Wednesday Edition


1. Planning for the GOP’s Future

A group of Republican senators are planning for life after Mitch McConnell, who’s been GOP leader in the Senate since 2007. (Axios)

Six conservative senators, known as the “Breakfast Club,” are holding weekly meetings on filling the power vacuum that will be left by McConnell’s pending departure. The Breakfast Club has been compared to the House Freedom Caucus, which is mostly made up of "MAGA" congressmen with a penchant for pushing back against GOP leadership.

Who’s in the club?

  • Sen. Rick Scott (Florida)

  • Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas)

  • Sen. Ron Johnson (Wisconsin)

  • Sen. Mike Lee (Utah)

  • Sen. Mike Braun (Indiana)

  • Sen. Rand Paul (Kentucky)

Axios politics reporter Stef Knight: “Breakfast Club members see the likelihood of a GOP majority in the Senate next year — along with the battle to replace McConnell — as a chance to shift more power their way.”

How you know it’s no longer McConnell’s GOP: “The voters of my party across the country have made a decision. As the Republican leader of the Senate, obviously, I'm going to support the nominee of our party,” McConnell, who has clashed frequently with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, said in a recent “Face the Nation” interview.

  • “The issue is, what kind of influence, even if I had chosen to get involved in the presidential election, what kind of influence would I have had?”

One wrench in the Breakfast Club plan: John Thune and John Cornyn, so far the only candidates for top Senate Republican, are both McConnell allies.

Bubba’s Two Cents: The GOP is in the midst of a years-long shift from traditional Republicanism to a more pro-MAGA party. One problem is that leaders are getting pushed out of the party at a time when leadership is sorely needed to manage the transition. And with the exception of Trump, it doesn’t seem like anyone else in the GOP really commands much authority.

2. The Elite College PR Problem

Universities are already grappling with reputation issues, and now data shows employers are increasingly reluctant to hire from top-tier schools. (Forbes)

A new Forbes survey:

  • 33% of hiring managers are less likely to hire Ivy League graduates now compared to five years ago.

  • 42% are more likely to hire public university grads than they were five years ago.

  • Public universities and non-Ivy private colleges are seen as improving in terms of preparing job candidates, with 37% of hiring authorities noticing an improvement from state universities.

Applications to some Ivy League schools are down:

  • Brown is down by 5%.

  • Harvard applications have fallen 3%, with a 17% early decision drop.

According to Gallup, only 36% of Americans have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in higher education. That’s down from 57% in 2015.

The latest: Elite U.S. schools have been criticized for being both too lenient and too harsh on pro-Palestine campus protesters.

  • This week, Columbia University threatened to expel demonstrators occupying an administrative building.

  • Also this week, Northwestern University gave in to several protester demands and established a full-ride scholarship for Palestinian students and guaranteed jobs for Palestinian faculty.

Bubba’s Two Cents: There’s a lot of anti-elite energy out there — whether it’s right-wing populists denouncing the "deep state," Bernie bros calling for taxes on the rich or Palestine supporters railing against institutional support for Israel. And with all the drama surrounding elite colleges and universities, can you really blame employers for wanting less of the kids from ivory towers and more hires from “normal” schools?

3. Come On, Man

President Biden and his allies keep touting a misleading stat on job creation, but it seems like less and less people are buying it. (The Hill)

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on MSNBC this week and boasted that Biden “created 9 million jobs in his term in office” while “Donald Trump has the worst record of job loss of any president.” MSNBC host Katy Tur interrupted Pelosi, suggesting the “global pandemic” should be taken into account when discussing Trump’s job creation record.

Pelosi’s reply to Tur: If you want to be an apologist for Donald Trump, that may be your role, but it ain’t mine.”

The American people’s verdict: Voters generally haven’t been all that impressed with Biden’s handling of job creation or the economy.

  • Recent polling shows Americans favor Trump over Biden on the economy.

  • Biden’s basically stopped using his “Bidenomics” slogan, suggesting voters weren’t really feeling it.

Bubba’s Two Cents: When you’ve got Nancy Pelosi accusing MSNBC hosts of being Trump apologists, the plot has officially been lost. To make matters worse, this is about the fifth or sixth time in as many months that Team Biden has tried to push this narrative. You can almost smell the desperation.

4. EV Regret

Has the electric vehicle craze peaked? (Hot Air)

Ford’s latest EV sales numbers:

  • The company’s Model e sold only 10,000 units in the first three months of 2024, down 20% from the previous year.

  • That means Ford’s EV division lost $1.3 billion, a net loss of $132,000 per vehicle sold.

The revenue from Ford's EV unit dropped 84% in Q1 to approximately $100 million, largely due to industry-wide price cuts.

  • Compare that to Ford Pro, the division producing combustion engine vehicles, which reported a profit of over $3 billion after taxes during the same period.

Ford’s not alone: Earlier this year, Mercedes scaled back its plan to sell only EVs by 2030. While GM experienced a 21% dip in U.S. EV sales for the first quarter of 2024.

Hot Air editor Jazz Shaw: “If people wanted these cars and trucks, they would be buying them, particularly when the government is handing out massive subsidies to make them more attractive. But the government tried to jam all of this through without wondering whether electric vehicles would be a good fit for people's lifestyles. Consumers want options. They don't want to be told what they can and can't buy. And Ford's disastrous sales numbers speak to what happens why you try to break those rules.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: Shaw’s take isn’t completely off, but there are some nuances to consider. For instance, according to BloombergNEF, EV sales in North America were up 47% in 2023 and are set to grow another 32% in 2024. Even though the growth rate is cooling off, it remains strong compared to most segments of the auto industry. Another thing — a closer look at the data reveals EV issues are mostly concentrated in Ford and GM (companies like Tesla, Hyundai and Kia are killing it).

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