Discover more from Hopium Chronicles By Simon Rosenberg
57-43, Another Good Inflation Report, August Events
Congrats again all on the big win on Ohio this week!
Another Good Inflation Report - The Bureau of Labor Statistics released their most important inflation measure this morning, the Consumer Price Index, and it increased 0.2% in July, or 2.4% annualized. Over the last 3 months the CPI has increased 0.1%, 0.2% and 0.2%, which is 0.16%, or 1.9% annualized. By comparison in the spring of 2022, inflation was running at close to 9%-10% on an annualized basis. The number the Fed is shooting for is 2% annualized, so this is very good news, and yes the good economic news just keeps on coming. GDP and job growth remain strong, inflation is way down, the deficit is down, recession fears have abated, wage growth remains strong and real wages (taking into account inflation) are back firmly in positive territory again. This is all very good news.
Some news outlets are reporting that the rate of increase in inflation ticked up this past month. This is not correct, as you can see from the figures above. What increased by just 0.2% was the year-over-year number, from 3% to 3.2%, which has more to do with how inflation came in a year ago than today. It’s not a great measure, which is why I prefer to look at each month’s number. It’s a much better gauge.
To look at these numbers, and somehow create a negative headline is almost comically red wavy. Nick Timaros of the Wall Street Journal released this graph below this morning which shows how much better things are now, and here’s how a leading financial journal is playing it as the market responded positively to the very good inflation data today:
August Events - Just posted RSVP links to three new events:
Tuesday, August 15th, 7pm EST - Hopium Paid Subscriber Political Briefing and Hangout. If you want to become a paid Hopium member click on the subscribe button below.
Friday, August 18th, 1pm EST - With Democrats Things Get Better
Tuesday, August 22nd, 7pm EST - Monthly Hopium Political Briefing and Discussion
Looking forward to seeing everyone! Lots to talk about!
57-43, Get to 55, Ohio, Florida and Virginia - Still amazed at the margin of victory in Ohio on Tuesday night, 57-43. It bodes very well for the Ohio ballot initiative this fall. Great work all.
I did an initial take on the importance of this Ohio on Tuesday night, but as things have settled down I just keep coming back to the core insight of my “Get to 55” memo - due to the right’s ongoing radicalization, more is possible for us now. We did better than anyone expected in 2022; we *gained* ground in key battlegrounds; we got into the mid to high 50s in CO, MI, NH, PA,WI and in the Kansas and Ohio ballot initiatives; we just won in the traditionally Republican cities of Colorado Springs, CO and Jacksonville, Florida.
We keep “overperforming” - performing beyond expectations and norms - in such disparate places as Alaska, Florida, Kansas and Ohio. New geographic and demographic real estate is available to pro-democracy forces and Democrats now. May we have the foresight and determination to take advantage of this historic opportunity. Here is how Ron Brownstein wrote about this opportunity in CNN last week:
Simon Rosenberg, the long-time Democratic strategist who was proven right as the most prominent public skeptic of the “red wave” theory in 2022, argues that Trump, in particular, is unlikely to match his 47% of the vote from 2020 if the GOP nominates him again. “We are starting at a place where it is far more likely in my mind that he gets to 45% than he gets to 49%,” Rosenberg said. “And if he gets to 45%, we have the opportunity to get up to 55%. The key for Democrats is we have to imagine growing and expanding our coalition for it to happen.”
Beyond the personal doubts about Trump among voters outside the GOP coalition, Democrats such as Rosenberg and Anzalone see several other factors that give Biden a chance to widen his winning margin from the last election. Perhaps the most important of those are the slowdown in inflation, continued strength of the job market, and signs of accelerating recovery in the stock market – all of which are already stirring some gains in consumer confidence. Democrats are encouraged as well by recent declines in the number of undocumented immigrants attempting to cross the Southern border and the crime rate in big cities – two issues on which polls show substantial disappointment in Biden’s performance.
Another change since 2020 is the broad public backlash, especially in Democratic-leaning and swing states, against the 2022 Supreme Court decision ending the constitutional right to abortion, which Trump has directly claimed credit for engineering through his nominations to the court. Finally, compared to 2020, the electorate in 2024 will likely include significantly more young people in Generation Z, a group that is preponderantly supporting Democrats, and fewer Whites without a college degree, now the GOP’s best group.
All of these factors, Rosenberg said, create “an opportunity” for Democrats to amass a bigger majority next year than most consider possible. But to get there, he argues, the party will need to think bigger, particularly in its efforts to mobilize younger voters aging into the electorate. “It’s a man on the moon kind of mindset,” Rosenberg said. “We have to want to go there to get there. We have to build a strategy to take away political real estate from the Republicans because they are giving us the opportunity to take it away from them.”
Many Republican strategists privately agree that the combined effect of the January 6 insurrection and the court’s abortion decision will make it difficult for Trump to expand his support from 2020 if the GOP nominates him again.
We need to keep this big pro-democracy momentum going this fall, and I plan on focusing on Ohio, of course, but also a Florida ballot initiative to roll back the DeSantis six-week abortion ban, and the Virginia state legislative races. We’ll be discussing how to best get involved in these states in the coming days but I finish up on this happy Thursday with a short piece in Politico on the important work being done in Florida:
In Florida, ANNA HOCHKAMMER, the vice mayor of Pinecrest and the executive director of the Florida Women's Freedom Coalition, which is leading the effort to put a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights on the 2024 ballot, told Playbook yesterday that her group is not interested in tying its message to the president or anyone else outside of Florida.
“This is an entirely organic Floridian effort,” she said. “We need to save ourselves. Nobody is going to do it for us.”
As her model, she pointed to the effort in Kansas, which had a nonpartisan message that emphasized a broad coalition she likened to the cantina scene from “Star Wars.”
“We do not feel like our destiny is linked to a national narrative,” she said, noting proudly that KATHLEEN SHANAHAN, former Gov. JEB BUSH’s ex-chief of staff, recently wrote Hochkammer’s group a check. The stakes, she insisted, were too high to tie their campaign to Biden or too-clever political strategies.
Florida is surrounded by states that have banned abortion and the state’s six-week ban, signed into law earlier this year by Gov. RON DeSANTIS, is on hold as the Supreme Court reviews it.
“If Florida falls to the six-week ban, then four million women of reproductive age are going to have to go to Washington, D.C., to get medical care,” Hochkammer said, noting that D.C. is the closest destination without abortion restrictions.
Hochkammer’s group has also strived to keep the language of their amendment simple and tailored it to Florida’s libertarian streak. It’s called the “Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion” and includes just one key sentence: “no law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider.”
The Florida activists’ messaging is more Reason magazine than The Nation. “Most families in America and Florida have had the experience of someone having to have an abortion,” Hochkammer said. “These are difficult and complicated decisions, and this amendment ensures that Big Brother can’t force his way into an emergency room or doctor’s office or sit down at the dining room table and tell you what the government wants you to do.”
Unlike in Ohio, Floridians won’t have a simple majority vote to clear. Florida voters raised the threshold for constitutional amendments to 60% in 2006, and since then, the Republican-led legislature has made it tougher to get an amendment on the ballot. Despite those obstacles, Hochkammer said, they are more than halfway to the finish line less than two months into a six-month petition drive.
Keep working hard all. Together, we are making a big difference. It has been exciting and rewarding to be doing all this work with all of you - Simon