Stocks In Record Territory, Trump Is An Extraordinary Risk For GOP Part 2, Loud and Proud, People
Our Monthly Hopium-Wide Gathering Is Wed, 8pm EST - Tom Suozzi Is The Special Guest!
Friends, a few things on this New Hampshire primary day, 2024:
Our Monthly Hopium-Wide Community Gathering Is Tomorrow Night, 8pm EST - First, we will get an update from Tom Suozzi (exciting!). Then I will do an overview of the national political landscape and take some questions. Register here, and a video recording of the event will be here and on YouTube for those who can’t make it live. Here’s how you can help Tom win:
Welcome to all the new Hopium subscribers! Will be great to have you with us tomorrow night.
All Three Stock Indices In Record Territory, Dow Breaks 38,000 For First Time Ever - The run of remarkable economic news continues this week as the Dow broke 38,000 for the first time, and all 3 major stock market indices have now been in record territory. It’s worth recapping what we’ve seen in recent weeks:
Best job market since the 1960s, stock market setting records (401Ks are happy), best recovery in the G7, consumer sentiment rising
The inflation fueled by COVID/supply chain disruptions, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and OPEC price hikes has ended, and we are now in a place much closer to historic norms. Prices for many items are falling including groceries, gas, rents and mortgage rates
Historically elevated wage growth, new business formation and prime-age worker participation rates. In the last few months we’ve seen some of the most robust real wage growth we’ve seen in decades, and Americans at all income levels have seen sizeable increases in their overall net worth
Lowest uninsured rate in history, record ACA signups this year
Renewable and domestic oil production set records in 2023, US more energy independent than its been in decades. In 2023 the US produced more oil than any country has in any year in history
The investments Biden has made will creating prosperity for America and opportunities for American workers for decades to come
The annual deficit is trillions less than when Biden came to office
For young people the job market is the best since the 1960s; more young people have health insurance today than ever before; the President has forgiven more than $130b in student debt; by some measure home ownership rates are higher for Gen Z than Gen X and Millennials at this point in their lives; and rising minimum wages in states and cities across the US have created higher floors for new and entry-level workers than in many years.
As I wrote last week this ongoing, remarkable performance of the US economy is taking away the Republican Party’s central indictment of Biden. In my new With Dems presentation I show how much better the economy does when Democrats are in office, for we are far better at this capitalism thing than the Rs. In this post I show that Americans are remarkably content with their lives, work, and incomes, and a new Axios poll finds broad satisfaction right now with people’s own finances.
Need to go on offense here, peeps, be loud and proud. Joe Biden took over the country in a time of COVID, a deep recession and insurrection, and his central promise to us was that he could get us to the other side, successfully. He has kept that promise; we are far better off today; the Democratic Party is the party of growth, opportunity, fiscal responsibility and progress; the Republican Party remains the party of recession, higher deficits and American decline. Let’s be shouting all this from the rooftops people, working all this through our networks and work together to drown out the poisonous pessimism and never ending BS coming from the other side.
Republicans Are Taking An Enormous Risk With Trump - Part 2 - Just as we are seeing the media begin to acknowledge how strong the economy is, we’re starting to see much more discussion about what a problematic nominee Trump is going to be for Republicans this year. This is a topic I’ve been exploring a lot in recent weeks, most notably in my recent MSNBC op-ed and Morning Joe appearance, and in a post yesterday. Consider these headlines from the last few days:
The Gamble Republicans Are About To Take on Trump - Aaron Blake, Washington Post
Donald Trump Has A Big Problem Ahead - A Whole Swath of GOP Voters Appears Firmly Committed To Not Voting Trump This November - Sam Stein and Natalie Allison, Politico
What Trump’s Victory in Iowa Means: The Result Also Offers Some Warning Signs - Ron Brownstein, The Atlantic
Elise Stefanik’s Deranged Defense of Trump Offers Democrats A Lesson - Greg Sargent, The New Republic - Even many Republicans can smell that the conventional wisdom about Trump’s legal woes helping him is about to change. Democrats need to play hardball
Here’s an excerpt from Greg’s piece:
What’s changed now is that Trump’s legal challenges are unfolding in courtrooms—in public-facing venues—before juries of the ex-president’s peers. It’s becoming impossible to fabricate conspiracy theories around the ordinary Americans whose judgment Trump faces, and the gravity of the proceedings is suddenly getting a lot more real.
All this suggests Democrats should actively draw attention to Trump’s legal travails. True, in 2016, voters were aware of Trump’s boast on video about committing sexual assault, and some argue that Hillary Clinton’s campaign showed the limits of campaigning against his debauched personal qualities and ethics.
But with Trump now being prosecuted for numerous crimes, both the details of these charges and the role of ordinary Americans in serving up grand jury indictments constitute new fact sets of a much more serious nature. These involves concrete, vividly detailed efforts to seize power illegally and steal national security secrets, as well as a jury’s conclusion that Trump committed sexual assault, which is more compelling than his bragging ever was.
“We have a lot of new information to share with voters,” Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg told me. “It’s important that we update their understanding of who he is. He’s a far more degraded candidate than he was in 2020.”
The struggle of Stefanik and other Republicans to address Trump’s legal problems illustrates another rationale for Democrats pressing the issue: It could put GOP downballot candidates on defense too. “Democrats would benefit from having Republicans on record in regards to Trump’s deep ethical and legal troubles,” said one senior Democratic strategist involved in congressional races. Confirming the point, when Stefanik recently described the people who attacked the Capitol as “hostages,” vulnerable House Republicans rapidly distanced themselves from the remark.
As I argued in that December MSNBC piece, the national chatter has been dramatically over-discounting Trump’s historic negatives and misdeeds in their assessment of 2024. He is a weaker candidate than he was in 2016 or 2020. He is far more degraded, extreme, dangerous. His performance on the stump is far more erratic and unhinged. He keeps making deeply consequential unforced errors like coming out against the ACA and admitting he ended Roe. He is a historically bad man, the worst to ever run for President in our history. He is also in my view a historically bad candidate, and Republicans are making a huge mistake in nominating him this year.
Donald Trump is not strong. He is weak, unfit, a disgrace - and we are going to kick his ass, together, this year.
A Reminder About The Polls - Donald Trump Does Not Lead Nationally Or In The Battlegrounds, The Democratic Coalition Has Not Fallen Apart, It Is Very Unlikely Isreal-Hamas War Plays A Major Role In The 2024 Election - Ok, going to do this as quickly as I can - one can only say a trend is a trend if all or a large majority of polls show the same results. Where many went wrong in 2022 was they made conclusions about the election based on what some but not all polls were showing. In 2022 Tom Bonier and I showed there was a lot of data challenging the red wave theory, and that it would be a close, competitive election. However many analysts dismissed that data and stuck to the data that confirmed the red wave. And they were wrong, and where their mistake lay was not in acknowledging this other data out there which showed a different outcome in the election than they had forecast. Not all the data pointed in the same direction in 2022, and it is not all pointing in the same direction now. So caution was required then, and it is required now, too.
So, let me be very clear about where I think things are now:
National and battleground polls show a close competitive election. Many polls are showing Biden ahead nationally and in the battlegrounds. The latest NYT poll showed Biden up 2 points, not trailing as their earlier poll did in October. As I showed a few days ago, there are now polls in MI, NH, and PA showing Biden beating Trump and ahead of his 2020 results. Really encouraging stuff. A new poll just released this morning has Biden up 8 in PA. The idea that Trump leads or has an edge is simply not where the polling is right now. Are we where want to be? Certainly not, and we have a lot of work to do. Pro tip - any analysis built on those October NYT battleground polls which the NYT’s polling shows are no longer relevant should be dismissed out of hand.
Our continued strong performance in elections of all kinds since 2018 but particularly since Dobbs is the most important electoral data out there right now. We just keep winning and they keep struggling. We even saw that last week - turnout in Iowa was anemic and we flipped a Florida state house seat despite being heavily outspent. That the party in power continues to defy history and not see traditional mid-term, off-year losses deserves to be far more central to our understanding of American politics today.
Yes, there are polls showing Dem erosion with young people and people of color, but as I wrote recently, the most comprehensive, large sample polls of Hispanics and young people show Biden at/near his 2020 results. Parts of our coalition are wandering right now, no doubt; Biden is tied with Trump, not leading by 4.5 pts as he did in 2020; but what is likely is that much of our coalition will come home when people realize that the election is Trump and Biden, and then we have a campaign to go out and get the rest and hopefully increase our margins and get to 55.
Will Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war cost him in 2024? I don’t think it will, but we will have to see. We have work to do here, and we do not want to give up on any part of our coalition but the size of the Muslim American electorate in Michigan is being exaggerated by some analysts. There were 140,000 Muslim American voters in Michigan in 2020, and nationally they broke 64% to 35% for Biden. So applying that result to Michigan that’s 89,000 Biden votes, 51,000 Trump votes. Let’s assume Biden loses half his MI Muslim vote, and Trump 10,000 of his for this outrageous anti-Muslim agenda. That would mean Dems would have a net loss of 35,000 votes in this community in 2024. Can we make that up elsewhere if we can’t win those votes back during the campaign? With pro-choice indies and Rs, young people, NeverTrumpers? We probably can. Yes, but what about young people you say? Below is the latest Economist/YouGov poll - 0% of young people in this poll say foreign policy is their most important issue right now. 0%. Yes, Israel-Hamas is an important issue for some young people, as we’ve seen. But it’s my bet that for the typical young person in 2024, it will be very remote, and far less important than all the other things that typically drive national elections - the economy, health care and for young people climate change, abortion, gun safety etc. We should be okay but have lots of work to do.
A Final Note To The Hopium Community - Stay Strong, Don’t Get Blown Around By All The BS Out There - One thing I’ve learned from being with all of you is how easily a single article or poll can blow people off course. This is something we have to overcome to be as effective as we want to be in 2024. An overwhelming majority of the messages I get from all of you is some form of “Simon did you see this? Simon what about this? Did you see what xxx wrote today?” Why do we do this? Why do we let others dictate our understanding, distract us from the work at hand, and blow us off course for a few hours or a few days? Stay focused on us, not them. Talk far more about what is going right, what Joe Biden is doing to make the country better, the progress we are making. As I like to say do more, worry less.
Of course, we all have anxiety about where we are today as a nation, but when you allow doubt, uncertainty, and worry to dominate your engagement with politics, rather than pride, love of country, measured optimism, and hard work you are doing MAGA’s work for them. They are a negative sentiment machine. They want us to feel bad about our country, our democracy, our President, our leaders, our party, our leaders, our institutions. It is how radicals take over - for only when everything is broken, failed, and irredeemable will a nation resort to extreme solutions like the despicable Trump. Talking down America and Americans, and making us doubt the greatness of the American project is Trump’s central strategy. He wants us to do anything other than making the case for our country, our party, our President. Do not let him win in this way. Stay focused. Put positive sentiment into the discourse each day. Spread Hopium through your networks. Express your love of country and patriotism at every moment. Live in light not darkness. When you are getting blown off course, catch yourself. Let it go, and return to what we know to be true:
Joe Biden is a good President. The country is better off. The Democratic Party is strong and winning elections across the country. And they have Trump, the most unfit man to ever run for President in our history.
Who would you rather be? Yes, I would, in every way possible, much rather be us than them. For you can paint his face, dye his hair, strap a girdle on him, and pump him full of speed and still he is never again going to look like a serious candidate for the most important elected office in the most important democracy in the history of the world.
Keep fighting hard all. We have a big election to win, together, this year - Simon