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THE SUSTAINING POWER OF DONALD TRUMP
Oh, the implications!
On Thursday night, I did a focus group with eight Trump voters from around the country.
I think the discussion will be of interest to the president, his family, the Lincoln Projecters, the governor of Florida, both Florida Senators, and a whole lot more folks.
The main three takeaways:
1. This is still very much Donald Trump’s Republican Party; he is currently in a position to get overwhelming nomination support if he runs again in 2024.
2. If President Trump isn’t on the ballot in four years, Republicans are looking for candidates who will carry on his legacy; career politicians need not apply.
3. The greatest enthusiasm is for Donald Trump, Jr. and Ivanka Trump, who both were vastly preferred over all choices not named “Trump.”
Watch here to see the group’s reactions to Rick Scott, Ron DeSantis, Mike Pompeo, and Josh Hawley.
Spoiler alert: DeSantis fared very well and Hawley….not so much. Kind of devastating, actually.
Stay tuned Saturday for the group’s textured takes on Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio, Mike Pence, and Don Jr.
To my sensibilities, this is one of the more interesting looks I have seen at the contours of a post-Trump Republican Party.
And/or if there will be a post-Trump Republican Party anytime soon.
Trust me: watch this one:
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On pandemic relief negotiations, there are at this hour more moving parts than those involved in the delivery of a Luis Tiant spitball, but here is the central question:
Will a combination of the compromisers in his own conference (not just the Romneys of the world, but now also the Cornyns), the pressure from the Pelosi-Schumer tag team, and the anti-Mitch media force Senate Majority Leader McConnell to move towards either negotiations or a floor vote based on the nearly $1 trillion bipartisan package that is being increasingly embraced inside the Beltway?
If McConnell were a “normal” politician, he would have already read David Brooks column (suggesting in epic terms that the Kentuckian will be damned forevermore if he doesn’t get behind a Grand Bargain asap).
If McConnell were a “normal” politician, he would have already read Kim Strassel’s column (suggesting in epic terms that the Kentuckian will be damned forevermore if he gets behind a Grand Bargain).
I think the chances of a deal are still rising and/but, in the end, a deal would involve McConnell going against much of his conference, his view of policy, his own general political instincts, his sense of the politics of the moment (including in the Georgia Senate runoffs), and his desire to never let Nancy Pelosi best him.
Still, it’s 2020, there’s a pandemic, and Leader McConnell never lets his big mind be controlled by the hobgoblins of consistency for consistency’s sake.
However, there are still
* significant policy differences, including on liability protections and state/local aid
* ticking clocks and tearing calendar pages
* price tag differences of anywhere from a trillion to 500 billion
My sense of the body language: the press and the Deal Makers want a deal, making a deal seem more likely than it currently actually is.
Until and unless Mitch morphs miraculously in this season of miracles.
Or until and unless the Speaker comes way, way down on cost.
Team Biden, Comms Division has been masterful at putting stories it wants front and center front and center and (mostly) burying stories it wants way back and on the side way back and on the side.
There are a lot of people in Biden World, the Democratic Party, and the nation who want Kamala Harris to have a major, empowered role in the new administration.
There are others in those realms who do not.
This essential reading Washington Post story implicitly illustrates all of these dynamics in what at first glance will seem to you simply like a daily story on the latest personnel announcements from the transition.
HALPERIN SAYS: I will, I am sure, write more about this topic in the future.
For now, let’s just say that this is all part of one of the most under covered stories in the whole wide world of Biden news right now.
The official serving as President Donald Trump’s eyes and ears at the Justice Department has been banned from the building after trying to pressure staffers to give up sensitive information about election fraud and other matters she could relay to the White House…
HALPERIN SAYS: For four years, I’ve tried both to avoid normalizing that which should not be normalized and to avoid treating every development like something that if it were “normalized” would mean the end of the Republic as we have known it.
What this person is reported to have been doing, if true, is not normal, should not be normalized, and is in a very real way a threat to the Republic. It should be fully investigated up to and including “what did the president know/order and when did he know/order it?”
The voting rights organization Stacey Abrams founded in 2018 after losing a close gubernatorial election raised $34.5 million in just 39 days from late October to the last week of November, funneling a chunk of the money into helping Democratic candidates in key races.
The $34.5 million is about what the group had raised the previous two years.
HALPERIN SAYS: On the one hand, the left’s funding of these runoff races in Georgia is quite something. On the other hand, November taught us that money doesn’t settle every Senate race. But these are impressive numbers, obviously. Focus less on the raising and more on the spending, especially what goes for paid media and, more importantly, for more direct forms of voter contact, which Team Abrams knows how to do.
Several readers have suggested to me of late that I should write more about the pandemic: vaccines, hospitalizations, lockdowns, masks, holiday travel, transition policies, etc.
I’ve been reporting and curating on all of those topics and more. I just need to find the right cadence and focal length to be able to contribute meaningfully.
Stand by, please.