Politics Byron York's Daily Memo: Democrats' deepest fears
Mark Meadows Sent Memo Detailed Plan for Pence to Undo Biden's Election Win: Book
According to 'Betrayal,' the then-vice president received the memo that said he was expected to send back the electoral votes from six battleground states on January 6.The private memo, written by Trump's campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis, was obtained by ABC News and reported for the first time in the upcoming book Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show by ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl.
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DEMOCRATS' DEEPEST FEARS. Democratic strategists are still trying to figure out why a top party figure, Terry McAuliffe, lost the race for governor of Virginia. McAuliffe did all the right things from the 2021 Democratic playbook. He tried to portray his opponent, Republican Glenn Youngkin, as a far-right anti-vaxxer. He tried to portray Youngkin as a racist. And most of all, he tried to portray Youngkin as the living, breathing incarnation of Donald Trump.
Byron York's Daily Memo: The Biden White House dumpster fire
Welcome to Byron York's Daily Memo newsletter.THE BIDEN WHITE HOUSE DUMPSTER FIRE. President Joe Biden's plunging public approval rating isn't his problem. It is a reflection of his problem.
But it didn't work. So now, Democratic pollsters are doing some basic research. Why did voters reject McAuliffe? What, specifically, did he do wrong? Recently, a Democratic firm, ALG Research, which served as the top pollster for President Joe Biden's campaign, asked those questions in focus groups in the Northern Virginia suburbs and in Richmond. Some of the answers they found are deeply troubling for Democrats all across the country. Two lessons stand out:
The first is that Democrats lost the education issue, long a party strength. And they did not lose it, as much of the press coverage implied, because of critical race theory. They lost it because of the party's support — dictated by teachers unions — of shutting down schools during the COVID pandemic.
Byron York's Daily Memo: The most uncertain presidential picture ever
Welcome to Byron York's Daily Memo newsletter.THE MOST UNCERTAIN PRESIDENTIAL PICTURE EVER. The 2024 presidential election is three years from now. But it is dominating current politics even more than the next midterm elections, which are less than a year away. That is because of a set of unique — truth be told, bizarre — conditions of U.S. presidential politics on both the Democratic and Republican sides.
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In a, ALG's Brian Stryker and Oren Savir write that, while critical race theory was an issue, and voters did not approve of its use in schools, the issue "wasn't as salient as the fact that [voters] felt Democrats closed their schools and didn't feel bad about it." Voters saw Democrats as "putting government and closures before parents on schools," the report says.
When the researchers discussed critical race theory, they noticed that the voters in the focus group "were more animated talking about their dissatisfaction with their local school districts' handling of Covid." Participants felt that officials had closed the schools and kept them closed without regard to science. One woman who voted for Biden for president and then Youngkin for governor said her vote was "against the party that closed the schools for so long last year."
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McAuliffe, of course, made things worse when he said, "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach." It was the classic nongaffe gaffe in which the candidate said what he really thought. The Youngkin campaign made good use of it. But the biggest problem with McAuliffe's statement, the researchers found, "was that it played into an existing narrative that Democrats didn't listen to parents when they kept the schools closed past any point of reason and that they'd close the schools again over parents' objections." Voters "broadly don't feel heard right now when it comes to schools, and they blame liberals and Democrats."
The second most troubling finding for Democrats was that their emphasis on Trump did not work. McAuliffe gave it all he had without success. "We're not saying this was a mistake, or that Terry had a better message he left on the table," the somewhat baffled pollsters report. "We don't know. But we do know that if our most effective message in 2022 is that Republicans = Trump, we're going to get creamed."
By obsessing on Trump, McAuliffe gave voters the impression that he was focused on the past, not the future. "They saw Youngkin's campaign as being positive and forward-looking ..." the report says, "while from McAuliffe's campaign they only remembered negative campaigning and bringing up Trump." Then, just for emphasis, the pollsters said it again: "If we are running 2022 on 'Republican candidate = Trump,' we're getting killed."
Rep. Comer accuses Sec. Becerra of 'attacking' religious liberty, vows action after internal HHS memo revealed
House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer. R-Ky., told Fox News in an exclusive statement said it's “no surprise” that HHS is planning to roll back religious liberty protections. "Secretary Becerra has a pattern of attacking Americans’ religious liberty and it should come as no surprise he is seeking to prevent HHS’ Office of Civil Rights from defending this core American value.
The pollsters found other problems. "Voters couldn't name anything Democrats had done," they write. They are unhappy with the general direction of the country. They see Democrats as "only focused on equality and fairness" and not on helping people like them. And perhaps most of all, the researchers found that "Biden is hurting, even among supporters." "They were reluctant to say [Biden] is not up to the job, but they don't feel like he's getting it done right now."
Put together, the findings are grim news for Democrats. First, they point to voter unhappiness with the party's policies and performance — with its handling of the most significant crisis in recent history. And second, they point to weaknesses in what some Democrats believe is their ace in the hole — Trump. After Virginia, even Democrats who want to pretend everything is going well know there is a problem.
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Byron York's Daily Memo: Biden approval showing 'first signs of meaningful decline' .
Welcome to Byron York's Daily Memo newsletter.BIDEN APPROVAL SHOWING "FIRST SIGNS OF MEANINGFUL DECLINE." For his first six months in office, President Joe Biden's job approval has stayed pretty steady. As you saw last week, it was based largely on the public's approval of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. But of course, that was the pre-delta variant period of the pandemic in which the news (dramatically lower numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths) was nearly all good.