Glance at the political scene and you could be forgiven for thinking things are pretty stagnant. The president, who turns 81 this month, has been in Washington for half a century and is the oldest man to occupy the Oval Office, while the Republican Party looks likely to nominate Donald Trump for the third consecutive presidential cycle.
But don’t let the prospect of a Trump-Biden rematch (more on that in a second) fool you into thinking it’s business as usual. American politics is going through a period of profound change.
Poll after poll reveals deep dissatisfaction with the status quo and the major parties. And voters are upending long-standing trends in a realignment that is changing the rules of politics before our eyes.
A day before a handful of off-cycle elections—and almost exactly a year before the 2024 presidential election—my colleagues Peter Savodnik and Kiran Sampath take a deep dive into one group that is leaving their traditionally blue voting bloc and making a rapid swing rightward. Meet the growing number of Asian American candidates who say they want to “expand the boundaries of the MAGA agenda.”
This one’s a must-read:
Tomorrow’s elections might not have received much hype, but a number of contests merit attention.
In Virginia, Republicans have a shot at gaining control of the state legislature. If they pull it off, it will be another feather in the cap of Virginia governor and likely future presidential candidate Glenn Youngkin. In Ohio, voters will deliver their verdict on a measure that would write abortion protections into the state constitution. In Kentucky, Democratic governor Andy Beshear’s reelection bid will be a sign of whether a popular candidate can defy the state’s deep-red leanings.
For more on the off-year elections, Politico has a handy guide of the results worth watching for.
Count me among those who’ll mostly just be watching tomorrow’s results as an early indicator of the political mood ahead of 2024. And when it comes to the prospect of a possible 2024 rematch, Democrats are getting increasingly nervous. Two polls published yesterday, with a year to go until Election Day, paint a grim picture for Biden. A New York Times/Siena survey shows Biden trailing Trump in five of the six most important swing states. And Trump’s state-level leads are large: four points in Pennsylvania, five points in Arizona and Michigan, six points in Georgia, and ten points in Nevada.
The Times write-up points to a radical realignment undermining Biden’s chances:
Voters under 30 favor Mr. Biden by only a single percentage point, his lead among Hispanic voters is down to single digits and his advantage in urban areas is half of Mr. Trump’s edge in rural regions. And while women still favored Mr. Biden, men preferred Mr. Trump by twice as large a margin, reversing the gender advantage that had fueled so many Democratic gains in recent years.
Black voters—long a bulwark for Democrats and for Mr. Biden—are now registering 22 percent support in these states for Mr. Trump, a level unseen in presidential politics for a Republican in modern times.
The second headline-grabbing poll published yesterday was just as bad for Biden. A wide-ranging CBS survey found that people thought the world would be a safer place and they would be better off if Trump were to beat Biden next year.
Meanwhile, the Dem-on-Dem fight over the Israel-Hamas war is only getting nastier, and the legacy media is starting to take allegations of Biden family corruption more seriously. Over the weekend, Politico led with a special report titled “Fresh revelations contradict Joe Biden’s sweeping denials on Hunter.”
For a sense of the mood among Democrats, consider a series of posts on X from former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod. “It’s very late to change horses; a lot will happen in the next year that no one can predict & Biden’s team says his resolve to run is firm. He’s defied [conventional wisdom] before but this will send tremors of doubt thru the party—not “bed-wetting,” but legitimate concern,” he said in one post. “If [Biden] continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s?” he said in another.
Dean Phillips, a little-known Minnesota congressman, surprised everyone when he entered the Democratic presidential primary late last month. Explaining his decision to run, Philips said: “This was not about me. But my inability to attract other candidates, to inspire the president to recognize that it is time, compels me to serve my country because it appears that President Joe Biden is going to lose the next election.”
Phillips may be a very long shot candidate. But looking at Biden’s dire polling, it’s hard not to wonder if other, better-known Democrats aren’t thinking about following his lead.
The donor revolt continues. . .
A few weeks ago, Apollo Global Management CEO Marc Rowan explained in our pages why, in light of UPenn’s response to the October 7 attack, he would no longer donate money to the school unless there was a change in management. Rowan was one of a small group who kicked off a donor revolt at schools across the country. The New York Post estimates that at UPenn alone, the hole in the school’s finances created by donors following Rowan’s lead could be as big as $1 billion. The paper also reports that a no-confidence vote is in the cards for UPenn chairman Scott Bok.
Meanwhile, in an open letter published Sunday, hedge fund manager and Harvard donor Bill Ackman accused Harvard president Claudine Gay of insufficient action to counter antisemitism on campus.
To get a sense of what has so appalled donors like Rowan and Ackman, listen to Julia Steinberg, a Free Press intern and Stanford junior, discuss campus antisemitism in her recent (and brilliant!) appearance on WBUR.
And if you haven’t already, check out her piece on the subject: “Why My Generation Hates Jews.”
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