Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Revisiting election predictions

This prediction was from 2023, by David Frum/The Atlantic:

The Coming Biden Blowout

Republicans thought about running without Trump in 2024—but lost their nerve. They’re heading for electoral disaster again.

‘The Republican plan for 2024 is already failing, and the party leadership can see it and knows it.

There was no secret to a more intelligent and intentional Republican plan for 2024. It would have gone like this:

(1) Replace Donald Trump at the head of the ticket with somebody less obnoxious and impulsive.

(2) Capitalize on inflation and other economic troubles.

This one is from the last few days, from a podcast with Greg Sargent/The New Republic:

Why Trump’s Lunacy Is Suddenly Raising GOP Fears of Down-Ballot Losses

Republicans facing tough races seem to have realized that having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket might pose a problem. What took them so long?

GOP members of Congress facing tough races are suddenly worried that having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket might present them with a problem, according to new reports. They fear having to answer for Trump’s degeneracy and extremism, even as the GOP’s small-donor base is not delivering at the very moment that Trump is siphoning off party money for legal fees. What explains this sudden GOP epiphany about Trump? How likely is it that these fears will materialize? We chatted with Tim Persico, a top Democratic operative involved in House races in 2022, who provided insights into how this Trump effect really works.



Tom Nichols/The Atlantic:

Supporting Trump Means Supporting a Culture of Violence

The former president is encouraging threats against his enemies—again.

Over the weekend, Donald Trump sent out a video with an image of Joe Biden bound like a hostage, and linked to an article with a photo of the daughter of the judge in his hush-money trial in New York. Voters need to confront the reality of what supporting Trump means.

On Good Friday, Donald Trump shared a video that prominently featured a truck with a picture of a hog-tied Joe Biden on it. I’ve seen this art on a tailgate in person, and it looks like a kidnapped Biden is a captive in the truck bed.

The former president, running for his old office, knowingly transmitted a picture of the sitting president of the United States as a bound hostage.

Of course, Trump’s spokesperson Steven Cheung quickly began the minimizing and what-abouting: “That picture,” he said in a statement, “was on the back of a pick up truck that was traveling down the highway. Democrats and crazed lunatics have not only called for despicable violence against President Trump and his family, they are actually weaponizing the justice system against him.”


Hill GOP to Trump: Tamp down the talk of grudges and Jan. 6

They’re concerned about a rerun of the hair-pulling past — where Republican candidates in battleground races are constantly challenged to answer for his more erratic statements.

Trump is unlikely to heed such warnings to pivot to a more consistent general election message. So far this month, he has said that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats “hate” their religion and described some migrants as “not people.”

But the fact that Hill Republicans are even attempting to refocus him, underscored by nearly 20 interviews with lawmakers and aides, illustrates their real worries about a 2024 cycle where their electoral fates are inescapably tied to the man at the top of the ticket.


Republicans are rushing to defend IVF. The anti-abortion movement hopes to change their minds.

The groups are not advocating banning IVF but want new restrictions that would significantly curtail access to the procedure.

Anti-abortion advocates worked for five decades to topple Roe v. Wade. They’re now laying the groundwork for a yearslong fight to curb in vitro fertilization.

Since the Alabama Supreme Court ruled last month that frozen embryos are children, the Heritage Foundation and other conservative groups have been strategizing how to convince not just GOP officials but evangelicals broadly that they should have serious moral concerns about fertility treatments like IVF and that access to them should be curtailed.

In short, they want to re-run the Roe playbook.


Craig Gilbert/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

For Donald Trump, Wisconsin in 2024 looks a lot like Wisconsin in 2016

Eight years ago in Wisconsin’s GOP primary, Donald Trump suffered his last big defeat on his way to the nomination, undone by a huge geographic divide over his candidacy.

Trump won the Republican vote in the rural north and west but was thrashed in metropolitan Milwaukee and Madison.

This year, Trump wrapped up his party’s nomination long before Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary (and will campaign today in Green Bay).

But the regional schisms in the GOP over the former president have re-emerged, a polling analysis shows.

Gregg T Nunziata/The Dispatch with a conservative opinion about what went wrong:

The Conservative Legal Movement Got Everything It Wanted. It Could Lose It All.

Trump-era advances in jurisprudence came at a deep civic cost.

Contrary to the fears of liberals and the misplaced hopes of Trump, conservative judicial appointees upheld the principle of judicial independence. They refused to serve as reliable partisans and handed Trump and his administration important legal defeats. Crucially, Trump’s nominees rejected his baseless claims of a stolen election.

But these advances in jurisprudence came at a deep civic cost. The president with whom legal conservatives allied themselves used his office to denigrate the rule of law, mock the integrity of the justice system, attack American institutions, and undermine public faith in democracy. Beyond the rhetoric, he abused emergency powers, manipulated appropriated funds for personal political ends, and played fast and loose with the appointments clause, all at the cost of core congressional powers.

Republicans in Congress barely resisted these actions and increasingly behaved more like courtiers than members of a co-equal branch of government. They failed to treat either of his impeachments with appropriate constitutional gravity. House Republicans dismissed his first impeachment process. Leading senators not only ignored centuries of precedent by refusing to conduct a meaningful trial, but they debased themselves by traipsing to the White House to guffaw and applaud while the president celebrated his acquittal.


That’s what happens when you’re pro fish.

Cliff Schecter covers Del. Stacey Plaskett taking down Rep. Jim Jordan:


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