Discover more from Hopium Chronicles By Simon Rosenberg
2022 and 2023 Have Been Very Good Years for Democrats. We Should Be Optimistic About 2024
Catch My Hopium-Filled Discussion Of The 2023 Elections w/Special Guest Sam Cornale of the DNC
As I sat down this morning to write I realized that I have a simple message for all of you - we just keep winning elections of all kinds across the US, and we should be very optimistic about winning the Presidential election next year.
I discuss all this in my Hopium-filled talk recorded yesterday, which features some inspiring words from Sam Cornale, the Executive Director of the DNC. I hope you will watch, and share with others you think might be interested.
What we discussed is that our current political moment began in the spring of 2022 when Dobbs happened, Uvalde and other mass shootings happened, extremist Republican abortion trigger laws took effect and when the January 6th Committee began its public work. 3 days after Dobbs our candidate in an unfunded Nebraska house special election outperformed our 2020 results by 10 points. In the 5 House specials after Dobbs our candidates outperformed 2020 by an average of 7 points in what was supposed to be a good year for Republicans. Democrats and women in particular started registering to vote in much higher numbers; our candidates dramatically out-raised Republican candidates; we blew it out in the early vote in state after state; and then in the battleground states we outperformed expectations and gained ground over 2020 in AZ, CO, GA, MI, MN, NH and PA, getting to 59% in CO, 57% in Pennsylvania, 55% in Michigan and 54% in New Hampshire. Our performance in 2022 would have been encouraging in a good year; that it happened in a “red wave” made it even more extraordinary.
This heightened Democratic performance, and sluggish Republican performance, has carried over to 2023. In 33 state house and senate elections across the US we’ve outperformed 2020 by 6.2 pts. A broader analysis of the elections leading up to November 7th had us outperforming the partisan lean of districts by 10 points. We flipped two of the largest Republican-held cities in the country, Jacksonville and Colorado Springs. We took away that Wisconsin Supreme Court seat, getting 56% of the vote. We got to 57% in the August Ohio Vote No ballot initiative. Like 2022, in the elections leading up the 2023 November election Dems just kept overperforming.
Then the 2023 election came, and once again we saw overperformance. Beshear got a higher percentage of the vote in KY than he did in 2019. We kept the Senate in Virginia, and did something few thought was possible, flipped the House too. We got to 57% in Ohio - a jawdropping achievement. We picked up state legislative seats in New Jersey. We had big wins in municipal races across the US, and in school board races too. Like the 2022 election, Democrats outperformed expectations in 2023, performing at the upper end of what was possible for us even in red states. It was another year of growth, expansion, taking away demographic and geographic real estate from them - it’s how we get to 55 in 2024.
The Republican Party is in trouble. It keeps losing elections across the country. It has done two things since 2020, each of which could keep a political party out of power for decades - stripped women of fundamental rights, and led a party-wide conspiracy to overturn an election and end American democracy. Their next set of leaders are far more Star Wars bar than Roman Senate. Their new Speaker has repeatedly fought for a national abortion ban with no exceptions and is among the most extreme, right wing political figures in recent decades. They keep trying to shut the government down, and almost broke through the debt ceiling in the spring, something that could have triggered a global financial collapse. Several of their Senators are leading blockades against appointments and programs that are degrading DOD, State and DHS in a time of rising security threats here and around the world. Their almost certain nominee is the most disgraced and dangerous political figure in American history, one who has committed sexual assault; oversaw one of the largest financial frauds in American history; is more responsible for stripping women of their fundamental rights than any other person in America; led that party wide effort to end American democracy and led an armed assault on the Capitol when all 435 Members of Congress were inside; is responsible for the most significant security breach in American history, one that could do untold harm to Americans and our allies for decades to come; has repeatedly aligned himself political with Russia and now Iran, two countries working to degrade American economic and political power throughout the world. There has never been anything like it in American history - Republicans are today without doubt the worst set of political leaders our country has ever had.
The terrible NYT poll asked what would happen to your vote if Trump were convicted and sentenced to prison (a likely outcome). Here is what happens in the battleground - huge swings, GOP devastation:
AZ - Trump +5 to Biden +5 (10 pt shift)
GA - Trump +6 to Biden +12 (18 pt shift)
MI - Trump +5 to Biden +12 (17 pt shift)
NV - Trump +11 to Biden +12 (23 pt shift)
PA - Trump +4 to Biden +4 (8 pt shift)
WI - Biden +2 to Biden +14 (12 pt shift)
We, on the other hand, have left America far better than we found it in 2021. We’ve gotten to the other side of COVID. Our economic recovery here has been the best of all G7 nations, and inflation, a global phenomenon, is lower here than any other G7 country. Our economy remains remarkable strong and resilient, and in recent years we’ve seen the lowest poverty and uninsured rates in American history. Joe Biden is aggressively, and adroitly, fighting to preserve freedom and democracy here and abroad. We’ve made historic investments that will drive American prosperity and create opportunity for Americans for decades. We’ve done more to combat climate change than perhaps any government has ever done. We passed the first bi-partisan gun safety bill in decades, and have forgiven over $100b in student loan debt. Murder rates are coming down and violent crime is a fraction of what it was 30 years ago. We know from polling that when voters are informed of Biden’s accomplishments his poll numbers go up, in some cases, significantly. The Democratic Party itself is historically strong, and keeps winning elections across the country. Our next set of leaders are the best we’ve had in my lifetime. Our grassroots is stronger than it’s ever been, and keeps driving our performance to the upper end of what’s possible in election after election in all parts of the country.
While the Republican Party is in trouble, Democrats are thriving.
Putting all this together, looking ahead to 2024, I would so much rather be us than them. Joe Biden is a good President and will have a strong case for re-election. Yes some of our coalition is wandering, but it is a year before the election and there is no reason for all of our voters to be engaged right now. When Democrats have had to show up this year, in actual elections, they have and we keep winning. And I am confident, that once our coalition comes to understand that 2024 is a binary choice between Biden and Trump, much of it will come home, quickly. How much of it comes home, and whether we can grow our coalition and get to 55, will depend on how good a campaign we run and how hard all of us work, together.
Remember over the past 8 Presidential elections, Democrats have won more votes in 7 of those 8. Only once have Republicans gotten more than 48% of the vote, 20 years ago, in 2004, the only election where they won the popular vote since 1988. In the last 4 Presidential elections Democrats have averaged 51% of the vote, our best showing since FDR’s 4 elections in the 1930s and 1940s. For Trump to win the popular vote, or even be ahead in polling, he will have to get to a political place no Republican has been in 20 years. And I just don’t think, given his historic and monumental awfulness, that’s a plausible scenario right now or next year. As I keep saying, it’s far more likely he gets to 45 than 49 in 2024.
Recent polling and commentary that suggests Trump leads Biden now is making, in my mind, the same mistake that led many to believe a red wave was coming in 2022 - they are discounting the fear and opposition to MAGA that exists in the electorate, and that has been the single most powerful force in our politics since 2018. That fear and opposition to MAGA, that sense that something has gone deeply wrong with the Republican Party, is why Democrats flipped the House and won 2018 by 8.6 pts; ousted an incumbent President in 2020 and took back control of the Senate; outperformed expectations in 2022 despite high inflation and low Biden approval; and have dramatically outperformed expectations in election after election across the US all throughout 2023.
If fear and opposition to MAGA has been the driving force of our politics since 2018 then the Trump-led ticket in 2024 will provide more reasons to be fearful and oppose the Republicans than we’ve ever had. A Trump victory almost certainly means the planet will warm faster, more kids will be gunned down in schools, the Congress will pass a national abortion ban with no exceptions, violent white supremacy will be emboldened, NATO and the Western alliance will be dismantled and Putin/Iran/Hamas/Hizbollah will be strengthened; and American democracy, the beacon of light for so much of the world for centuries, will end. Trump’s campaign slogan in 2024 might very well be - “I tried to end American democracy in 2021 and if you elect me this time I will finish the job.”
But we are not going to let any of that happen, are we? Let’s rest up a bit over the next few weeks. See family. Relax and refresh. Take long walks, read that book that has been sitting on your table these last few months. Given our remarkable performance in elections over the past 18 months, and all that all of you have done to bring it about, you deserve some time off.
But get ready peeps. The big one is coming. Trump is likely to cinch the nomination early next year, perhaps as early as January. Then the general election begins. And we will need to keep our winning streak going, beat Trump, flip the House, keep the Senate, expand our coalition, get to 55 and keep kicking their ass. For only by making 2024 a clear repudiation of MAGA will we be able to start loosening the dark grip MAGA has on the Republican Party. And that has to be our collective goal - to blow it out next year, crush MAGA and go back to a time when if we lost an election here or there our democracy would not slip away.
So savor our impressive and inspiring wins this year, rest up over the next few weeks, and get ready to go to work in 2024. I am confident that if we do the work, as we have been doing, we will keep overperforming next year, have the election we all want to have and once again ensure that freedom and democracy prevails here, and everywhere.
Sending lots of Hopium, love and gratitude your way - Simon