Departing his small, unshowy home state of Delaware, Joe Biden roared into the sky aboard Air Force One, borne aloft by jet fuel and a dramatic uplift in his political fortunes.
A thousand miles away, some unexpected guests had just arrived at the opulent Florida estate of the US president’s predecessor, Donald Trump, but not for its champagne, sumptuous buffet or two pound lobsters.
At about 9am on Monday, FBI agents – said to number between 30 and 40, some wearing suits, most in T-shirts, casual trousers, masks and gloves – began a search of Mar-a-Lago for government secrets that should not have left the White House.
It was a tale of two presidents: Biden at his zenith, gaining praise for a “hot streak” and earning comparisons with the master legislator Lyndon Johnson; Trump at his nadir, under criminal investigation for potential violations of the Espionage Act and earning comparisons with the 1920s gangster Al Capone.
And yet, such is the upside down nature of American politics in 2022, determining who won and who lost the week was less clear cut. For Biden, to be sure, it was a much needed boost after months of Washington gridlock, miserable poll ratings and speculation that he could face a challenger from his own Democratic party in the 2024 presidential election.
But Trump, perversely, also appeared to end the week stronger within his party than he began it. He had faced growing dissent over damaging revelations from the congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Yet his claim that his home had been “raided” by law enforcement prompted Republicans to unite behind him with renewed zeal.
The upshot was that Biden, 79, and 76-year-old Trump had each received a political blood transfusion when they needed it most. If recent events proved anything, it was that they are still the most likely contenders for the White House in 2024. America’s gerontocracy is not done yet.
For a president long called a carnival barker and reality TV star reveling in spectacle, the FBI search on Monday began innocuously enough, with neither Trump nor cameras present (his son, Eric, told Fox News that he had been the first to learn of it and informed his father).
The FBI agents had a search warrant as part of a justice department investigation into the discovery of classified White House records recovered from Mar-a-Lago earlier this year. They wore plain clothes and were given access by the Secret Service without drama.
The agents reportedly seized 11 sets of classified information, some of which was marked “top secret”, along with binders, handwritten notes and information about the “President of France”. Trump denied a Washington Post article that said the search was for possible classified materials related to nuclear weapons.
It ended at about 6.30pm on Monday and word broke on social media a few minutes later, quickly followed by confirmation from Trump himself. In a characteristically hyperbolic statement, he fumed that Mar-a-Lago was “currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents. Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before… They even broke into my safe!”
Trump claimed the search was politically motivated and attempted to draw a contrast with his old foe Hillary Clinton, but perhaps the most important sentence asserted: “It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024.”
Like a herd of wildebeest, Republicans stampeded thunderously as one. “Weaponization”, “banana republic” and “dictatorship” were the go-to words of the week along with a blitz of fundraising emails. Some in the party of law and order, which had castigated Democrats over the “defund the police” slogan, were now calling for the FBI to be defunded.
Senator Rick Scott of Florida, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, claimed that the government has gone the way of “the Gestapo”, the secret police in Nazi Germany. Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona tweeted: “We must destroy the FBI. We must save America. I stand with Donald J Trump.”
Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, warned the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, to “preserve your documents and clear your calendar” because, if Republicans take control of the House in November’s midterm elections, they will hold oversight investigations into the justice department.
So far, so Maga. Perhaps more tellingly, even Republicans who had previously distanced themselves from Trump felt compelled to toe the line. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell demanded a “thorough and immediate explanation” of what led to the search.
The former vice-president Mike Pence, who fell out with the former president over January 6, said “the appearance of continued partisanship by the justice department must be addressed”. Other potential contenders for the Republican nomination in 2024, including Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, joined the chorus.
Opinion polls confirmed that the FBI search had given Trump at least a modest boost among Republicans. A survey by Morning Consult found that 57% of Republican voters and Republican-leaning independents would vote for Trump if the 2024 primary were being held today, up from 53% in mid-July. DeSantis fell from 23% to 17% over the same period.
This followed a run of victories for Trump-backed candidates in congressional primary elections. In the spring and early summer, his record had been uneven with notable setbacks in states such as Georgia. But this month, his slate of election-deniers beat establishment-backed candidates in Arizona.
The businessman Tim Michels won the Republican primary for governor of Wisconsin with Trump’s backing. Most of the 10 Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach Trump have either retired or lost. Liz Cheney, the vice-chair of the January 6 committee, will be on the Wyoming ballot on Tuesday and is widely expected to lose her seat.
A the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, 69% of attendees said they wanted Trump as the Republican nominee in 2024, well ahead of DeSantis on 24%. Jim McLaughlin, who conducted the straw poll, said: “He’s more popular than ever.”
Yet even as Trump tightens his grip on the Republican base, his new status as the first former US president to suffer the indignity of having his home searched by the FBI offers another reason why moderate and independent voters could slip through his fingers.
Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said: “There are two contrary effects. With Republicans, or at least the Republican base, this has caused them to rally around not the flag but Donald Trump. It has strengthened him within the party and discouraged people like DeSantis, whether he admits it or not, and the others aren’t even on the radar screen at this point.
“But the contrary effect for not just Democrats but also independents is it makes Trump less electable in 2024. People look at him and even if they like him they say his time has passed and he’s too controversial, I’ve heard this a million times and I don’t think it’s exceptional.”
Wendy Schiller, a political science professor at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, agrees that Republicans’ fast and furious defense of Trump should not necessarily be taken at face value as the midterms approach.
She said: “They’re squeezing all of this enthusiasm out of his base, promising them all sorts of things, just to make sure that they get out and vote on 8 November.”
Schiller added: “They’re using Donald Trump to get to the promised land in November but, as soon as they get there, it’s not clear to me that they stay loyal to him particularly. They don’t have to. Once they get the Congress, particularly if they get the Senate, and if Ron DeSantis wins big in Florida for re-election, he doesn’t need Donald Trump to get the nomination or the presidency.”
Whatever their motivations, Republicans’ rush of incendiary and reckless rhetoric also came with a dark and dangerous side. Pro-Trump online chatrooms filled with calls for violence and phrases such as “lock and load” while “civil war” trended on Twitter.
On Thursday an armed man wearing body armor tried to breach a security screening area at an FBI field office in Ohio, then fled and was later killed after a standoff with law enforcement. The man is believed to have been in Washington in the days before the assault on the US Capitol and may have been there on the day it took place.
Trump’s legal perils – federal and state, civil and criminal – continue to mount. In a separate case, he sat for a deposition on Wednesday as the New York attorney general, Letitia James, wraps up a civil investigation into allegations that his company misled lenders and tax authorities about asset values.
Even as Trump invoked his fifth-amendment protection against self-incrimination more than 400 times, Biden was at the White House celebrating another victory. He signed bipartisan legislation to pour billions of dollars into care for military veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.
It was one of several victories for a president who just last month was being written off as a likely one-term president with an approval rating below 40% – worse even than Trump’s – because of inflation, a stalled agenda and a desire for generational change. The Axios website started a list of Democratic officials’ positions on whether they want Biden to run again in 2024, noting that two gave firm “no”s and 19 dodged the question.
But the narrative has shifted quickly in just a few weeks even as Biden battled a coronavirus infection and lingering cough. Congress, where Democrats have wafer-thin majorities, sent bipartisan bills addressing gun violence and boosting the nation’s high-tech manufacturing sector to his desk.
On Friday, the president secured what he called the “final piece” of his economic agenda with passage of a $740bn climate and prescription drug deal once thought dead. In addition, petrol prices dipped below $4 a gallon for the first time since March, inflation appears to be stabilising and the economy added 528,000 jobs in July, bringing the unemployment rate to 3.5%, the lowest in half a century.
And Biden successfully ordered the killing of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a US drone strike in Afghanistan, the most significant blow to the terrorist network since the death of Osama Bin Laden. Democrats and the White House hope the run of victories will revive their their political fortunes in time for the midterms.
Bob Shrum, a veteran Democratic strategist, said: “When you combine what’s happened in the last month legislatively with the supreme court decision overturning Roe v Wade [the constitutional right to abortion], you may have a very different situation for Democrats going into the midterms and for Biden in the second half of his term and a possible re-election.”
Shrum, director of the Center for the Political Future at the University of Southern California Dornsife, does not buy the notion that Trump has been strengthened by his latest crisis. “He’s still the dominant force in the Republican party but he’s not as dominant as he was a year ago. He might be able to win a plurality nomination, but I actually think he’d be a very weak Republican nominee. He literally could get into a position where running would be a part time occupation and defending himself in court would be the full time occupation.”
The 2024 election is an age away. Most commentators agree that, despite all the unknowables facing both men, including those related to being older than any other American presidents in history, a Biden v Trump rematch remains the most likely scenario.
Michael Steele, a Trump critic and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said: “Let’s settle this once and for all. Let’s stomp Trump’s ass into the ground one more time. He lost by 8m votes last time; he’ll lose by 16m next time. You want to play? Let’s play. Democrats, with all their navel gazing, whining and bellyaching about Joe Biden’s age and this and that, shut the hell up!”
Steele added: “The most likely outcome going into 2024 is that it will be a repeat of the 2020 election. All stakes remain the same, if not higher, and the American people are going to have to decide once and for all: are we down with autocracy or are we up with democracy?”
I believe Roe got it right.
I commit to the American people that I'll continue doing everything in my power to safeguard access to health care, including the right to choose. Go to http://reproductiverights.gov to learn more.
He's "a bit of a superhero" #BidenDeliversAGAIN
WASHINGTON — President Biden looks supercharged.
On social media, his eyes glow Terminator-like in images depicting him as an all-powerful figure imposing his will on the nation. Known as “Dark Brandon,” the memes began as an ironic portrayal employing a nickname from the offensive, anti-Biden chant of “Let’s Go Brandon” embraced by former president Trump’s supporters.
But after a slew of recent legislative wins, Democrats have appropriated the imagery to celebrate a president suddenly rejuvenated heading toward the fall midterm elections after a nearly yearlong stretch in which he seemed more impotent than almighty.
“Dark Brandon is crushing it,” Andrew Bates, White House deputy press secretary, tweeted over a picture of a smiling Biden with robotic red eyes after the Senate approved one of his major initiatives, a major climate change and health care bill that received final congressional approval Friday. Other aides and Biden supporters are posting similar depictions and references, such as one from Connecticut Democrat Senator Chris Murphy on Twitter that depicts Biden as a comic-book character with gleaming yellow eyes.
“He is a bit of a superhero this summer,” Murphy said during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in which the host wondered if COVID had given Biden “laser superpowers.”
The successes have fueled optimism among Democrats that the party might defy history and hold its slim congressional majorities in November as the president’s low approval rating has begun inching upward.
Biden emerged from isolation this past week after his bout with COVID to sign bipartisan bills boosting US computer chip production and expanding health care benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. In the coming days, he’s expected to sign the Inflation Reduction Act, legislation long sought by Democrats that tackles climate change and lowers prescription drug costs.
“Decades from now, people are going to look back at this week, with all we passed ... [and say] that we met the moment at this inflection point in history,” Biden said in signing the CHIPS and Science Act on Tuesday.
Prior to the recent flurry of signings, Biden secured confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court this spring as the first Black woman justice. In June, he signed bipartisan legislation addressing gun violence, the first federal action on the issue in decades. He also scored a major national security success this summer with the killing of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri by a US drone strike in Afghanistan.
Some developments outside of Biden’s control also have added to the momentum. The Supreme Court’s June decision ending the constitutional right to abortion could boost Democratic turnout in November and lure independents who support abortion rights to vote for the party’s candidates. And to top it off, economic news has turned more positive, with data from July showing strong job growth and a steady decline in gas prices that slowed a soaring annual inflation rate.
“Over the last few months, it sure looks like he’s found his mojo again,” said Simon Rosenberg, president of the centrist Democratic think tank NDN.
Still, Democrats will need a lot of mojo to buck the historic trend of the president’s party losing congressional seats in the midterm elections, particularly with inflation still near a four-decade high and the party’s legislative accomplishments falling short of the sweeping changes promised during the 2020 campaign.
“Can a perception of a president being behind the curve and not getting a lot done, can you have 16-17 months of that change with the events of a couple of months?” asked Charlie Cook, founder of the Cook Political Report, a non-partisan newsletter that analyzes elections and campaigns. “That’s a pretty tall order.”
But strong performances by losing Democratic candidates in two recent special House elections in solidly Republican districts, as well as wins by some controversial GOP Senate candidates in party primaries, suggest the midterms might be closer than expected just a couple months ago. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, recently downplayed expectations for big gains by his party in November.
“We have a 50-50 nation. And I think, when the Senate race smoke clears, we’re likely to have a very, very close Senate still, with either us up slightly or the Democrats up slightly,” he told Fox News earlier this month.
The Democrats’ recent successes have already altered Biden’s legacy in the minds of historians. Adding last year’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, Biden’s list of achievements in his first 18 months mark his term as moderately successful so far, and he gets extra credit for doing so with razor-thin congressional margins in a time of bitter partisan division, said Barbara A. Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.
That’s still a far cry from the hopes Biden had for a transformative presidency like that of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the architect of the New Deal, and Lyndon B. Johnson, who enacted the Great Society social programs. Biden referenced Roosevelt in his 2020 nomination acceptance speech and had his portrait hung over the fireplace in the Oval Office.
Historically, Perry said she’d rank Biden in the middle of the pack of past presidents. That’s about where historians placed him in the Siena College Research Institute’s latest Survey of US Presidents that was released in June: 19th out of 45 presidents — between Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. In the survey’s 20 categories, Biden rated highest on ability to compromise (9th) and lowest on luck (34th).
New presidents often get a middling ranking after one year, with the exception of Trump, who was ranked third from last in 2018 and held the same spot in this year’s survey, said Donald P. Levy, the institute’s director. And, Biden’s score could improve given the recent legislative accomplishments, particularly if they have a major impact over time, as the climate provisions might do, Levy said.
“This is a survey that tries to place them in their historic position, but it takes history a little while to make that decision,” he said.
Voters might need more time to see the results of the policies as well. While the new laws aspire to reshape America long term, they might not produce enough short-term benefit to help Democrats in the midterm elections after promises of much more sweeping achievements.
Presidents take office with ambitious agendas that often crash into political reality, said David Kennedy, an emeritus Stanford history professor. Biden was particularly hamstrung by the narrow Democratic majorities in Congress and intra-party squabbles.
“I think it was always kind of fatuous to believe that Biden had the kind of mandate to really undertake transformative initiatives,” Kennedy said. “I think under the circumstances ... the wonder is he’s gotten as much done as he did.”
Progressives such as Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts pushed for bolder action, such as enacting universal child care and preschool as part of the more ambitious Build Back Better legislation. But they were stymied by opposition not only from Republicans but moderate Democrats such as Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Although some of her priorities had to be excluded from the climate and health care bill, Warren said she was not disappointed.
“I fought hard for universal child care and I still think it’s one of the best tools that we can use to fight inflation and high costs for families,” she said. “But I am energized by seeing our Congress start to work.”
LaTosha Brown, cofounder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, which works to empower Black voters, said she’s disappointed Biden hasn’t been able to push reforms of voting rights and criminal justice through Congress. But she is hesitant to be too critical for fear of undermining Biden in the face of what she said is the threat to democracy from Trump and congressional Republicans in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
And Brown commended Biden for continuing to push Democratic priorities despite running into roadblocks.
“I think with this climate bill and with some of the recent wins he has had, I do believe that speaks to an intent to not give up, and that carries weight for me,” she said.
Biden’s approval rating began sinking last summer, spurred by the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. That was followed by the resurgence of COVID, rapidly rising inflation, and the collapse of his Build Back Better social spending and climate bill.
“The core of the Biden promise is that he was going to be a good president, that he knew what he was doing, and so when it looked like he didn’t know what he was doing and he was struggling, it was really harmful to his brand,” Rosenberg said.
Biden acknowledged in a January news conference that he had been too involved in Capitol Hill deal-making, which had been his forte as a longtime senator and then as vice president under Barack Obama.
“One of the things that I do think that has been made clear to me ... is the public doesn’t want me to be the ‘President Senator,’” he said. “They want me to be the president and let senators be senators.”
The latest legislative accomplishments come after Biden stepped back from congressional negotiations, opting to largely let lawmakers work out the necessary compromises on their own.
“I think the president has been smart,” Warren said. “He has stepped in when that was likely to help and he stepped back if that’s what it took to get our legislation across the finish line.”
The White House said Biden and top administration officials plan to travel around the country this month to boast of successes they say will help the American people. And Rosenberg said those victories, along with an improved economic outlook, has given the Democrats some wind at their back.
“I think Joe Biden can now say, ‘I’ve been a successful president and I’ve left the country better than I found it,’ “ Rosenberg said. “I think up until very recently, our argument about that was not as strong.”
The GOP just canceled $10 million in fall ads for Senate in PA, AZ and WI. This is a clear sign of financial problems. Hardest hit was PA, more than $5 million in Philly alone. They’ve given up on Oz.
NEWS: The NRSC is canceling some fall ad reservations in PA, AZ and WI — total so far north of $10 million — in a sign of financial troubles.
Cuts include more than $5 million just from the Philly market.
FIRST CUT —>
The NRSC ad reservations are a moving target as of midday Monday.
BUT so far *all* reservations in Phoenix and Tucson cut after 9/30, per two media buying sources.
Some of the cuts are likely going to be re-reserved not from the NRSC's IE but attempting to save money through cheaper coordinated ad buy rates.
With Senate GOP candidates struggling to raise money relative to Dems (see here: https://nytimes.com/2022/07/26/us/politics/online-fundraising-republicans-democrats.html…), the NRSC has stepped in to help already with what it says is $17 million in coordinated ad spending — a big sum.
More updates coming: The NRSC has canceled more than $2 million in Wisconsin, including all reserved spending in Madison and Green Bay.
But the party committee has booked more time in Milwaukee, though so far only a fraction of what has been cancelled.
More updates: NRSC spox @ChrisHartline calls story "false" though won't so how much of the canceled IE ads will be rebooked.
(Wonk alert: There are strict federal limits to coordinated buys, & hybrid ones cost GOP candidates $$, which few have excess of)
The Republicans’ Senate campaign committee has slashed its television ad reservations in three critical battleground states for the fall, a likely sign of financial troubles headed into the peak of the 2022 midterm election season.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has cut more than $5 million in Pennsylvania, including its reservations in the Philadelphia media market, according to two media-tracking sources.
Reservations in Wisconsin, in the Madison and Green Bay markets, have also been curtailed, by more than $2 million. And in Arizona, all reservations after Sept. 30 have been cut in Phoenix and Tucson, the state’s only two major media markets, amounting to roughly $2 million more.
So far around $10 million had been canceled as of midday Monday, though more changes to the fall reservations were in progress. The states where ad reservations have been canceled are home to three of the nation’s most competitive Senate contests.
In a statement, Chris Hartline, the communications director for the N.R.S.C., said, “Nothing has changed about our commitment to winning in all of our target states.” Mr. Hartline added that the committee had “been spending earlier than ever before to help our candidates get their message out and define the Democrats for their radical agenda. We’ve been creative in how we’re spending our money and will continue to make sure that every dollar spent by the N.R.S.C. is done in the most efficient and effective way possible.”
After this article was published online, Mr. Hartline called it “false” on Twitter and said that “there is money being moved from the I.E. side” — independent expenditures that cannot be coordinated with campaigns — “back to the N.R.S.C. side of the wall.”
He declined to say how much was being rebooked.
In Wisconsin, some ads were being reserved in Milwaukee, for instance, though significantly less than what had been canceled in Madison and Green Bay, as of Monday afternoon.
In Pennsylvania, the Senate Republican super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, recently announced it was adding $9.5 million to its fall reservation in the closely watched race between Mehmet Oz, the Republican, and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democrat. The super PAC moved up the beginning of its ad buy by three weeks, to Aug. 19, a decision that may have eased pressure on the party committee to keep its reservation.
As online fund-raising has slowed for Republicans in recent months, affecting both candidates and party committees, the party is increasingly dependent on major super PACs in the battle for the Senate. Entering July, the Senate Republican super PAC had nearly $40 million more cash on hand than the Democratic Senate super PAC.
The Senate party committee said it had already helped fund $17 million in “coordinated” and “hybrid” ads with Republican senators and Senate candidates in Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin, according to the committee, and had spent $36 million on television overall.
The N.R.S.C. entered July with $28.5 million in the bank and has millions of dollars reserved in other battleground states.
A person familiar with the committee’s planning said some of the money saved by canceling reservations now would eventually be used to rebook advertising time in coordination with the Senate campaigns, which would help stretch the group’s dollars further because candidates are entitled to lower ad prices. Some of the new reservations were already being made on Monday. Shane Goldmacher is a national political reporter and was previously the chief political correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times, he worked at Politico, where he covered national Republican politics and the 2016 presidential campaign. @ShaneGoldmacher
New: Since Aug. 1, NRSC has canceled $13.5M in ad buys in top battleground states and are having to "stretch every dollar" as R nominees struggled to raise $ and get on TV.
"People are asking, ‘What the hell is going on?’ Why are we cutting in August?"
As midterm election campaigns heat up in the Senate’s top battlegrounds, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling millions of dollars of ad spending, sending GOP campaigns and operatives into a panic and upending the committee’s initial spending plan.
The cuts — totaling roughly $13.5 million since Aug. 1 — come as the Republicans’ Senate campaign committee is being forced to “stretch every dollar we can,” said a person familiar with the NRSC’s deliberations. Republican nominees in critical states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina — places the GOP must defend this fall — have failed to raise enough money to get on air themselves, requiring the NRSC to make cuts elsewhere to accommodate.
Since Aug. 1, the NRSC has cut ad buys in the battleground states of Pennsylvania ($7.5 million), Arizona ($3.5 million), Wisconsin ($2.5 million) and Nevada ($1.5 million), according to the ad tracking service AdImpact. Separately, a Democratic source tracking advertising buys estimated roughly $10.5 million in cuts by the NRSC since the first of the month.
“People are asking, ‘What the hell is going on?’” said one Republican strategist working on Senate races. “Why are we cutting in August? I’ve never seen it like this before.”
While the scale of these cuts is unprecedented, the NRSC is also ahead of its typical schedule on its ad spending, having already spent $36.5 million on television spots this cycle, as opposed to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s $1.9 million to date. Sen. Rick Scott, who chairs the NRSC, announced earlier this year the campaign committee would be spending sooner than in years past. It was a necessary change, Scott said, to prevent Democrats from having the airwaves to themselves all summer.
“We’ve been creative in how we’re spending our money and will continue to make sure that every dollar spent by the NRSC is done in the most efficient and effective way possible,” said Chris Hartline, NRSC spokesperson. “Nothing has changed about our commitment to winning in all of our target states.”
The person familiar with the NRSC’s deliberations said the committee is swapping some of its independent expenditure spending for coordinated and hybrid spending with campaigns. The latter category imposes more rules on how much can be spent and what the ads can say, though it allows the committee to purchase ad time at a candidate discount, rather than a much steeper outside group rate.
But the numbers show that the NRSC has cut significantly more than it has booked back, indicating a potential cash strain at the committee. Second-quarter filings showed the DSCC had nearly twice the cash on hand as its Republican counterpart, $53.5 million to the NRSC’s $28.5 million.
Another Republican strategist referred to the recent cuts as “unreal,” noting that the NRSC had not eliminated any ad time in New Hampshire, where there won’t be a GOP nominee until mid-September — and where there’s no clear frontrunner in the meantime.
The NRSC earlier this month also spent a combined $1 million on ads in Washington and Colorado, two blue states that are considered unlikely but potential pickup opportunities for Republicans.
While the GOP committee is making a perplexing number of mid-August cuts, the organization could still book back that time over the next 2½ months. And between what the NRSC has already spent on television this cycle and what it has reserved for the rest of fall, the Republican committee has still purchased significantly more than the DSCC, though Democrats will likely reserve more air time in the coming weeks.
“While Rick Scott’s failed leadership of the NRSC continues to be one of Senate Democrats’ greatest assets,” said David Bergstein, spokesperson for the DSCC, “we know McConnell’s super PAC will have significant resources in the weeks ahead and we are continuing to take nothing for granted in each of our battleground races.”
Bergstein was referring to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that has reserved $150 million in ads this fall. Its first spots begin airing Friday in Pennsylvania.
The GOP ads this cycle have three themes.
1) High gas prices
2) "I won't defund the police"
3) Endorsed by Trump.
All three themes are imploding. And they don't have anything else.
I still believe that "defund the police" is an objectively terrible slogan. But now the GOP has locked itself into "defund the FBI", they can't run against "defund the police" anymore.
Looks like Peter Theil's attempt to own a couple of Senators is going to fail...could be wishful thinking.
Now is the time for Democrats to expand the map: go on offense in NC, IA, GA, NH and elsewhere. Don't settle for picking up 2 or 3 seats. The GOP anti-choice, anti-social security and pro-censorship agenda is not popular anywhere.
Better yet is put everything possible into every winnable House race. Nobody seems t be focusing there. And the damage that can be done by a GOP House is unthinkable.
IO Cindy Axne
KS Sharice Davids
MI Elissa Slotkin
MN Angie Craig
OH Mary Kaptur
VA Abigail Spanberger
VA Elaine Luria
Donate till it hurts.
Thread of feel good little video clips:
“Look at Joe Biden! Suddenly, you have this huge climate change plan… This has been an extraordinarily successful two years. Any way you cut it, even Republicans have to admit this privately. And they are.”