Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The contours of a November election

Gun Rights

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup is a long-running series published every morning that collects essential political discussion and analysis around the internet.

Brian Beutler/”Off Message” on Substack:

Biden’s Critics On The Left Should Rethink The Concept Of ‘Leverage’

Our flawed political system gives them less power than they deserve, but more than many of them realize.

The 2000 election turned out as it did in part because a small but decisive number of voters convinced themselves the major parties were fundamentally similar and similarly unappealing. (Plus the whole Supreme-Court-stopping-the-count thing.)

The consequences have shaped the entirety of my adult life; for people of a certain age—my age and just a bit older—the lessons against complacency and collapsing important distinctions have proven lifelong.

To see something very similar happen on the basis of similarly lazy thinking in 2016 was a history-repeating trauma. One fateful error ought to have been enough to create a whole oral tradition and stigma against falling into the same traps. Casting enough protest votes to hand Republicans a slim electoral-college victory against the popular will, only to watch them wreck the country, ought to be prime Fool Me Once material—the kind of thing that should be off the table for decades, to say nothing of twice more in 20 years.

But here we are in 2024 staring down the real possibility that it will happen again just like it did eight years ago, and 16 years before that. It’s even possible to imagine that enough Biden-2020 voters will defect or stay home to hand Trump outright victory.

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Dan Pfeiffer/”The Message Box” on Substack:

A Vote for Trump is a Vote for More Gun Violence

It got lost in the coverage, but Trump promised the NRA that he would repeal all of Biden’s gun safety actions

What a Trump Presidency Would Mean

In 2022, President Biden became the first president in over two decades to sign a new gun safety bill. The bipartisan bill expanded the background check process to more gun sellers. Senator Chris Murphy says the law, which he shepherded to passage, contributed to a 20% reduction in urban gun murders.

Since taking office, President Biden has taken more than 20 executive actions to combat gun violence, including helping to close the gun show loophole. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at the time:

Under this regulation, it will not matter if guns are sold on the internet, at a gun show, or at a brick-and-mortar store: if you sell guns predominantly to earn a profit, you must be licensed, and you must conduct background checks.

No one is arguing that these laws and regulations are sufficient. Far from it. There is so much more to do, including passing an assault weapons ban. But we cannot afford to go backward. And that’s exactly what a Trump presidency would do. More guns in the hands of the wrong people, fewer background checks. More shootings and more deaths.

The threat is very real. Trump can reopen the gun show loophole on day one with the stroke of a pen.

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Seth Masket/”Tusk” on Substack:

How surprised should we be by Haley backing Trump?
On the normalization and abnormalization of GOP nomination politics

So why is Haley backing him now? I doubt there’s any sort of deal that’s been worked out. Trump doesn’t need her support. She’s backing him for the same reason virtually every other public figure in the party does: she wants to still have a career as a Republican, whether in the next Trump administration or otherwise, and she’s seen the very visible examples of what happens to those who fail to bend the knee. And despite all the concerns she’s raised about Trump, she likely still sees another term by him as better than another by Biden.

Just one point here about what Haley said this week:

Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me and continue to support me, and not assume that they’re just going to be with him. And I genuinely hope he does that.

This strikes me as astonishingly silly. Why would Trump be smart to reach out to Haley and her supporters? That requires effort, and she just demonstrated that he would have her vote despite him exerting no effort at all. Haley is repeating a pattern that we have seen time and again from nearly all Republican officials, that despite some modest protestations, there is quite literally nothing he can do that will keep them from supporting him over a Democrat

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Nate Cohn/New York Times:

The Biden team faces questions of its own: Why have these voters backed away from him, and can his campaign find a way to reach them?

President Biden has actually led the last three Times/Siena national polls among those who voted in the 2020 election, even as he has trailed among registered voters overall. And looking back over the last few years, almost all of Mr. Trump’s gains have come from these less engaged voters.

Importantly, these disengaged low-turnout voters are often from predominantly Democratic constituencies. Many continue to identify as Democratic-leaning and still back Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, but they nonetheless are backing away from Mr. Biden in startling numbers. In our polling, Mr. Biden wins just three-quarters of Democratic-leaning voters who didn’t vote in the 2022 midterm election, even as almost all high-turnout Democratic-leaners continue to support him.

Mr. Trump’s strength among low-turnout and less engaged voters helps explain a lot of what’s strange about this election. It illustrates the disconnect between Mr. Trump’s lead in the polls and Democratic victories in lower-turnout special elections. And it helps explain Mr. Trump’s gains among young and nonwhite voters, who tend to be among the least engaged. His strength among young voters, in particular, is almost entirely found among those who did not vote in the midterms.

While the race has been stable so far, Mr. Trump’s dependence on disengaged voters makes it easy to imagine how it could quickly become more volatile. As voters tune in over the next six months, there’s a chance that disengaged but traditionally Democratic voters could revert to their usual partisan leanings. Alternately, many of these disaffected voters might ultimately stay home, which might help Mr. Biden.

This from Nate Cohn is a really good explainer about what’s going on with the polls.

Brian Rosenwald/”The World According to Brian”on Substack:

What You Need to Know About Politics 5/24
My analysis of stunning new polling spotlighting how ill-informed Americans are and a roundup of must read stories.

Americans are woefully ill-informed. That’s the only conclusion one can reach from a bunch of new polls that are chronicled in the links section below.

According to a new Harris poll for the Guardian, 55% of respondents think the economy is shrinking, 56% think the U.S. is in a recession, 49% believe the S&P 500 stock market index is down for the year, and 49% believe that unemployment is at a 50 year high. A whopping 72% also say they think inflation is increasing.

There is only one problem. NONE of those things is true. The market went up roughly 24% in 2023 and is up another 12% this year. The unemployment rate is under 4%, a near 50 year low. GDP is growing and there hasn’t been a recession since early in the pandemic year of 2020. And the inflation rate is dropping — down to 3.4% in April.

It’s no wonder President Biden’s approval ratings are so low: 58% of those polled said the economy is worsening due to his mismanagemen

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Will Bunch/Philadelphia Inquirer:

Team Trump isn’t kidding about deporting millions if the ex-POTUS returns in 2025. It would destroy America, morally and economically.

Imagine this: It’s exactly one year from today, Memorial Day weekend, 2025. It’s 94 degrees in the shade, but the fact that the world keeps shattering monthly temperature records isn’t even making the news — and that’s not what has Philadelphians so hot and bothered. It’s been about two months since Donald Trump, the 47th president of the United States, announced Operation Purify America in an Oval Office address, and about a week since a stunned Philadelphia watched an endless convoy of militarized vehicles and federalized troops from the Texas and South Dakota National Guards roll up I-95.

After a week of setting up a base camp at the Air National Guard base in Horsham, the actual operation began at midnight the day before, as a parade of Humvees and armored personal carriers cornered off a wide area in Philadelphia’s Hunting Park section and supported federal immigration agents who went door-to-door in the predawn chaos, bursting into homes and asking Latino residents for their papers. Journalists who’d been kept blocks away by the troops now search for anyone who could confirm the rumors of screaming, scuffling, and dozens of arrests.

This might sound like a page from the script of Alex Garland’s next near-future dystopian movie, but it’s actually a realistic preview of the America Trump himself, his cartoonishly sinister immigration guru Stephen Miller, and the right-wing functionaries crafting the 900-page blueprint for a Trump 47 presidency called Project 2025 are fervently wishing for.

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Cliff Schecter reminds us that Rep. Jasmine Crokett is an awesome communicator:

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