Many Democrats Are Worried Trump Will Beat Biden. This One Isn’t.

Many Democrats Are Worried Trump Will Beat Biden. This One Isn’t.

Simon Rosenberg was right about the 2022 congressional elections. All of the conventional wisdom — the polls, the punditry, the anger of other Democrats — revolved around the expectation of a big red wave and Democratic extinction.

He disagreed. The Democrats would surprise everyone, he said again and again: There would be no red wave. He was right, of course, as he is quick to remind anyone who will listen.

These days, Mr. Rosenberg, 60, a Democratic strategist and consultant who traces his first involvement in presidential campaigns to Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, is once again pushing back against the polls, punditry and Democrats’ gloom. This time he predicts that President Biden will defeat Donald J. Trump in November.

In a world of Democratic bedwetters, Mr. Rosenberg is — to repeat the phrase that David Plouffe, a senior political adviser to Barack Obama, uses to describe Democratic bedwetters — the voice of — well, whatever the opposite of bedwetter is for days. He even has a Substack newsletter that offers insight and daily reassurance to his worried readers – “Hopium Chronicles,” the name comes from what pollster Nate Silver suspected he was ingesting in 2022.

I spoke to Mr. Rosenberg about what it feels like to be an outsider in his own party, and why he sleeps so well at night while so many of his Democratic colleagues are planning their move to Paris after November. This conversation has been edited for clarity and length, and because Mr. Rosenberg – God love him – enjoys talking about this topic. A lot.

Good morning, Simon. And first things first: thank you for doing this.

Any opportunity to talk about the good deeds of Joe Biden and the Democrats – how could I turn it down?

The idea of ​​this interview is that at a time when there is so much trouble in the democratic world, you are not – and have never been – a bedwetter. Can you explain why? As I recall, this dates back to the 2022 congressional midterm elections?

Yes. The argument I made at the time was threefold. One was that Republicans did something unusual in 2022. When a party loses elections, it usually runs away from the policies it lost. And the Republicans ran towards it. They became more and more MAGA, even though MAGA lost in 2018 and 2020.

Second, that Biden was actually a good president and we needed to make a strong case. And third, civic engagement in the Democratic Party has increased tremendously. Fearing MAGA, we have raised insane amounts of money and have an unprecedented number of volunteers.

We were stronger and better than was commonly believed. The constant mistake everyone has been making since the spring of 2022 is overestimating their strength and underestimating ours. We went into Election Day very convinced that the Democrats would be killed. I believed those three things would allow us to do better in 2022 than people expected. And I now have this basic view of 2024.

But this seems to be a different time for Democrats, or certainly for Biden.

Here we are almost two years later, and many of the same things are still happening – and Trump is a far weaker candidate in this election than he was in 2016. He is more dangerous. He is more extreme. His performance on the stump is far more unpredictable and disturbing. I’m just giving you my respect here.

How important to your case – to your reputation – is the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion rights?

I think the Dobbs election changed a lot, and not much has really changed since then. There’s a party that keeps winning across the country, and every type of election that’s been two years now – the same basic dynamic: We keep winning, they keep fighting. Why should November be any different? I believe that this will not be the case because there is something structural behind all of this, namely that Dobbs has broken the Republican Party and that a large part of the Republican Party has broken away from MAGA. It costs them elections and many donors – and money.

But poll after poll shows that Americans have a negative view of Biden and are concerned about the direction of the country. A Wall Street Journal poll The study released this week found Mr. Biden trailing Mr. Trump in six of seven swing states. This appears to be rocket fuel for the class of concern.

I’m not really surprised by what we’re seeing. But I’m telling you that in 2022 we were told that Biden’s low approval rating meant the Democrats would be defeated in the election. And that’s why I think it’s risky to focus your understanding of this election on Biden’s approval rating or the public polls.

Polls can only tell us where things are today. Those of us in the industry know how these things play out and that the polls this far out are very weak. I think we’re asking too much of surveys when we have all this other information and data available to us to expand our understanding. And to me, this additional data suggests that we will have a good choice. But we still have a long way to go.

Now about nervousness? Yeah, I mean, look, I mean, the media is telling us, the New York Times is telling us, MSNBC is telling us that we should be looking at this election largely through the prism of the current polls. This is the electoral industrial complex that very aggressively asserts itself in everyday understandings of our elections. I think those of us who have a more holistic understanding of candidate and party health need to continue to reinforce that there are many other things we should consider.

Is there already evidence that polls suggesting Biden is in trouble are misleading?

Well, there is evidence that Trump underperformed in these early primary states and underperformed in public polls in every one of these states except North Carolina. Second, we know from polling in these early states that about 20 to 30 percent of the Republican coalition is willing to not support Trump.

OK, but it’s there anything That keeps you up at night, that worries you about Biden’s re-election win?

I wish we had more time. I think the campaign started late and we still have a lot of work to do to win this thing. But we are where we are now and we just have to put our heads down and get to work.

Would you describe the backlash against Mr. Biden over Gaza as a problem?

Building and maintaining a winning coalition in a presidential election is always difficult, and it will be difficult for Biden-Harris in 2024. We will face challenges along the way – debates, discussions, even disagreements. But the Democratic Party is very united right now. There is no one holding back their endorsements or saying they won’t support Biden, as Trump is now facing on the Republican side. Gaza today is a challenge for Biden to overcome, not a threat.

OK, but is anyone on your side listening? Do you feel like an outlier in your own party – or rather, Why Are you such an outlier in your own party?

Because polls.

But do Democrats also tend to lean toward the negative right?

Yes. There is that. And also because there is a feeling in the Democratic Party that our democracy could disappear if we stumble in an election. People’s concerns are justified.

But I look at a lot more than just surveys.

The other factor, I would argue, is that Democrats still remember what happened in 2016 when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton after polls had them expecting an easy Clinton victory.

Yes. There is trauma from 2016 because of the election. The most important thing I can say, however you phrase it, is that it’s not like Democrats are sitting around in their houses twiddling their thumbs and throwing things at the TV.

Does this mean Biden’s age doesn’t matter to you in this election?

I am. I know Biden’s age is an issue. But I think Biden has assuaged a lot of people’s concerns with a strong performance at the State of the Union. But in my opinion you also have to write, you have to be honest and fair: there is a strong argument that Biden’s age is also an advantage for him, that at a time of enormous challenges for the country he has the man who the most experienced person to ever be in the Oval Office was perhaps a blessing for us. I think we can make these arguments without giving the impression that we are pushing the limits of the truth.

Are there other Democrats who would have been or would have been more anti-Trump in this election?

I don’t think that’s worthy at all – no, no, I mean, Joe Biden is the nominee. I mean, it’s not worth speculating, is it? Look, we just had an area code. People could have challenged him. They didn’t do it because they didn’t think they could defeat him. And the two candidates who challenged him were crushed.

We are quietly confident. By and large we can deal with it; We can win the election. The big mistake people made in 2022 was that they thought the Democratic Party couldn’t do it, that we had no hunger and no energy. And it turns out we were.

Source link

2024-04-03 18:26:38