vote among Latino voters without a college degree spiked from 61% in 2016 to 72% in 2020; Trump also enjoyed a modest 3 percentage point gain among Black voters without a college degree over that period, Catalist found….Exactly why Trump made those gains, though, remains a matter of dispute – with important implications for 2024 and beyond. Advocates of the realignment theory argue that Trump’s gains represented an ideological rejection of Democrats among centrist and right-leaning minority voters, prompted partly by their opposition to the calls to “defund the police” in the racial justice protests that erupted after the murder of George Floyd in 2020. They pointed to evidence in exit polls that a much higher percentage of minority voters who identified as conservative voted for Trump in 2020 than in 2016….Somewhat to the surprise of both parties, the movement of non-college-educated minority voters toward the GOP stalled in the 2022 midterm election, even though those voters expressed widespread disenchantment with the economy and Biden’s performance. In Catalist’s analysis, Democrats won a slightly higher percentage of Latinos without a college degree in the 2022 House races than they did in the 2020 presidential contest. Most important for Democrats, Senate incumbents Mark Kelly in Arizona and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada – probably the two states where Latino voters are most important for the party – also ran slightly better among non-college-educated Latinos than Biden did in their states, according to previously unpublished Catalist results provided to CNN. (The exit polls, differing slightly, showed a small further national gain in 2022 for the GOP among non-White voters without a college degree.)”

Brownstein adds, “Daron Shaw, a Republican pollster and University of Texas political scientist who co-conducted a recent large national survey of Latino voters for Univision, says that those attitudes mean “there is absolutely an opening” for Trump or another GOP nominee to advance further with non-White voters in 2024. Just as many White working-class voters “felt like the financial crisis of ’08-‘09 left them rudderless [and] eroded their position in American society … both on economic grounds and on cultural grounds, there are voters within the Latino community as well, who feel no one is representing them,” Shaw said during a press call about the Univision poll….Sergio Garcia-Rios, a University of Texas political scientist who partnered with Shaw on the Univision poll, said the Latinos supporting Trump are drawn to him mostly on economic grounds. “To those who are voting for Trump, they remember that in 2016-’17-‘18 the economy worked better,” he said. “You and I can disagree with them on whether or not that is true. But that’s what they remember.”….Ruy Teixeira, a longtime Democratic electoral analyst who has become an unflinching critic of the party’s policies on social issues, has noted, for instance, that most Latinos agree with statements asserting the US is the greatest country in the world and reject the idea that racism is embedded in American institutions. “It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Democrats’ emphasis on social and democracy issues, while catnip to some socially liberal, educated voters, leaves many working-class and Hispanic voters cold,” writes Teixeira, co-author of the recent book, “Where Have All The Democrats Gone?,” which makes similar arguments as Ruffini.

“Yet as polling by the Public Religion Research Institute, Univision and other groups show,” Brownstein notes,  “on many of the actual cultural policies dominating political debate, most minority voters – including most of those without a college degree – align with Democrats, not Republicans. Among non-White voters without a college degree, 57% support legal abortion, 55% back same sex-marriage, and 64% oppose placing barriers at the US border to deter migrants, according to unpublished results from the PRRI’s latest national American Values Survey provided to CNN. (Support for Democratic positions is even greater among non-White voters with a college degree, PRRI found.) Other surveys have found preponderant support among minorities for banning assault weapons and lopsided opposition to ending birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants, as Trump and other GOP candidates have proposed….Maybe most significantly, in PRRI polling, about three-fifths of non-White voters without a college degree agree the GOP has been “taken over by racists,” as do nearly two-thirds of non-White voters with a degree. By contrast, three-fifths of White voters without a college degree reject that idea….Latinos in the key states may not yet be aware of Trump’s immigration plans. But Robert P. Jones, president and founder of PRRI, said the group’s polling convinces him that Trump’s agenda on immigration and other cultural issues will ultimately repel some Latino voters otherwise disenchanted with Biden on the economy. “I think we will not know the truth about how much they [Republicans] are overplaying their hand until next summer” if Trump becomes the GOP nominee, Jones said….Some expressions of cultural liberalism – such as the fleeting calls in 2020 to “defund the police” – have clearly rankled working-class minority voters. But Biden never endorsed that idea. And his clearest path to recovering with those voters may be to convince them that the Republican agenda on immigration and other cultural issues threatens their interests and values. Rather than driving further movement toward the GOP among minority voters, in other words, issues such as abortion or immigration may be Biden’s best hope of preventing slippage with those voters.”

Enten: Widening Age Gap on Opinions Re Israel, Gaza

In his CNN Politics article, “Polling shows a huge age gap divides the Democratic Party on Israel,” Harry Enten writes: ”

Take a look at a recent Quinnipiac University poll on the topic. Biden’s approval rating for his handling of the Israel-Hamas War among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters is just 56%. Compare that to his 76% approval rating among Democratic voters for his overall job performance.

A significant minority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters (36%) disapprove of his handling of the war. Those voters tend to be young….The lion’s share (69%) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning younger than 35 disapprove of how Biden is responding to the war. Just 24% approve. It’s the inverse among older Democrats. Most Democrats 65 and older (77%) approve of Biden on this issue. Few (16%) disapprove.

….When asked which side they sympathize with, Israelis or Palestinians, more, Democrats younger than 35 are far more likely to sympathize with Palestinians (74%) than Israelis (16%). Democrats 65 and older are somewhat more likely to side with Israelis (45%) than Palestinians (25%).

Enten notes further, “The large divide by age causes Democrats and Democratic leaning voters overall to split basically evenly, with 39% sympathizing with Palestinians and 35% with Israelis….This is a massive shift from the beginning of the Israel-Hamas War, when Democrats were more likely to sympathize with Israel by a 48% to 22% margin. That poll was taken in the immediate aftermath of a surprise terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7 that killed about 1,200 people. Since that time, Israel has mounted an offensive in Gaza, and the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health says more than 10,000 Palestinians have died.”

Enten adds,

Most Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters (70%) believe that supporting Israel is in the national interest. This includes 87% of those 65 and older….Democrats younger than 35 see things entirely differently. Just 40% think backing Israel is in the national interest of this country. The majority (52%) disagree.

Perhaps not surprisingly, these younger Democrats don’t think we should be supplying military aid to Israel in its war with Hamas. A mere 21% agree that we should, while 77% are against it. Older Democrats are for it by a 53% to 32% margin….In total, Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters were 49% in opposition to 44% in support….Voters overall, on the other hand, are 53% in support to 39% opposed for more military aid for Israel.


All voters by a 54% to 24% margin sympathized more with Israelis than Palestinians. Voters, including Democrats, Republicans and independents, by a 73% to 19% margin said backing Israel was in the national interest of America.

Biden’s problem is that he likely needs more support from younger voters heading into the 2024 election. He won voters younger than 35 by more than 20 points in 2020. Today, his lead over former President Donald Trump is in the low single digits in an average of recent polling ahead of a potential rematch.

It’s not clear that Biden’s handling of the war is causing his decreased backing from younger voters, but it can’t be helping him.

And there is no way of knowing how important this issue will be to American voters a year from now. In our highly-polarized electorate, the biggest issue in November 2024 could be inflation or democracy or Trump’s legal disasters or his mental health, or gun control. As large as the issue looms now, it may be a fading memory late next year.

Political Strategy Notes

Check out “The Fight for Working-Classs Voters,” featuring Ruy Teixeira, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and co-founder and politics editor of the Substack newsletter, The Liberal Patriot and Patrick Ruffini, Republican pollster and founding partner of Echelon Insights, being interviewed by Galen Druke, at 538:

Also at 538, Nathaniel Rakich explains “What the 2023 elections can — and can’t — tell us about 2024” at abcnews.go.com: “In the end, the most predictive of 2023’s elections may be some of the lowest-profile. Nov. 7 saw special elections take place in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District as well as seven state-legislative districts (although one of those was uncontested). And as we’ve written many times, a party’s overperformance in special elections (using the same methodology as I used for New Jersey and Virginia) has historically been pretty predictive of the House popular vote in the subsequent general election….And those special election results were mixed, though overall they were better for Democrats than for Republicans. Democrats did better than base partisanship in four of the seven races, and the average overperformance on Nov. 7 was D+3….it is special elections all cycle long that have historically proved predictive, not just special elections on odd-year Election Days, and with Nov. 7’s special elections factored in, Democrats are still overperforming base partisanship by an average of 9 points on the year….Instead, take the 2023 elections for what they were: a series of Democratic and liberal victories that were important in their own right. More than 25 million people live in Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia and will be directly impacted by the results there. Ohio guaranteed abortion rights to 2.6 million reproductive-age women and legalized marijuana for 8.7 million adults. In Pennsylvania, Democrats notched key wins in judicial and county-level races that will matter for the 2024 presidential race not because of what they portend, but because they will affect how that election is administered logistically and how ballots are counted. These things are the true legacies of the 2023 election.”

You should read “Can Biden and the Democrats Survive Their Divisions on Israel-Palestine? Herewith, some suggestions” by Harold Meyerson at The American Prospect. A Teaser: “Absent the Vietnam War, Hubert Humphrey would probably not have lost the 1968 presidential election to Richard Nixon. In a Biden-Trump contest next year, Israel-Palestine could be one more nail in the Democrats’ coffin. And for all of his depredations and paranoia, Richard Nixon posed a petty threat to American democracy, while Trump poses a massive one….What, then, are Democrats to do? As Michelle Goldberg has outlined in The New York Times, the efforts by Democratic Majority for Israel to recruit candidates to run in primary elections against members of the Squad, and to fund their campaigns with many millions of dollars (a good deal of which comes from Republicans and corporate interests seeking to squash economic progressives) would only widen those rifts and guarantee that many young voters and voters of color—key elements in the Democratic base—would either stay home or vote for protest candidates in next November’s elections….Is there anything that the Biden administration and the Democrats—two groups that, of necessity, we need to consider separately—can do to narrow this yawning chasm?….As to the administration, it needs to get much more serious about prompting a two-state solution than any previous administration has ever been. It needs to condition all aid to Israel on that nation’s agreement to permit the establishment of a viable Palestinian state within a brief period of time. That begins with having the Palestinian Authority govern Gaza and continues with the withdrawal of most, if not all, Israeli settlements from the West Bank. Keep in mind that the current Netanyahu government is in place only because it’s propped up by settler extremists and the ultra-Orthodox, against whose rule most Israelis have been passionately demonstrating throughout much of this year.”

In “The Real Reason Why Biden Shouldn’t Drop Out: A contested Democratic primary with less than a year before the 2024 election would be a mess” Walter Shapiro writes at The New Republic: “….Even if Biden were to accept the truth embedded in the polls, as Harry Truman did when he bowed out in 1952, the subsequent multicandidate scramble for the Democratic nomination would create as many (if not more) political problems as it would solve….It is easy to get caught up in questions of logistics since the filing deadlines have already passed for the Democratic Party’s first two authorized primaries: South Carolina (February 3) and Nevada (February 6). By the end of November, California (March 5) will have closed the books on its primary, and the deadline for Michigan (February 27) is in early December. But barring a divisive contested Democratic convention in Chicago, any Biden delegates chosen in these early states would presumably rally behind the leading candidate in the name of party unity….What about money, which a deep-pocketed presidential candidate once described as “the most reliable friend you can have in American politics”?….a truncated primary season would make it impossible for an out-of-nowhere candidate to have enough time to catch fire in the early states like Pete Buttigieg in 2020 or a former Georgia governor named Jimmy Carter in 1976….If Biden announced on the Monday after Thanksgiving that he would be retiring, it would give 2024 presidential contenders fewer than 100 days to declare their candidacies and define their image before 14 states pick delegates on Super Tuesday, March 5. And 11 other states will be holding Democratic primaries later in March….By my reckoning, Biden made a heedless mistake by not bowing out of the 2024 presidential race last spring, knowing that his age would be a political liability. Such a springtime 2023 decision would have given his Democratic successor ample time to run a winning and hopefully inspiring primary campaign….Instead, Biden chose to defy Father Time. And at this point, Biden—despite his obvious flaws as a candidate—is probably the Democrats’ best option for president against Trump. For in politics, it gets late early. And it is, sadly, too late for a compelling Biden replacement.”