Friday, March 31, 2023

Invisible Primary: Visible -- Donald Trump has been indicted

Thoughts on the invisible primary and links to the goings on of the moment as 2024 approaches...

There may be a bit of a slow-speed white Bronco chase feel to all the coverage, but it cannot go without mention that former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury. Still, FHQ would like to take an opportunity to echo something that the Cook Political Report's Amy Walter said in reaction to the news:
We do not know. That will not mean that folks will not rush to fill the void and speculate. They will. But we should all be mindful of the unprecedented nature of all of this. Presidents who lose reelection have not tended to try for a third time in the modern era. Trump is. Former presidents do not often get indicted. Trump is the first. We are all testing this hypothesis as this thing develops. Folks on both sides of the aisle are reacting in what can be called expected ways. That helps to advance this some. What elites say in response to this event matters. Those are signals to rank and file partisans that may impact public opinion on the matter down the line. But this has also moved from hypothetical to real. Survey respondents will now be asked to react to a real indictment and not a hypothetical one. That may influence the sort of read we may get from those polls when they inevitably make it into the political bloodstream in the coming days.

But what we know now is that Trump is signaling that he is going to keep on keepin' on with respect to 2024, and Republicans for the most part are rallying behind him. 

There are a lot of elected Republicans in the state of Texas. That is a lot of potential endorsements to go around in the 2024 Republican invisible primary. Trump has gotten the jump on the rest of the field in the Lone Star state in the endorsement primary. It is not a 2019 head start, but it ain't 2015 either. That is yet another datapoint in the Trump 2023 is ahead of Trump 2015 but behind Trump 2019 story. All of those markers are going to end up somewhere between one of the two -- 2015 or 2019 -- poles, but where they all land matters. The closer Trump is to his 2019 version, the better the former president's odds of ultimately claiming the 2024 Republican presidential nomination will be.

New Hampshire is back in the news. Remember New Hampshire? That first-in-the-nation presidential primary state? Well, the General Court in the Granite state considered a couple of measures on Thursday. FHQ has discussed both earlier this year. A constitutional amendment to further cement New Hampshire's position on the presidential primary calendar and a bill to force the national parties to seat delegates chosen as a reflection of that primary. Both passed the state Senate on Thursday, March 30, the former with bipartisan support and the latter on a party-line vote with Republicans for and Democrats against. 

And that all makes sense. New Hampshire Democrats are willing to signal their support for the the state's continued first-in-the-nation status in the proposed amendment. That is just good politics at home and that has much has been true since December when the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee initially adopted President Biden's proposed early calendar rules. But they were less willing to go along with a bill that would dig their hole deeper with the Democratic National Committee. New Hampshire may be able to outlast the national parties on calendar positioning, but it is another matter altogether to dictate to a party how to allocate, much less seat, delegates to their national convention. That is something that is unlikely to hold up in the courts. That is a party decision and the national convention is the ultimate decision maker in the process. matter what any state law says. 

A tip of the cap to Dante Scala for the heads up on this one.

On a personal note, FHQ Plus, FHQ's subscription service, launched today. Subscribe and come check it out! [See below]

On this date... 1984, the Kentucky Democratic caucuses were held. 1992, Jerry Brown won the Vermont caucuses. 2012, President Barack Obama won the Arizona caucuses.

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