This week: The Briefing, Vol. X, Issue 41
- Leftists’ obsession with Trump may be killing them
- Gas prices are going to be a problem for Biden again
- John Fetterman hasn’t lost quite yet — just give him another month
Priorities matter: New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) is an interesting case study in the current preoccupations of the far left.
In an effort to keep her name in the news, James has been conducting a highly politicized investigation of former President Donald Trump. And her priorities are those of the far left on social media. She has won much praise for her work despite producing little of substance.
In the meantime, there’s the real world, where New Yorkers’ top priority is actually crime — it isn’t even the economy. How do you suppose New Yorkers feel about James, considering that New York City has seen its crime rate skyrocket, with absurd and tragic anecdotes of violence reaching the pages of the city tabloids every day?
Well, here’s one answer. A new poll from the reputable although right-leaning Trafalgar Group suggests that James could actually lose her re-election to a no-name Republican challenger, Michael Henry. A Trafalgar poll shows her actually trailing, 45-44 percent. She will probably still win — it is New York, after all — but this result is genuinely amazing and should strike fear in the hearts of Democrats everywhere.
How can James be in an actual contested race? Simple. Although the Internet Left is obsessed with Trump and every new development involving Trump-related investigations and litigation, normal people moved on ages ago. They just don’t think much about him anymore.
They have completely different priorities. If they aren’t primarily worried about the economy (as voters are in most states), then they are worried about crime (as in New York). They’re concerned about the southern border and the fentanyl trade and unchecked illegal immigration. They are concerned about education and (especially when it comes to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul) corruption. They are more preoccupied even with abortion than they are with Trump. They also don’t buy into this Democrats’ propaganda about democracy being under attack or the rise of fascism or semi-fascism.
What this means is that Democrats, focused on their Twitter base and perhaps spending too much time watching MSNBC, appear to have walled themselves off from voters’ concerns. The biggest problem they face is that that can only works until election day.
Gas crunch: Late this summer, President Joe Biden enjoyed a brief respite from sky-high gas prices. It allowed a slight rebound in his approval ratings and Democrats’ generic ballot scores. The dip in prices was mostly due to the destruction of demand by the souring economic situation and higher interest rates.
But now, the worm is turning. Gas prices are on the rise again — up 19 cents a gallon from a month ago — and they are likely to rise further still through election day.
The Biden administration was caught completely unaware by OPEC’s decision to cut production by 2 million barrels a day — twice the amount of oil Biden has been releasing into circulation from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This further humiliation of Biden by foreign leaders is a reminder of how poorly Biden’s diplomacy is going over in the world, especially in the Middle East.
During the election campaign, Biden savaged the Saudi leadership because he believed that it conferred a political advantage to do so. He was subsequently reduced to making an unnecessary visit to Saudi Arabia and giving a humiliating fist bump to Saudi ruler and crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. But it turns out that even that wasn’t enough.
Biden is suddenly surprised when the Saudis and other OPEC leaders, as always driven by their desire to make as much money as possible, are unwilling to cooperate in his scheme to drive down gas prices in time for the election.
Both oil and gasoline prices have surged upward once again, and there could be quite a bit more upside before election day. The administration’s hasty reaction of releasing more oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will have little effect, as it did this summer.
This leaves Biden and the entire Democratic Party in the dire situation. Having ruthlessly worked toward the elimination of the domestic oil and gas industry, they would rather do anything than return, hat in hand, begging for more production. They are even talking about easing economic sanctions against Venezuela.
But the truth is, even if they wanted to, domestic oil producers would not be able to produce enough additional oil quickly enough to ameliorate gas prices until after the election. And of course, production isn’t and wasn’t ever the only issue. U.S. refining capacity remains well below where it needs to be, a problem that certain Democratic states make much worse because they want to ban carbon-polluting fuels in their states — of course they’re not permitting new refineries.
This means the Democrats potentially face their numbers going back to where they were in June over the next 30 days — just in time for the election.
Arizona: Peter Thiel, who helped Blake Masters over the finish line financially in the Republican primary, has decided that this race will be his next project. He views the race in Ohio as already won for Republicans, and believes that the next big battle is to help Masters defeat incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D).
There are several polls that at least suggest this is not an unrealistic goal, and it helps that the Republicans’ gubernatorial nominee, Kari Lake, is performing strongly, running a couple points ahead of Masters in recent weeks. There are persuadable voters out there, in other words. Leaning Democratic retention.
Georgia: Herschel Walker was accused last week of paying for a girlfriend’s abortion in 2009, sending her a check for $700 to reimburse her. The woman involved alleges further that he encouraged her to abort another child of his in 2011.
The receipt from the abortionist and the deposit slip from Walker’s check do not necessarily mean the allegation is true — in fact, he vehemently denies this allegation and says that he has sent money to all kinds of people, never for an abortion. It could yet be written off as a typical example of the Georgia Democratic Party’s notorious dirty tricks. But that isn’t going to fix the situation for Walker.
It already looks pretty bad that, whatever you make of the abortion allegation, there is more than ample evidence that Walker was sexually involved with at least three women at the same time and habitually fathers children without having anything to do with them afterward, despite a long history of criticizing “absentee fathers.” And he has never claimed to have any sort of conversion or life turnaround in the time since these specific allegations.
Although many Republicans are still standing by him, this is precisely this sort of accusation that hurts most — not only of irresponsibility and wrongdoing, but also of rank hypocrisy. It has opened up a path for the far left Sen. Raphael Warnock to win a full six-year term. All in all, it seems that basic prudence would have kept Walker out of this race, given that he knew this allegation was out there. Leaning Democratic retention.
Iowa: Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R) reelection, never really in doubt, seems assured now with the assault allegation leveled against Mike Franken by his former campaign manager, a woman whom he inappropriately tried to kiss Back in March. Early on, Grassley’s advanced age gave Democrats some hope. But he seems very likely to coast to victory now.
Local police gave up the investigation, characterizing the allegation against Franken as unfounded, but it hurts pretty bad and looks even worse when your own campaign manager is the one making the accusation. Likely Republican retention.
Nevada: The Club for Growth has committed to a significant Spanish-language ad buy on behalf of former Attorney General Adam Laxalt against Democratic incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
Laxalt has led In every recent poll of the race, and Republicans appear to be on their way to victory in Nevada. Gas prices in Nevada are north of $5.40, and this is already hurting the president and his party in the state. Leaning Republican takeover.
New Hampshire: Republican nominee Donald Bolduc only just began to spend money on television a week ago. The only party entity going to bat for him at the moment is Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund, which is at least a sign that some Republicans believe this one is still winnable. Recent polls show Bolduc trailing Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) by anywhere between three and seven points. Leaning Democratic retention.
Pennsylvania: Tom Knox, a former Democratic deputy mayor of Philadelphia has endorsed Republican Mehmet Oz for Senate, citing specifically the soft on crime platform of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D).
For his part, Fetterman continues to look weak and unable to articulate himself. His brain situation moments continue to occur, leading to questions about how his debate with Oz will go, If it is even allowed to happen. Although Fetterman has led in every poll up to this point, he seems to be running out the clock in a situation where this is just not going to work. Leaning Republican retention.
Wisconsin: With a month to go, the trend in the Badger state is definitely in Republicans favor. Leaning Republican retention.