Tuesday Edition


1. Trump Protects GOP’s Achilles Heel

Donald Trump's latest statement on abortion is clearly designed to appeal to moderates and weaken Democrats' ability to use the issue to boost turnout, though it didn’t impress pro-life supporters. (ABC News)

Trump in a video posted to social media yesterday: “My view is now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint, the states will determine by vote or legislation or perhaps both, and whatever they decide must be the law of the land in this case, the law of the state. … At the end of the day, this is all about the will of the people. You must follow your heart or in many cases, your religion or your faith.”

In addition to rejecting a nationwide ban on abortion (Trump had reportedly been considering a 16-week limit at one point), the former president reiterated his support for IVF.

  • Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, polls and election results have shown abortion is a weak spot for Republicans politically. But many anti-abortion advocates felt Trump ceded too much ground.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, the country’s leading pro-life group: “We are deeply disappointed in President Trump’s position. Unborn children and their mothers deserve national protections and national advocacy from the brutality of the abortion industry.”

Tackling the abortion fallout to win back Democrats and moderates is savvy, but could it cost Trump substantial support from Republicans? There are signs that it won’t.

  • 43% of Republicans are “pro-choice,” believing abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a recent KFF survey.

  • While single-issue abortion voters used to be primarily pro-life, that’s now flipped post-Roe.

  • 45% of voters who say abortion is their most important issue are Democrats, compared to just 25% who are Republican.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Part of what makes Trump unique is his willingness to change his mind, which also helps him politically. MAGA eats up the anti-establishment vibes, opponents can’t pin him down on the issues and his name stays in the headlines. So what if a lot of people can see right through what he’s doing? It’s no sweat off Trump’s back.

2. The Upside Down Election

2024 is turning into Bizarro World as polling shows younger Americans are trending toward Donald Trump, while President Biden might take home the boomer vote. (Politico)

Recent polls show Trump leading among Millennial and Gen-Z voters, with a significant advantage in some surveys. For example, a Fox News poll found Trump ahead of Biden by 18 points among voters under 30.

Biden is performing better among voters aged 45 and older, including significant leads among the Silent and Greatest generations.

This marks a reversal of past trends where Democrats typically won younger voters and Republicans won older ones.

Axios reporter Justin Green: “The comparatively liberal boomers are aging into the senior vote as their more conservative older siblings in the Silent and Greatest Generations die off.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: This is a reflection of how conventional political wisdom has been shattered in the Trump era. For instance, right-wingers are now the anti-war party, while liberals are the ones pushing for crackdowns on speech. We’ve also seen it with minority voters (who were once believed to be the key to a permanent Democratic majority) shifting toward the GOP in surprising numbers.

3. Unions Seize Their Moment

Unions are leveraging the momentum they gained from successful and high-profile strikes last year to flex their muscle in corporate boardrooms. (Semafor)

  • The United Steelworkers Union is opposing a $14 billion takeover of U.S. Steel by Japan's Nippon.

  • Railroad unions have rallied around Norfolk Southern's CEO against a hedge fund's attempt to take over its board.

  • The FTC, influenced by union concerns, is attempting to block the grocery store merger of Kroger-Albertsons, arguing it would undermine unionized workers' bargaining power and strike effectiveness.

Unions engaged in 33 major strikes in 2023, the most since 2000, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, public approval of unions has been climbing over the past decade.

Despite recent wins, the percentage of U.S. workers in unions has been steadily dropping for years.

Chart: Semafor

Bubba’s Two Cents: Unions are having a moment. It’s not just the strikes — President Biden and Donald Trump have courted unions as part of their attempts to appeal to American workers. Concerns about wealth inequality and “corporate greed” are on the rise. But it’s yet to be seen whether this is truly a reversal of unions’ long-term decline or just a flash in the pan.

4. Language Is Power

It seems like we’re spending more time than we used to quibbling about our word choices. (Axios)

The latest example: The popularity of drugs like Ozempic is accelerating efforts to view and discuss obesity as a chronic disease rather than a cosmetic issue.

  • Advocates are calling on people to use terms like "have overweight" or "have obesity" instead of labeling people as "overweight" or "obese."

President Biden’s use of the term “illegal” last month is a similar case.

  • Journalists and immigrants rights groups now avoid the word “illegal” in favor of words like “undocumented” or “non-citizen”

  • Relatedly, a recent Harvard-Harris poll found 73% of voters believe it’s appropriate to call people who enter the U.S. without permission "illegal immigrants.”

Other examples:

  • “Sex assigned at birth” instead of “sex” to acknowledge gender identity.

  • Latinx as a gender neutral form of Latino or Latina.

  • "Person of color" (POC) instead of "minority" to emphasize diversity without implying less importance.

  • "People experiencing homelessness" instead of "homeless people" to focus on the condition rather than defining the individual.

  • "Birthing people" instead of "mothers" or "women" in certain contexts, to be inclusive of all who can give birth.

Bubba’s Two Cents: There are many ways to skin a cat when it comes to achieving your political goals. Winning hearts and minds through sound arguments and smart policy is one way. But that’s hard. Another way is to subtly shape public opinion by policing the words people use.

5. Checking In on California

Some recent headlines from the Golden State:

Bubba’s Two Cents: Conservatives often pick on California as a prime example of liberal mismanagement, but it’s kind of deserved. California has a rich history, some of the finest cities in America and lots of talented people. Yet, it’s hard not to notice how cumbersome policies are weighing the state down.

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