Resolute Square

Winning The Economic Argument

Loud and proud people. Joe Biden is a good President. The country is better off. Do your part in helping make this case, in whatever way is most comfortable to you.
Published:September 6, 2023

*Published with the generous permission of Simon Rosenberg. Read more of his important work on his Hopium substack.

By Simon Rosenberg

We have a big few weeks ahead of us. The President heads to India for a G20 meeting this weekend, students are returning to schools across the US, early voting begins in Virginia on September 22nd, the next Republican debate comes on September 27th, we’ll keep getting daily reports on the criminal justice system’s efforts to hold Trump and Republicans accountable for their attempt to end American democracy, and we are about to have a great deal of drama around the budget and a possible government shutdown.

Like the debt ceiling fight in the spring, these year-end budget fights are really a debate over the two parties’ economic and fiscal approaches. So, what that means, fellow info warriors, is that we are about to have weeks and weeks of a big economic conversation, something our community preps for every day. A few key Hopium resources for you to muscle up for this critical debate:

The Biden-Harris campaign has announced a new ad buy this week to further propel his big economic argument. Here’s the ad they are dropping Thursday, which builds on the current set of ads already running across the US:

Loud and proud people. Joe Biden is a good President. The country is better off. Do your part in helping make this case, in whatever way is most comfortable to you.

Some Thoughts on Current Polling/Election Data - One of the key lessons from 2022 was that there’s a lot of other political data out there beyond polling, and that just looking at polling gives one a very narrow view of what’s happening in our politics. Part of what Tom Bonier and I did, and why we got the election right, was to expand the range of data we were looking at to include things like our performance in actual elections, voter reg trends, candidate fundraising, and the early vote. We also made clear, and this really matters for all 2024 political analysis, that 2022 was not a nationalized election, that there were two elections - a bluer election inside the battleground, a redder one outside. In an election where Democrats lost ground nationally, we gained ground in AZ, CO, GA, MI, MN, NH, PA. It means that national polling and analysis derived solely from national polling is perhaps less capable of capturing what’s happening then is usually the case.

At the end of the day polling is only a snapshot into a moment, and cannot predict anything. Things change all the time in politics - change is the constant. My take on where things are now is that the two parties are experiencing what I’m calling asymmetrical engagement. The Rs have a highly contested primary, and their leader is under threat of imprisonment. Their side has reasons to be engaged, focused, and have strongly formed opinions about the 2024 election. Our side, simply, doesn’t have any reason to be significantly engaged right now, which means that support for Biden in polling is likely to be soft until the Biden-Harris campaign kicks into high gear. Most of our coalition is just not thinking about 2024 14 months out. It’s where the election is right now - engaged, and soft. We can win, and win big next year, but we have work to do. And that’s okay. We are all used to doing the work, aren’t we?

Here’s the political data most important to me right now:

  • Democrats have averaged 51% of the vote over the last 4 Presidential elections, our best showing over 4 elections since FDR’s Presidency.

  • Democrats have won more votes in 7 of the last 8 Presidential elections, the best popular vote run of any political party in US history.

  • In a “red wave” year, 2022, Democrats gained ground from 2020 in 7 key battlegrounds: AZ, CO, GA, MI, MN, NH, PA. We also picked up 4 state legislative chambers, 2 governorships, and 1 US Senate seat. As we’ve written 2022 was not a single nationalized election, but really two elections - a bluer election in the battleground where we gained, and a redder election outside where we did not. We’ve seen this strong Dem performance continue into 2023 with impressive wins in CO, FL, OH, PA and WI.

  • Democrats are having their best run in the Southwest since the 1940s and 50s. In 2004 Bush won AZ, CO, NM, NV, Rs controlled 5 of their 8 Senate seats, 14 of their 21 House seats. In 2020 Biden was the first Democratic President to win all 4 of these states in a single election since FDR, Today Rs control none of those 8 Senate seats and we control 14 of 23 House seats there.

In 2022 the strong Democratic performance in the elections across the US before the general election suggested there was far more Dem intensity than was being picked up in the polls. I would argue we are seeing the same thing this year in CO, FL, OH, PA and WI. When voting comes we get it done. It’s why rather than fretting by a national poll paid for by Rupert Murdoch or some NYTimes analysis based on national surveys, we just need to focus on pushing our vote to the upper end of what’s possible in OH and VA this November, as we’ve been doing in elections throughout the US since Dobbs. Head down, keep working hard peeps.

I can see our path to victory clearly. Joe Biden has been a good President. The country is better off. We can sell that. Their path requires selling Trump to voters who haven’t voted for him before. Good luck with that! The bottom line - as we head into 2024, I would much rather be us than them, in every way possible.