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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Here’s a clue from “Most Americans falsely think the U.S. is in recession, poll shows” by Rebecca Picciotto at cnbc.com as to why President Biden can’t get much traction: “More than half of Americans think the United States is in an economic recession, although gross domestic product has been increasing for the past several years….According to a new Guardian/Harris poll, 56% of respondents said they believe the U.S. is in a recession and 58% say that President Joe Biden is responsible for what they see as an economic downturn….A recession is an extended period of economic decline, usually designated when GDP has declined for two or more consecutive fiscal quarters….Under those terms, the U.S. is definitively not in a recession….GDP grew by 1.6% in the first quarter of 2024. Granted, that is a decelerated rate from the 3.3% growth of the fourth quarter of 2023, but it is not recessionary. U.S. GDP growth has been outpacing that of other developed nations….Despite some positive signals that the economy is recovering from the pandemic chaos that disrupted supply chains and sent inflation skyrocketing, consumer attitudes have lagged, often driven by the high costs of daily living caused by stubbornly high inflation.” No doubt the argument about individual financial situations being more influential in poll outcomes than aggregate economic data has some relevance here. All the Biden campaign can do about this is keep plugging away at every opportunity and make some ads showing individual families testifying about how much better off they are today than they were under Trump. Aggregate economic data just doesn’t pack the same punch as real people testifying about their lives.

If you know anyone who believes the Trump campaign’s recent reference to a “unified Reich” was just a stray brain fart of an unruly staffer, not a recurring symptom of the candidate’s sympathy for vicious dictators, refer them to “Trump removes video referencing ‘unified Reich. but his Nazi allusions are long-standing” by Stephen Collimnson at CNN Politics. As Collinson writes, “Donald Trump dabbles in Nazi allusions too often for it to be a coincidence….The latest example is a video posted on the ex-president’s social media account that features a fake headline implying the US could become a “unified Reich” if he wins a second term in November. The video replicates what appears to be World War I-era newspapers. But the term “Reich,” which means a kind of empire, is also synonymous with the later Third Reich of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. The presumptive GOP nominee’s campaign insisted the sharing of the third-party video on Monday was the work of a staffer and not Trump, who was in court. It was eventually taken down hours later on Tuesday….Trump may not have not been responsible for the post. But campaigns reflect the character of the candidate. And Trump has been flirting with Nazi imagery and giving comfort to far-right extremists for years. He recently accused President Joe Biden of running a “Gestapo” administration. Trump has several times warned immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of the United States, echoing language used by Hitler in his manifesto “Mein Kampf,” which the ex-president claims he hasn’t read. Back in 2017, Trump equivocated about condemning a White supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which marchers chanted “Jews will not replace us.”….Trump also allegedly praised Hitler, according to former White House chief of staff John Kelly, who was quoted by CNN’s Jim Sciutto in his new book “The Return of Great Powers.” Kelly commented: “He said, ‘Well, but Hitler did some good things.’ I said, ‘Well, what?’ And he said, ‘Well, [Hitler] rebuilt the economy.’”….Sciutto also cited Kelly as saying that Trump believed that Hitler’s hold on senior Nazi officers displayed a loyalty he did not enjoy from his senior subordinates….He’s promising the biggest deportation operation in history to expel undocumented migrants. And his echoing of Nazi rhetoric on immigration has the same consequence as Hitler’s — to demonize outsiders supposedly threatening the ‘native’ purity of the homeland….Trump has already tried to avoid leaving power after a democratic election he lost, whipping up his supporters ahead of the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. And over the weekend, he spitballed about potentially serving more than the two terms to which the Constitution says he can be elected.” Collinson co includes, “Anyone who admires Hitler and his murderous cult would do well to walk through the preserved death camps, gas chambers and mass crematoria in Eastern Europe where Nazis exterminated the continent’s Jews. And those who carelessly peddle Nazi-themed rhetoric should visit the cliffs of Normandy, where Biden is expected next month to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day amid rows of buried US and Allied soldiers who perished as part of the cost of eradicating fascism.”

In his Salon article, “How Trump’s hidden Nazi messages help conceal his open antisemitism: Now that Trump is finally facing legal consequences for his actions he’s amplifying his Hitlerian language,” Chauncey DeVega shares some thoughts on Trump’s Nazi musings: “One of the most important rules for surviving and triumphing over an authoritarian regime is to always take seriously what the dictator says. They are not kidding. This rule most certainly applies to Donald Trump, who has promised that he is going to be a dictator on “day one” if he defeats President Biden in the 2024 election….Trump’s Nazi projections are part of a much larger dynamic where today’s right openly embraces antisemitism, white supremacy, and racism….Dr. Sharon Nazarian, who is a board member of the Anti-Defamation League and a noted expert on global antisemitism, issued the following statement in response to the Trump campaign’s “unified Reich” video:

Words like Reich don’t just accidentally end up in campaign videos. This is a message to antisemites and anti-democratic extremists everywhere about what to expect should Trump return to the White House. Donald Trump knows exactly what he is doing. This is part of a long pattern of behavior where he normalizes antisemitic language and behavior and then later claims that he ‘didn’t know’ or it was ‘fake news’, but the extremists know full well where he stands, and we need acknowledge that these aren’t mistakes, he is telling us exactly what he would do in a second term. Donald Trump no longer should be given the benefit of the doubt. He sees antisemitism as a powerful tool to be used towards his own political goals, and those goals are to reshape American democracy and society in ways that will make the lives of Jews unsafe.

….Trump has repeatedly shared antisemitic images and memes on social media and has met personally with antisemites and white supremacists….Trump has continued to channel Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, with his threats and promises to purify the blood of the nation by getting rid of human “vermin” and other “pollution” as part of final battle and campaign of retribution and revenge when/if he takes power in 2025. These are eliminationist and genocidal threats of violence against those individuals and groups targeted as other or who dare to resist the regime and its attempt to end multiracial pluralistic democracy. Trump has also threatened, on numerous occasions, while president and afterwards, to have his political and personal “enemies” killed.” In his conclusion, DeVega warns, “The water in the pot is boiling more rapidly and too many Americans have gotten far too comfortable in it.”

The ever-optimistic Simon Rosenberg opines at his “Hopium Chronicles”: “Let’s talk the Electoral College today. Here are the results of new Bloomberg/Morning Consult polling of the battleground states, Biden-Trump:

  • AZ 44-49 Biden gains 2 since last poll
  • GA 44-47 Biden gains 3, within margin of error
  • MI 46-45 Biden gains 1
  • NV 46-46 Biden gains 8
  • NC 42-49 Biden gains 2
  • PA 46-48 Trump gains 1, within margin of error
  • WI 46-47 Biden gains 3, within margin of error

These are good polls for us. For Trump to win he needs to win AZ, GA, NV, keep NC, and win one of MI, PA, WI. He lost all these states except NC in 2020. So he has to go get a lot of stuff he didn’t have in 2020. In this poll, and in the three other recent battleground state polls (NYT Likely Voters, Not Registered Voters) he is not ahead, outside of the margin of error, in MI, PA or WI, or any combination of states getting to 270. The map is hard for him, and today, simply and plainly, he is not leading or ahead in the 2024 election. He is not where he wants to be right now….Our path to 270 is much clearer. Assuming we win the single Nebraska Electoral College vote we just need to win MI, PA, WI – all states we won last time, and all states where we have strong Dem governors who won in 2022. There are polls now with Biden ahead in AZ, MI, WI and tied in NV (yes this NV result is embarrassing for the New York Times). All four of these battleground polls have PA within margin of error, and a new poll about to be released in North Carolina has the Biden-Trump race there within margin of error, 43-45 Biden-Trump. This is the third poll taken in NC in recent weeks showing the election a toss up in North Carolina. Also note for those worried about Michigan that there are more polls showing us ahead in there than any other battleground state….My big point here is that not all the data in front of us is pointing in the same direction – thus folks need to be cautious about jumping to conclusions or letting a single influential poll dictate our understandings….The blue wall states – MI, PA, WI – are clearly within margin of error, tied now. We have recent polls showing AZ, GA, NC, NV also within margin of error, tied. Given all this it is simply impossible, wrong and inaccurate to argue that Trump leads or is favored. The election is close and competitive. Our path to 270 is easier. We have enormous financial and organizational advantages now, a better candidate and far, far better arguments. Senate and House polling remains encouraging, and we’ve made meaningful gains in the Congressional Generic. We’ve been winning elections of all kinds across the country since Dobbs and they keep struggling, a dynamic we’ve seen show up in voting in 2024 too…We are not where we want to be, and have a lot of work to do. But in every way imaginable, four months before voting begins, I would much rather be us than them.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    “individual families testifying about how much better off they are today than they were under Trump”…I would think twice about this approach.


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