I thought Joe threaded the needle just right at the WH Correspondents Dinner....addressed the serious issues with presidential gravitas, and had a great sense of humor about himself the rest of the time. As always, he’s being dramatically underestimated, which is the Ace up his sleeve....this is going to be a great campaign

Expand full comment

I have heard that Republicans are saying, more or less, that if given four more years, Biden will die in office and Harris is too weak to be a good bet. How can we support the veep?

Expand full comment

Well, I think Democrats do best when they set their own narratives rather than constantly responding to Republican ones.....the more we focus on our own handpicked themes and answer every question with what we want people to know, the better.......just don’t even give oxygen to their divisive and dystopian assertions 🤷‍♂️

Expand full comment

I have a different take on Biden’s launch message. Worryingly, in the battle for hearts and minds, Biden and the Democratic Party have yet to find their focus. And, unfortunately, the Biden/Harris re-election announcement video illustrates this. The video launches with the assertion that nothing is more important to Americans than individual freedom and that protecting and championing such freedom is what the Biden presidency has been about. Then he reiterates the message of his first campaign — that he’s “Fighting for the soul of America.” And finally, he adds the closing mantra, “Let’s finish the Job.”

The assertion that Biden’s first term has been all about protecting individual freedoms does not ring true — in part because it has barely ever been mentioned before now. What American of any political persuasion would identify this as the guiding force of Biden’s first term? There is no polling evidence anywhere that I know of that would back-up this assertion.

And “Let’s finish the job”?? What in our national agenda in any single area of policy could possibly get finished in a second Biden term, let alone bringing our country back from the brink of authoritarian madness? This makes Biden seem oblivious to the major threats, domestically and internationally, that we face.

For more about ideas for clearing up this confused messaging, I invite you to read: https://open.substack.com/pub/jonthinks/p/the-power-is-the-people-yearning?r=mrvx1&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

Expand full comment

What do you mean they've failed to find their focus? I think they've done a good job of focusing. It's just there are so damn many crises!

Expand full comment

I get your point, but Biden hasn’t articulated a clear compelling alternative narrative to the authoritarian “Only I can fix it.” And he’s still operating in somewhat the same mode as Merrick Garland: both are traditional institutionalists unwilling to call a spade a spade and ( to mix my metaphors) seize the bull by the horns and take it down. Reading the post that I cite might help you get where I’m coming from.

Expand full comment

Jon, if this were all true how do you explain our very strong performance in 2022 and in WI a month ago?

Expand full comment

Simon, thanks for your note/question. I think there’s an important difference between acting against or in reaction to something and acting for or by being motivated and inspired by something. So, to put this in very general terms, I believe 2022 was mostly a reaction against the excesses of Trump and Trumpism and against the Supreme Court excision in Hobbs, and WI was also an extension of this sentiment to the court in WI.

There remain lots of reasons to vote against MAGA, etc. And many people will react to those. But I think a great deal of what created MAGA in the first place was a widespread disaffection with the empty rhetoric and promises of both parties as they (we - I’m a Democrat) fell under the spell of Neo-Liberalism and essentially stood by as, for decades, the middle/working class was eviscerated financially, their communities devastated by closed factories and shops, and their dignity robbed of them because they had lost any sense of agency as we elites focused on globalism, etc. Trump saw this somehow and his pitch was really, “A plague on both their houses. Only I can fix it.”

So, while Biden and his admin and Dem Congress has done remarkable things to push through critical legislation and funding for a better, more sustainable future for our nation, and he has targeted so much of this to the “Heartland” and middle America, much of America is only vaguely, if at all, aware of these accomplishments. His low approval numbers have been stuck in place for almost his entire presidency. Even more worrisome as we get into another very heated election cycle, he hasn’t articulated a coherent, inspiring, or memorable vision of what he and the Dems stand for, besides not Trump and MAGA.

I’m a speechwriter and so perhaps naturally, or by long experience, find that leadership matters, especially at times like this when there is so much fear and anger — in MAGAland for their many reasons and among women, for example, because of MAGA anti-abortion extremism, and middle class families because of the apparently volatile and vulnerable economy (inflation, banking crises, threat of national default and economic choas, etc), and parents of school children because of volatile and deranged white guys with AR 15s, and a real uncertainty abroad in the country about the capacity of our legal systems to deliver justice or accountability, on the war in Europe, on the growing threat of conflict with China, on and on.

In this environment, people inclined towards common decency and common sense need leadership, both in the form of individuals whom they can admire and with whom they can identity, as well as a motivating vision or idea of where their efforts, individually and collectively, can take them — can “deliver them from evil” so to speak.

Biden and the Dems simply haven’t provided this. The reason there is so much fear and anger, which only seems to grow, is that our leaders for Democracy are not speaking effectively or directly enough (i.e., “centering”) the vast middle class of “troops” that must be rallied, that want to be rallied, around a shared idea or cause. Instead, Biden speaks only occasionally, and without much fervor, and still in the shop worn vernacular that so many Americans have long-since tuned out and lost trust in.

ANd it’s not just Biden. The Dem Party overall seems to lack any sense of a planned, coherent set of talking and rallying points that create a mental and emotional pathway for middle-class engagement and agency in defending and also championing a better future.

I’ll stop there. I have written much about all of these thing on my substack if you are interested to pursue any of this further.

Once again, I appreciate your taking my comments on you post seriously enough to respond and engage!

Expand full comment