A few more thoughts


I spoke to voters in Venice, Sarasota, St Armands (just across the water) and Longboat Key. Mostly retirees.

The bulk of the conversations reflected the polarized times: people knew who they were supporting and had strong feelings about the race.

But there were nuances...
Biden supporters would shoot a look that said "how could you even ask, ya dope" when asked why they were supporting him.It was, to them, self-evident: because Trump!

Trump supporters were more mixed. A few were hardcore. But most injected some to-be-sure note
It was either "the tweets" or "the tone" or "his mouth." @Peggynoonannyc made this pt in last column - outside his rallies, Trump supporters are far more willing to be candid about his flaws.

But after their to-be-sures, they'd quickly pivot to...
to the pre-virus econ, what they see as his get-it-done leadership style or, most often, making the case *against* Biden and Dems. Ye ole negative partisanship, which was, to put it mildly, also the animating force driving the Biden voters.
What was mostly lacking w Trump supporters, tho, was the sort of contempt for Biden you'd hear about the Clintons four years ago. They'd mock him, repeat Trump lines. But there were little attacks on his character.
*in the way of attacks on his character. ^

Candidates aside, the most striking part of the convos was how they brought pol science alive.

By that I mean the degree to which voters now use events to retrofit their preexisting partisanship...
Reporters talking to voters generation ago would found them moved by events - econ is up/down etc - to support an R or a D. Now events are mostly the raw material voters use to justify their already-determined vote.

NOT in all cases.
Events - the virus, biggest of all - *have* hurt Trump, esp w seniors. The "LOL nothing matters" bit is inaccurate. But in a polarized moment, the shifts are at the margins.

Fla, tho, is a margins state.
And if Trump can't sustain his support in places like Sarasota Co. - where Hillary lost by 11.5 after Obama nearly *won* there in '08 - he won't win Fla again. And he likely can't win the WH without Fla

So people like Michelle, she w/ the wheaten terrier, in the story matter.
Speaking of voters, I encountered.

Dept of Ya Can't Make It Up.

Longboat Key is known as a haven for Midwestern retirees and, sure enough, I happened across the sister-in-law of Mercer Reynolds at the Publix.

Reynolds was nat'l finance chair for W, is from Indian Hills
...and speaking of Cincy, does anything scream “Midwestern transplants” like the below (taken in the Sarasota airport)

#oh #io
And speaking of eats, didn’t know there were Columbia outposts beyond Ybor City!

Got that grouper and yellow rice in St Armands, the first key across water from Sarasota 👇
But if you’re in Sarasota, or just driving up or down 75, can’t recommend Indigenous Restaurant enough. Charming old house, somehow tucked away in downtown Sarasota. Lots of outdoor seats.

Got there during gov race in ‘18 - and it was on point again


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More from @jmartNYT

21 Aug
The Democratic primary electorate looks a lot smarter tonight
Rationale was always straightforward, and it was the theme all week: he's a good man, who's had some tough knocks and he can win the general election.
Key difference between Rs and Ds is that Ds have a pragmatic party base focused on electability: black voters.

Keep thinking of two SC Dems who distilled this cycle...
Read 5 tweets
8 Aug
NEW: Trump’s Mt Rushmore speech got the headlines

But it’s Noem’s unexpected trip back to DC w Lewandowski & Trump on AF One that has gripped SoDak + Pence for a month

VP intrigue, ‘24 plotting & mistrust

A tale for our Trumpian times w @maggieNYT >

Just over 2 weeks later, Noem flew back to DC. This time WH staff kept her away from Trump

But Pence happily put his meeting w her on public sked & his folks relayed after that she was v much a team player

1 Pence person floats that perhaps she could help....w their debate prep
Trump has been talking to Noem for 3 years about being added to Rushmore. Check her recounting in video below - she at first assumed he was joking.

But WH staff know better & last ya asked Noem folks about process for adding to the monument

Read 7 tweets
6 Aug
The latest Biden gaffes reflect:

a) the real/perceived risk he poses to himself, anxiety he causes in staff and why so many Dems are thrilled there is no real public campaign

b) how much Trump was depending on Biden gaffes & how little land they have to live off of now
Covid and admin handling thereof has made this as close to a single-issue election as we’ve had in some time.

But Trump’s penchant for always being at the center of attention has also overwhelmed Biden’s gaffes (more...)
.@maggieNYT & I wrote about the most vivid example:

Biden does “you ain’t black” on a Friday

By the following week, Trump has disappeared it by going on an extended jag accusing @JoeNBC of murder one.

Read 4 tweets
11 Jul
NEW: Biden is facing rising pressure to go big, maximize this cycle

-Texas Dems made their case on conf call w Biden brass Thurs
-Sherrod is banging the drum for OH-IO
-Schumer says Biden told him he'll help in *non-prez battleground* Senate races >

No state offers the temptation, or payoff, of TX: blocks any GOP path to the WH, this year and beyond, has most competitive House races of any state + state House/Sup Court control are crucial for redistricting


it has 20 markets & Biden folks don't want to spend the $
Biden "is cautiously optimistic about Texas, but those of us on the ground are more optimistic than they are," says @FilemonVela, an early Biden supporter who, along w other Texas Dems, made the case to @jomalleydillon this week >

Read 7 tweets
2 Jul

Trump may have hit his political bottom in June

But Jared said the campaign’s plan is...to let Trump decide the way ahead

“He’s really the campaign manager at the end of the day."

A dive w @maggieNYT @alexburnsNYT >

The recurring theme, from Republicans inside and outside the White House: resignation.

They know a Trump reset isn’t coming.

“He is who he is. People know who he is. You think he’s going to change?” said @SenRickScott
What continues to amaze Rs, though, is how consumed Trump is w primary voters.

Knowing this, his staff soothes him by trumpeting his W-L record - and wields it as a cudgel on the hill

The WH emailed @NRSC w a msg for Senate chiefs

The message read:
Read 6 tweets
6 Jun

MCRAVEN: “It’s time for new leadership”
KELLY: wish there were “additional choices” in Nov
COATS: Still a Republican, but the American people will decide Nov
MAGUIRE: “I’m in alignment w their views” re: Mattis et al

w @EricSchmittNYT >

Lots more here

@RepRooney considering voting Biden
@JeffFlake in touch w @ChrisCoons on a Biden rollout
And Coons quietly working Senate Rs, who may privately back Biden

Asked one GOP senator this week if Biden’s election was worth it if it meant ending the near-weekly gauntlet of being asked about what Trump said

long pause

“Do we keep the Senate?”
Read 4 tweets

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