The War of the 21st Century: The Battleground State of Michigan and its Struggle with Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Trump on Social Media
Young people are going to social media in droves to see the conspiracy theorist Mr. Kennedy speak out against the elites and those who support them, and to learn about the toxicity, pettiness and other drawbacks of the two-party system. And they’re seeing Mr. West demand “freedom across the board” and “equal dignity, equal rights and equal status for Palestinians and Israelis.” Messages like those are sticking with some of the young, independent-minded battleground state voters I have been talking with in focus groups.
Consider Michigan, a swing state that has been critical to the victory of Democratic presidential candidates. The politics in Michigan, where the president’s standing should benefit from the recently announced tentative agreements between the union representing many autoworkers and their employers, is suddenly more challenging with an Arab American population of more than 300,000 and approximately half a million college undergraduates who are almost all eligible to vote next year. The Biden team must also be careful and shore up support with the student-rich populations of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, both states Democrats rely on for above-average youth participation and support for their party.
Most, if not all, of these progressive voters still won’t embrace Mr. Trump, to be sure. But if they swing from being ardent Biden voters in 2020 to being skeptical, frustrated or forlorn voters in 2024, it’s the president who will pay the bigger price, even if his standing improves among some centrists and Jewish voters.
All of this is unfolding against the backdrop of the 2024 presidential campaign. Young voters are interested in the independent candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other candidates. According to a new Quinnipiac University poll last week, upwards of 40 percent of registered voters under 35 indicate they are supporting Mr. Kennedy and his anti-establishment message or Mr. West, the public intellectual and author, in a hypothetical matchup against Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump.
It’s important to place these opinions into the context of this unique American moment. If you spend enough time with young people, you will most likely hear them espouse what I call the modern trickle-down effect theory. The Reagan-era theory states that wealth flowed from the top down. Today many young people see wars, problems and mistakes originating from the older generations in top positions of power and trickling down to harm those most vulnerable and least equipped to protect themselves. This is the fabric that connects many young people regardless of ideology. The new generation of voters is asking themselves if it’s the right time to make a change, if not now.
A vexing challenge for the administration has been connecting with the young, diverse electorate and persuading them to see its achievements. According to the research center, it has become less likely for teens and young adults to follow the current events than it was a year ago.
The polls show that Trump is largelyPukiWikiPukiWikiPukiWikiPukiWikiPukiWikiPukiWiki, but he is facing criminal charges. He leads Mr. Biden by between 4 and 10 percentage points in five battleground states. Mr. Biden had a small lead in Wisconsin. A lot of voters agree that Mr. Trump’s policies helped them personally. Roughly the same proportion of voters say they’ve been hurt by Mr. Biden’s policies.
Voters trust Mr. Trump more than Mr. Biden to manage the economy by a margin of 22 percentage points. White and Hispanic voters are more trusting of Mr. Trump than any other group, across the educational spectrum and over all on the economy. In most of these states, the share of voters who say they’re voting based on the economy — as opposed to social issues — has increased since the midterm elections last November.
Gail Collins: I am looking forward to reading what you have to say about your reporting trip to Israel. Can we talk about a Times-Siena poll on the presidential race that came out on Sunday? Donald Trump is ahead in almost all the critical states.
The only thing we know is that Biden may be physically and mentally sharper than Alex Honnold. But this poll is pretty much voters yelling, “We don’t think so.” You should ignore it at your own risk.
Gail: Well, of course. You and I wanted him to not run for re-election. He was three years older than Donald Trump, and appears to be in better physical condition, so he did.
Why does Dean Phillips think Kamala Harris would be the best vice president ever? The case against the candidate who was elected to the House Select Committee
Is it better to say a good word for Dean Phillips, the Minnesota representative challenging Biden? Lloyd Austin, the Defense secretary, said if the Biden team lost Kamala Harris, Americans wouldn’t feel confident about a potential president.
Harris might be the best vice president ever, though she’s hiding it. But the point here is that voters are underwhelmed, and her presence on the ticket compounds Biden’s already abysmal numbers.
Gail: Trump is more energetic, but he is a lot louder. Either way his multitudinous defects in character and policy really should make the difference.
Bret: Trump has always been the Tsar Bomba of idiocy. too many people seem more impressed by his rhetorical force than appalled by his moral and ideological destructiveness
That is a great question. I think Trump should be in jail. The political problem is that the indictments help him, because they play to his outlaw appeal. Josey Wales was an American politician. The Justice Department is the only system that he believes is broken, biased and corrupt, so anything they do against him is proof of that. And tens of millions of people agree with him.
Why Biden is a Fail-Tolerant Candidate: Why Israel should not censure Tlaib — and why the United States should not
I can not believe that Biden is going to be a candidate. George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford all went on to win the Republican Party nomination despite being challenged by Biden. If Biden were to run in spite of the public’s skepticism, he would risk failing to beat Trump in the first place.
Gail: “My name’s Gail.” Since Biden is definitely running and I wish he wasn’t, I don’t think I need to whine about it. He would be a better president than Trump.
Biden has a really fine record, that is what is frustrating. The economy has picked up. He has achieved a big program for infrastructure projects. He’s always got the fight against global warming on his agenda. He stands up firmly for social issues most Americans support, like abortion rights.
He needs to rest on his laurels and pass the baton to a younger generation. I can think of a half-dozen Democrats, particularly governors, who would trounce Trump in a general election just by showing up to the debate with a pulse and a brain. Let me just start with four: Gretchen Whitmer, Josh Shapiro, Jared Polis, Wes Moore ….
I think Tublington should look into what has happened in Israel after he objected to Pentagon policies on abortion. The country just paid a dreadful price in lives in part because far-right politicians ignored the degradation of the country’s military readiness while they pursued their ideological fixations. I would like to see Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer join forces to change Senate rules and move nominations to a vote.
Readers will not be surprised to know that Tlaib has views that are not in line with reality. Like Taylor Greene, she’s an embarrassment to her party and the House. I do not oppose efforts to censure her. One thing that distinguishes free societies like America and Israel is that they stand for freedom of speech, while the rest of the world suppresses it. Tlaib would have the right censure if she were to be voted out of office.
What would you like to see in the next decade? Gail: And what would we do if we hadn’t heard of Donald Trump?
Gail: But let’s get back to that poll for a minute. Only 6 percent of the people who responded identified themselves as union members. I am sad about the decline of the unions in this country, they have done wonderful things for the working class and middle class.
Gail: We enjoyed the trick-or-treaters last week and were happy to see that the popular costumes were more for skeletons and ghosts than celebrities and pop culture heroes. I challenge you to make a list of things that you are thankful for on Thanksgiving.
Gail: Donald Trump is absent from this week’s Republican debate, which features several people who haven’t heard of him. As far as I can see, your favorite celebrity is near the head of the pack. I think she still has a chance.
Is it possible that he is not sure? But you’ve somehow reminded me of a lovely poem by Adrienne Rich, which seems to capture both Haley’s candidacy and my daily struggles with coherent prose.