Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

The Bidens Hit the Trail

With the SOTU speech suggesting that he was going to run again, Joe Biden is taking the next step and is about to hit the campaign trail, with stops in Wisconsin and Florida. Wisconsin is expected to be one of the closest states in 2024, so that makes perfect sense. In addition, there will also be a hotly contested Senate race there, with Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) fighting for reelection in one of the most closely divided states in the country.

Biden is heading to DeForest, a town of 10,000 people about 10 miles northeast of Madison, the state capital. By choosing DeForest, Biden is demonstrating his interest in small-town America, while also being close enough to Madison that thousands of students from the University of Wisconsin can get there easily. Biden will probably talk about the same themes that he did in the SOTU speech: the economy and the 5 million jobs created in 2022. This won't be his last visit to Wisconsin during his campaign.

Thursday, Biden will go to Tampa, an area full of seniors. He will hammer on the plan published by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) for sunsetting Social Security and Medicare. Here is the relevant part of Scott's plan:

Part of Rick Scott's plan to end Social Security

Has Scott backed down after the disastrous reaction to his proposal and Biden's bringing it up at the SOTU speech? Not in the least. Yesterday, he doubled down and said that yup, all laws should sunset after 5 years, but Congress can pass any that it likes again. If Scott got his way, not only would Social Security and Medicare vanish in five years if they were not renewed, but so would the Revenue Act of 1918 and all its amendments. That would end the federal income tax. Imagine trying to get Congress to pass that again. Or how about the various Judiciary Acts that, you know, created the federal courts? Or the Pure Food and Drug Act, that says that food producers can't sell hamburgers with rat meat in them? Or the minimum wage law? Or the right to unionize? Not to mention thousands upon thousands of other laws. It would be complete anarchy.

Biden's going to Florida is kind of a bet that Donald Trump will be his opponent is 2024. If Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is Biden's opponent, it is hard to see how Biden could win Florida. After all, DeSantis just won an election there by almost 20 points. That will be insurmountable.

By contrast, Trump won the state in 2020 by a margin of only 51% to 48%. That might be doable for Biden if Trump and DeSantis have a bitter and very divisive primary with Trump throwing buckets of mud at DeSantis, eventually winning the nomination but antagonizing Florida voters in the process by lying endlessly about DeSantis. Florida is also a very expensive state and worth fighting for only if you expect to have a chance. Otherwise, every minute you spend there and every dollar you spend there would probably be better spent in neighboring Georgia or in North Carolina, both of which are potentially winnable for a Democrat under the right conditions.

A Biden will also show up in Arizona, but it is not Joe or Hunter. It is Jill. She will go to the Super Bowl on Sunday in Glendale, AZ. She probably won't hold any rallies there, but her presence in this swing state will be an indication to Arizona voters that Joe is very interested in the state. No doubt he will campaign there later in the year, but the trouble with campaigning there is that Phoenix is 1,980 miles from D.C. as the crow flies and 4 hours and 48 minutes as the commercial airplane flies. Air Force One probably can't do a lot better than that, since both planes that use that call sign are over 30 years old. An F-22 could do it in a bit over an hour, but then Biden would have to fly it himself since the F-22 is a single-seater. It means every campaign trip to Arizona takes up 10 hours of valuable presidential time (plus an hour or more getting to and from airports by helicopter four times). Trips to Arizona can be combined with rallies in Nevada, another swing state in the area, but there aren't any other swing states nearby. However, a trip to Arizona could be efficiently combined with a fancy fundraising dinner in L.A. or San Diego. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates