Discover more from Hopium Chronicles By Simon Rosenberg
Joe Biden's Presidency Is Working. It's Why Republicans Are Trying So Hard To Blow It Up
The Monday Newsletter/Welcome New Subscribers!
GOP Working Overtime to Sabotage Joe Biden, and America Itself - It’s perhaps easy to forget what Joe Biden inherited when he came to office in Jan of 2021. A failed COVID response, and high rates of COVID transmission throughout the country. An unprecedented, and ongoing, attack on our democracy. A shortened transition and Trump’s refusal to attend the Inaugural. A deep and dangerous recession, and the biggest budget deficit since WWII. An immigration and border system broken and battered by MAGA extremism. Rising crime rates, rising levels of gun violence, extreme weather events occurring more frequently. A radicalized Republican Party whose extremism, incredibly, appeared to be getting worse, not better. Adversaries emboldened by America’s struggles and its drift into illiberalism.
Joe Biden inherited an unbelievable mess.
Today, COVID is behind us. The US economic recovery from COVID is the best in the G7. In recent months America has experienced its lowest peacetime unemployment rate since WWII and its lowest poverty and uninsured rates ever. Wage gains and new business formation remains at historically elevated levels. There are worker shortages across the US. The black unemployment rate was just the lowest ever recorded. We’ve made enormous investments in our future which will help fuel prosperity for Americans for a generation to come. Inflation, which has been a global phenomenon driven by Putin’s war, COVID and OPEC’s continued price hikes has been coming down for many months; while GDP and job growth remain strong. Both the trade deficit and the annual budget deficit have come way down. Joe Biden passed the first gun safety law in 30 years, and his new border plan is working far better than his many critics hoped for (what did I leave out?).
The President has led a global coalition to successfully repel Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The Western alliance has been revitalized. We have once again become a global leader in the fight against climate change and in the global energy transition. The President is forging a new more aggressive approach to China. While the withdrawal from Afghanistan was bumpy, the strategic decision to leave was the right one, freeing us up to support Ukraine and more effectively counter China.
Joe Biden has been a good President. He has helped America recover from the twin threats of COVID and a disastrous Trump Presidency. Our economy is strong. American is better off. We are leading the world again. We’ve made historic and consequential investments in our future. We just had a good midterm, and the early 2023 elections are breaking our way. The two leading GOP candidates for President are truly awful. Given all this Joe Biden is likely to be re-elected next year.
Which is why the Republicans are doing everything they can to blow it all up now. What McCarthy is doing is a sign of their weakness, their desperation. They keep losing elections. Their extremists positions on so many issues - abortion, guns, book banning, Ukraine, health care, climate change, democracy itself - keep pushing them further and further away from the electorate (see the chart below). You only need to cheat when you are losing, and that they keep cheating - stealing a Supreme Court seat, outrageous gerrymandering and attacks on voting, working with Russia to win in 2016, denying the Senate a legitimate Impeachment trial in 2020, leading an insurrection in 2021 and now this reckless, unpatriotic and idiotic debt ceiling fiasco - is a sign that they know that the country is slipping away from them, that it is moving on from their reactionary views, and that they have to find ways outside of how any democracy would work to gain and exercise power.
These repeated deeply illiberal assaults on democratic norms and laws are a form of political secession. MAGA and many in the GOP have already seceded from the America we’ve known for centuries, the America whose central mission has been to counter autocracy, oligarchy and illiberalism, not advance it. The rules of that American democracy don’t work for them anymore, so their primary political project now is to do away with that America and build a new one with a new set of rules where a minority can hold and exercise power unchallenged - as they are attempting to do with the debt ceiling now.
Which is why this week is so important in American politics, and why we must continue rallying around our President as he takes on MAGA and doing the work we do. As the President says in his launch video below, our politics now is about either more freedom or less freedom. Let’s keep our eyes open and heads down this week my friends, and keep working hard, together, to ensure freedom and democracy prevail here and everywhere.
Democrats Keep Winning Elections/Biden Campaign Goes on Offense - The strong Democratic performance we saw in the battlegrounds in 2022 is now showing up again in 2023 as we’ve had big wins in CO, FL, PA and WI in recent weeks. Thanks to all who helped Donna Deegan get it done in Jacksonville on Tuesday. Helping her was our first big political project here at Hopium, and it was an important strategic victory right in the heart of DeSantis country. Well done all.
As I keep saying, the Democratic Party is strong now, and more is possible for us. Be sure to read my take on the new Biden campaign’s strategy memo and note that it already launched a major advertising campaign in 8 battleground states - AZ, FL, GA, MI, NC, NV, PA, WI. The Biden plan is encouraging, aggressive, and another sign that they coming out of the box strong and ready to take it to MAGA. Dems are fired up and ready to go in 2023!
A terrific new Washington Post article, New data shows how little the electorate looks like the population, makes the case, powerfully, for the national youth voter registration drive I’ve been advocating:
The 2022 midterm elections did not go the way the Republican Party expected. Historical patterns suggested that the party would accrue a hefty majority in the House and regain control of the Senate. Those things didn’t happen for a variety of reasons.
But the party can take solace in one thing: The results would probably have been quite a bit worse if the electorate actually looked like the U.S. population.
It then shares this chart:
We have an opportunity to go big in 2024 due to their extremism, to Get to 55, and seize rhetorical, geographic and demographic real estate they’ve abandoned. So much is possible for us now - as we saw in the battlegrounds in 2022, as we just saw in CO, FL, PA, WI, as we see in a new Voters for Tomorrow youth poll showing very strong Biden numbers with 18-29 year olds. We need to make 2024 not just about winning, but by running up the score we can make sure the election becomes understood as a clear and historic repudiation of MAGA.
My Take on Polling 18 Months Out - In a new memo, I make some recommendations on how to be thinking about polling this far away from an election and given what happened with the false red wave last year. Key points:
Polls Don’t Predict, They Are A Snapshot in Time
Stick To The Averages, Never Allow A Single Poll Dictate Your Understand
Polling Has Gotten Expensive and Hard
The Amount of Public Polling By Right Leaning Outfits Is Increasing
The WaPo/ABC Poll Was Bad, And Should Not Have Been Released.
Recent Hopium Events
My May Political Briefing and Discussion (5/16/23)
Wednesday, May 24th, 8pm EST - Hopium Paid Subscriber Briefing and Hangout with Simon - Learn More, RSVP
Friday, June 16th, Noon EST- June Political Briefing With Simon - RSVP
Wed, June 21st, 1pm EST - Hopium Paid Subscribers Briefing and Hangout With Simon (Note New Time)
How the great outdoors transformed Oregon and the fight for the White House - Mark Barabak, LA Times
The Analyst Who Saw Through 2022’s Red Mirage Has a Prediction for 2024 - Greg Sargent, Washington Post
Joe Biden Isn’t Popular. That Might Not Matter in 2024 - Ron Brownstein, The Atlantic
Hopium Housekeeping/Welcome New Subscribers! - If you are new to Hopium be sure to read my welcome statement and Ron Brownstein’s interview with me in the Atlantic. Together they do a good job of explaining why I’ve shuttered NDN and have set up shop here at Substack. For those who like podcasts, this interview with How We Win is also a very good introduction to what we are trying to do here. My big presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better, is the closest thing we have to an orientation for the big arguments we make here, and is the original source for much of our Hopium. It takes about 30 minutes and is worth the time.
By becoming a paid subscriber here, you help provide the resources needed to keep all this work coming, and also get access to private events and materials not available to free subscribers. Only paid subscribers can offer comments and join the lively conversation taking place in our comments section. It’s a good deal, and hope you will consider becoming a paid subscriber today!
For those new to this new political project, welcome! We are glad to have you as part of our early days here at the Hopium Chronicles.
Happy Monday! Keep working hard all - Simon