Wednesday Edition


1. Anti-Trumpers Go Full Biden

The Lincoln Project, a showy political action committee made up of former Republicans, is reportedly joining forces with President Biden against Donald Trump. (CNBC)

GOP pollster Patrick Ruffini said Monday that Biden’s campaign was bringing the Lincoln Project in-house to come up with anti-Trump messaging.

What Lincoln Project co-founder Mike Madrid told CNBC last week: “Most interaction with the Biden campaign has been informal to this point, because most of the donors, elected officials and campaign professionals are looking for direction. … We’re waiting for marching orders.”

A study of battleground voters in the 2020 election found the Lincoln Project’s ad weren’t very effective at turning Republicans into Biden voters.

  • This cycle, the GOP group Win It Back spent $6 million on ads attacking Trump, but the ads did little to sway Republican voters.

Biden's campaign has made a push to woo Republican voters fed up with Trump. Over a quarter of GOP primary voters in 10 recent contests voted for someone other than Trump.

A new Biden-Harris ad targeting Nikki Haley voters: “If you voted for Nikki Haley, Donald Trump doesn’t want your vote. … Save America. Join us.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: The dilemma for Republicans on the fence about Trump boils down to whether their dislike for him outweighs the prospect of another Biden term. For most, even those lukewarm on Trump, it's an easy call.

2. You Gotta Hand It to George Soros

Billionaire Democrat George Soros has become a villain to the right, in large part because he’s really good at leveraging his wealth to advance his favorite causes. (Semafor)

The latest example: Soros Fund Management has been snapping up big podcast and radio networks, a sign Soros recognizes the growing importance of audio in the media space.

  • SFM is now the largest shareholder of Audacy, the second-biggest American radio company with over 230 stations.

  • In 2022, Soros invested in Crooked Media, a liberal podcast network.

  • Soros also played a key role in Univision selling 18 Hispanic radio stations to former Democratic Party operatives.

Soros has funneled millions into the arts, with a specific goal of sparking social change.

Soros’ donations have also led to a complete reshaping of the U.S. justice system. Over the past decade, Soros poured millions of dollars into local DA races to get progressive prosecutors elected. According to a 2022 report from the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, district attorneys supported by Soros oversaw cases for 20% of Americans and handled 40% of the country's murder cases.

Bubba’s Two Cents: In today’s world that’s so reactive to the media, politics is in many ways downstream of media and tech, so investing upstream is likely effective in the long run. The left already dominates Hollywood, the mainstream media, and academia, so going after the audio market makes sense. The right would be well served to consider investing in some more palatable media options…

3. Dems’ PR Shift on Crime

Democratic lawmakers are trying to change the public’s perception of the party’s stance on crime. (WaPo)

Washington Post opinion editor Alexi McCammond in a profile of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul: “[George Floyd’s] senseless killing ignited a movement to reform the criminal justice system and rethink how police departments operate. But passionate proposals from a small minority of leftists, namely to defund the police, exacerbated the perception that Democrats are out of touch with reality, handing Republicans a winning attack in competitive races. Now, more moderate Democrats are working to change the age-old perception that their party is ‘soft’ on crime.”

While McCammond insinuates extreme leftists are to blame for the party’s “soft” on crime reputation, many mainstream Democrats, including President Biden, have endorsed radical reforms to the criminal justice system.

  • Biden has promised to pardon all individuals convicted of nonviolent drug offenses, eliminate jail time for nonviolent drug use, end cash bail and ban solitary confinement.

  • The pushback against lenient crime policies in blue cities like Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., also helps debunk the idea that being soft on crime is a fringe position among Democrats.

The upshot: An NBC News poll from September found 46% of Americans think Republicans handle crime better, compared to just 20% for Democrats.

Bubba’s Two Cents: The prevailing view is that the Democratic Party is dominated by its progressive wing. And since top Democrats regularly side with progressives on topics like Israel, crime, and gender issues, it’s not the most unfair characterization.

4. The Government Jobs Boom

A lot of the jobs being added in the Biden economy are government positions. (Fox Business)

Of the 303,000 jobs employers added in March, 71,000 (23%) were government roles.

  • The only sector to add more jobs than government last month was healthcare (72,300).

  • Last year, almost a quarter of all new jobs came from government positions.

While much of the government job growth has been at the state and local level, federal employment has increased 5% under President Biden.

State and local government hiring has surged, thanks to unused pandemic aid. While this job boom benefits government employees, it could be masking deeper issues about America's current economic state.

Financial Times reporter Alexandra Scaggs: “Generally, it's seen as a bad sign for the broader economy because when the biggest hiring bodies in the U.S. are the government and health care and all of these things that people need no matter what's going on, it's seen as a sign of slowing of growth, if not contraction.”

5. The Liberal-Conservative Happiness Gap

Multiple studies have found that liberals report lower levels of happiness and well-being than conservatives. (The Economist)

The latest: A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology last month found are much more likely to be unhappy, depressed and anxious.

  • One eye-catching finding: People who agree with the statement, “If white people have on average a higher income than black people, it is because of racism,” are highly likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.

Surveys have found conservatives are nearly twice as likely to report being satisfied with their lives, families and mental health.

Economist columnist James Bennett on a possible explanation for the trend: “Conservatives tend to be healthier, more patriotic and more religious, and to report finding higher levels of meaning in their lives. These characteristics correlate with happiness.”

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