Amy Walter/Cook Political Report:

Today, however, with most voters permanently locked into their partisan identity, opinions of political figures remain stable, regardless of events. Biden’s current job approval rating (-15), doesn’t look much different from May when it was at -12. Opinions of Trump have remained relatively unchanged as well: back in May, his favorable/unfavorable rating was at -13. Today it’s just a bit higher at -16.

The race for the GOP nomination has felt just as immobile. Two indictments and the possibility of more coming down the pike, have done nothing to dent Donald Trump’s lead in the polls. Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who earlier in the year looked as if he might overtake Trump as the frontrunner for the nomination, has seen his standing (and favorability ratings) slowly slip.

But, here are three things to watch for this summer that may shake things up in the GOP primary.

Those three things? More indictments, debates (if they happen), and Iowa polling.


Jonathan V. Last/The Bulwark:

I Want to Tell the Stupid People That It’s the Economy, Stupid

On the asymmetry of voters’ “feelings” about the state of the economy under Biden and Trump.

We got the inflation numbers yesterday and—spoiler—they continue to be encouraging. Inflation is down to the lowest rate in two years and the pace of deceleration is slightly faster than was expected

So we’ve got inflation waning, strong employment, the Dow very strong—everything suggests a soft landing.

And yet, sure as I’m sitting here, I know that we’ll spend the next six months hearing voters talk about how out of control inflation is, and how bad the economy is, and why they’re open to Trump 2024. Because the economy was so good under Trump!

I have given up trying to argue with these people. Their feelings don’t care about your facts.

But there is a fundamental asymmetry that I want to talk about. Not because we can fix it. No. This is a pure rant. I need to get it off my chest.

So buckle your chin strap and let’s go.

And yet:


George Will/The Washington Post:

Neither Trump nor DeSantis will get the GOP nomination

Political prophesy is optional folly, but: There are not enough Republicans, in Iowa or the nation, enamored of the snarling contest between Trump and DeSantis — their competition to see who can despise the most American defects — to nominate either of them. Which is grim news for President Biden.

Disclosure: The columnist’s wife, Mari Will, is an adviser to Republican presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.).

The disclosure is the most important part of the piece!

Tyler Pager/The Washington Post:

Biden raised $72 million in second quarter of 2023

The Democratic incumbent outraised his potential Republican rivals in the 2024 presidential campaign from April to June

The figure accounts for donations both directly to the campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the joint fundraising committees. Biden vastly outraised Republicans running for president during the second quarter, in part because individuals can give larger sums to the DNC than they can to individual campaign accounts. Former president Donald Trump, who is running for the Republican nomination, raised more than $35 million in the second quarter, his campaign said.

SCOTUS should take partial credit. Their decisions are driving this.

And is Trump using that money for legal fees?

Max Boot/The Washington Post:

Biden shows why he can be trusted on national security – and Trump can’t

If you want to know the differences on national security between Democrats and MAGA Republicans, it all boils down to one word: Helsinki.

Five years ago, on July 16, 2018, President Donald Trump met in the capital of Finland with Russian President Vladimir Putin. There he delivered what Sen. John McCain called “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” Standing next to Putin at a news conference, Trump refused to condemn Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election or even to admit that it had occurred. This came a little more than a year after Trump had attended a NATO summit in Brussels at which he refused to affirm the alliance’s Article 5 collective security guarantee. (He later reluctantly endorsed Article 5 but continued to criticize the alliance relentlessly.)

On Thursday, President Biden visited Helsinki for a very different purpose. He came not to kowtow before Putin but to stand up to him — and not to undermine NATO but to strengthen it.

Jacob Stern/The Atlantic:

‘Things Don’t Always Change in a Nice, Gradual Way’

Climate change feels more real now than ever.

In one sense, this pile-up of crises is exactly what climate scientists expected. Global temperatures are rising at pretty much the anticipated rate, Simon Lee, an atmospheric scientist at Columbia University, told me, and natural disasters are corollaries to that fact. There will be some year-to-year variation in what happens—and this one may clock in with slightly worse conditions, overall, than trend lines would predict. But the fact is, climate change is implicated at least to some extent in all of these disasters. It makes the hot days hotter. It makes rainstorms more intense. It dries out landscapes and primes them for ignition. “We don’t need to do a specific attribution study anymore” to make such assertions, Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist and the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told me. “We’ve been doing this for 20 years now … This is so far from rocket science.”

But when it comes to climate science, what researchers “expect” can be a sketchy concept. “We know the overall path we’re on,” Alex Ruane, a climate scientist at NASA, told me, but “things don’t always change in a nice, gradual way.” 

Cliff Schecter on the Chris Wray/FBI hearings:

Sean Casten has some words about the National Defense Authorization Act, and they are pretty brutal. And also accurate. Read the whole thing.

A few more thoughts on this tweet that I typed as I was walking off the House floor today, angry and wondering what has become of any semblance of decency among the Republican caucus:

1. You know what I think of Kevin McCarthy. To recap, he is a shriveled husk of a intellectually-limited, emotionally-stunted boy who is incapable of leadership or patriotism who only got his job because no one else in his caucus had his combination of stupidity and ambition. 

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