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Democrats hope Biden can ride the party’s special election wave: From the Politics Desk

By 37ci3 Mar28,2024


Welcome to the online version of From the policy deskevening bulletin that brings you the latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill from the NBC News Politics team.

In today’s edition, national political reporter Ben Kamisar explains why the Democrats’ successes in special and annual elections aren’t necessarily giving Biden a boost. Plus, Garrett Haake, who covers the ins and outs of Trump’s world, interviews new RNC co-chair Lara Trump.


Democrats have scored another special election victory with momentum that has so far eluded Biden

By Ben Kamisar

Democrats celebrate their results another special election It drew national attention — this time by nearly 25 points in a heavily Republican state House district in Alabama, where Republicans were reacting to the recent court case. access to IVF at risk in the state.

The party’s success there, along with other recent special and annual elections in competitive and even red-leaning districts, suggests there is plenty of enthusiasm for President Joe Biden to exploit this fall. But so far, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to ride the same wave of momentum as Democrats on this downballot.


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Biden, 81, remains unpopular as concerns about his age persist. At best, national and state surveys it’s like flipping a coin for the president, even as he tries to highlight issues that have led to Democratic gains elsewhere, such as abortion rights. Support for key segments of Biden’s coalition, particularly voters of color and young voters, remains soft.

Democrats point to the scoreboard as proof that Biden is in better shape than the polls suggest. After a better-than-expected midterm showing in 2022, the party won the governorship in red Kentucky last year, while abortion rights supporters major ballot measures were swept. Democrats recently won a major special election for the US House of Representatives New York and state house Pennsylvania.

But it’s hard to draw a straight line from special and annual elections to the presidential race. Special elections are typically associated with low voter turnout: Fewer than 6,000 votes were cast in Alabama’s home contest on Tuesday. So while abortion and IVF may be a reviving issue there, it’s unclear how it will fare after billions of dollars have been spent on further defining Biden and Donald Trump.

Moreover, as Nathaniel Rakich of 538 wrote last monthWhile Democrats have had a string of strong special election showings throughout most of 2023, Republicans have fared better in recent months.

In addition to these election results, Democrats are waiting for others positive indicators To get to Biden. He launched a multimillion-dollar advertising and travel campaign aimed at strengthening his 2020 coalition, Americans outlook on the economy is improvingand the similarly unpopular Trump will be the first former president to go on trial in weeks, shedding more light on his extensive legal troubles.

With more than 200 days until Election Day, the outlook for Biden and Trump remains muddy, no matter what anyone says.


The RNC’s answer to uniting a divided party: Biden

By Garrett Haake

NBC News Correspondent Garrett Haake interviews RNC Co-Chair Lara Trump.
NBC News Correspondent Garrett Haake interviews RNC Co-Chair Lara Trump.Frank Thorp V / NBC News

Less than a month into the job as co-chair of the Republican National Committee and the de facto face of the national party, Lara Trump has a lot on her plate. But in our extensive interviewthe least of his worries was how he planned to unite a coalition of voters behind a deeply polarizing candidate in Donald Trump.

His response? Joe Biden will do it for them.

Lara Trump’s responses to campaign questions — to voters of color and the millions of Republicans who support Nikki Haley and other candidates — revolved around Trump pushing Biden rather than pulling them back into the MAGA tent.

Asked about appealing to Haley’s supporters, he presented a dual choice.

“The choice is Joe Biden or Donald Trump. So whether you like his personality or not, it shouldn’t affect anything. It’s nice that they are back,” said Lara Trump. “We’d like them to come back.”

He also argued that gas prices, the situation on the southern border and America’s place on the world stage would entice those voters to return.

When asked about expanding her father-in-law’s appeal to black voters, where cutting into Biden’s primary advantage could swing key states in 2020, Lara Trump seemed more open to pursuing voters where they are, but around the same general theme.

“When you talk about reaching out to minority communities, those are the people who have been hit the hardest by some of Joe Biden’s bad policies,” he said. “So we’ll certainly be doing a lot of outreach.”

He then said Trump would campaign in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and New York — only two of which are in battleground states but all have large black populations.

In this historic battle between two largely unpopular incumbents, the push-pull strategy makes some sense. Unless you can make yourself more popular, it’s a race to destroy the other guy first. Trump’s campaign and allies believe his loyal supporters give him a higher ground than Biden, who faces skepticism in various wings of his party.

Watch the full interview here →



🗞️ The best stories of the day

  • 🩺 Deadline for Obamacare: The next president will decide the fate of Affordable Care Act subsidies. Biden has said he wants to extend them, but it’s unclear what Trump will do. More →
  • 🏃 Battleground game: The Associated Press examines the Trump campaign and the RNC’s ground game — or lack thereof — in key states. More →
  • 👀 Trump Clock: A New York police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty by Trump this week is expected to attend Thursday’s ceremony. More →
  • ↗️ Beyond Impeachment: The House Oversight Committee chairman, R-Ky., is floating a motion to send a criminal case to the Justice Department because Republicans lack the votes to impeach Biden. More →
  • ⚖️ Opt out of protection: Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake has opted not to defend against allegations that she defamed Maricopa County election officials after the 2022 election. Instead, he will try to dispute the damages. More →
  • ☀️ The sun will rise tomorrow: Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., has announced she will not seek re-election, opening up a potentially competitive House seat. More →
  • 📖 The $59.99 Bible: Trump, along with country music singer Lee Greenwood, released the book “God Bless the USA Bible” for $59.99 (plus shipping and handling fees). More →

For now, that’s it from The Politics Desk. If you have feedback – like it or not – send us an email politicsnewsletter@nbcuni.com

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