Is Trump About To Open Up His War Chest?
A new Super PAC could indicate how serious he is about 2022
One of the biggest storylines of this cycle has been the absence of Donald Trump’s war chest from the general elections for the outsider candidates he endorsed in the primaries. That may be about to change.
Donald Trump’s top lieutenants are launching a new super PAC that is expected to spend heavily to bolster his endorsed candidates in the midterm election — and, some people close to the former president say, could become a campaign apparatus if he runs in 2024.
Sanctioned by the former president, the new group, dubbed MAGA, Inc., will become the primary vehicle for Trump’s operation to engage in political activity in 2022. The outfit is designed to funnel large sums into key races and could conceivably be used to boost Trump in the event he seeks the White House again.
The organization provides the clearest indication yet of how Trump plans to engage during the final stretch of the midterm campaign and, those in the former president’s orbit say, offers a preview into what the structure of a 2024 campaign could look like. Republicans have been heavily outspent in races across the map, and party strategists have been anxious for Trump — by far the party’s biggest money magnet — to help financially.
Trump has spent minimally on behalf of Republican candidates so far this year, but that’s about to change with the new super PAC. Save America, the former president’s leadership PAC and one of the best-funded entities in politics, has around a $100 million cash reserve — money that can be transferred to MAGA, Inc.
“President Trump is committed to saving America, and Make America Great Again, Inc. will ensure that is achieved at the ballot box in November and beyond,” said Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesperson.
MAGA, Inc. will be overseen by Budowich, who’s been serving as the former president’s communications director and was previously a senior adviser on his 2020 reelection campaign. Chris LaCivita, a veteran Republican operative who in 2020 ran the biggest-spending pro-Trump super PAC, will be the vehicle’s chief strategist. Tony Fabrizio, a longtime Trump pollster who worked on his 2016 and 2020 campaigns, will oversee polling.
So is this MAGA, Inc. thing for real? Will it end up being more vaporware — something that just cuts some ads for top races to show the flag — or will it actually put some real dollars behind electing a Republican Senate in a victorious cycle Trump can claim to own?
Let’s just say that when it comes to Trump spending money on someone other than himself, I’d like to see the proof first.
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Are The Polls Biased For Democrats Again?
A polling error of about 3 points on average is actually pretty normal. All polling is an inexact science attempting to model the opinion of a large population based on a sample of a small part of that population. Things could go awry in sampling (if certain voters are more difficult for the pollster to reach), or in weighting (as pollsters try to ensure their sample is representative of the electorate, they may make incorrect assumptions about rates at which demographics are likely to turn out). Additionally, undecided voters making up their minds at the very last minute break could disproportionately to one candidate or side. These things happen!
But if polls are consistently erring, over multiple cycles, in the same partisan direction, and often in the same states or regions, that may indicate a fundamental problem.
Part of the recent debate among election analysts is about whether that has actually happened — that is, in how we should interpret those last few cycles of poll results. Has there been a consistent overestimation of Democrats — meaning, a problem of pollsters reaching Trump-supporting Republicans? Or has it been a more mixed set of results from which people are over-reading patterns?
If you look at Senate polling of competitive contests from 2014 to 2020, and swing state presidential polling in 2016 and 2020, the pattern of bias seems quite plain: Polling underestimated Republicans far more often than Democrats in these contests, which stretch across several cycles at this point. Often, these errors were most pronounced in certain states or regions, such as Rust Belt states or very red states. So Cohn sees “warning signs” that recent polls may be overestimating Democrats in those same states, an “artifact of persistent and unaddressed biases in survey research.”
Silver takes a broader view, incorporating polling nationally, of governor’s races, and of off-year and special elections into his analysis, and concludes that the picture looks more mixed. He argues that polls have either been pretty close or even underestimated Democrats in various elections in 2017, 2021, and 2022 (particularly after the Dobbs decision). He views 2018 in particular as a mixed bag, not demonstrating a “systematic Democratic bias.” And he posits that perhaps “Republicans benefit from higher turnout only when Trump himself is on the ballot,” meaning that 2016 and 2020 might be the wrong elections to focus on when thinking about this year.
I have a different interpretation of polls’ performance in 2018 than Silver, though. According to his numbers, polling averages underestimated Democrats by about 1 point on average in the House and in governor’s races, and there was no partisan bias in Senate polls on average that year.
But there’s a catch: The Senate map that year had an unusually large amount of contests in solidly blue states, none of which proved to be competitive. Democrats outperformed polls in nearly all of those contests.
Yet if we look at 2018’s actually competitive races — which that year were in purple and red states — most Democratic candidates underperformed their polls, and often by quite a lot.
Marilyn Mosby’s Final Insult
Marilyn Mosby’s tenure as Baltimore’s chief prosecutor has been an unmitigated disaster for Charm City, highlighted by her persistent refusal to prosecute the guilty. Now, on her way out the door after being deposed by a disgusted electorate, Mosby has one final insult for her beleaguered constituents: freeing a convicted murderer.
Elected in 2014, Mosby was one of the first officials to run on a platform of de-prosecution, decarceration, and demonizing the police. The results were predictable. Homicides in Baltimore rose above 300 murders per year for every year Mosby was in office, a brutally high number for a midsize city; this year may set a new record. Citizens have fled, with Baltimore’s population dropping by 35,000 people from 2010 to 2020. Now, Mosby is under federal indictment for perjury and submitting false statements in an alleged attempt to swindle the federal government for Covid-19 relief funds to buy a vacation home in Florida. It’s little wonder that Baltimoreans finally voted her out of office in the 2022 Democratic primary, nominating instead a prosecutor who promises to try to restore order.
With the city reeling and her reputation in tatters, the safest exit strategy for Mosby would have been to wind down her role quietly, hoping that nobody noticed as she skulked off to face her federal charges. Instead, Mosby is reinforcing her de-prosecution credentials, executing on a plan to free Adnan Syed, convicted of killing a teenage girl.
A Lament On Rising Illiberalism
As classical liberals, we cannot hide our dismay with contemporary politics. On the Right, the fusionist coalition that once offered old-fashioned liberals a voice within the GOP is falling apart. On the Left, Democrats treat as enemies of the state anybody who dares dissent from extreme progressivism. Now, even elements of the Libertarian Party are turning against classical liberalism, preferring outrage-stoking and noxious racialism to a principled defense of human freedom.
Federalism, free markets, and even the Constitution have few defenders in the public square. While we don’t expect sweetness and light from partisan contests, surely it’s reasonable to demand the political process respect quintessentially American beliefs. Turning away from liberalism means leaving behind part of what makes us who we are. Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians have forgotten the difference between policy disagreements and civic loyalty.
There’s little room for our economic ideas in the Democratic Party. They’ve opposed free enterprise since the New Deal, if not earlier. But another, more recent illiberal turn is far more alarming: Democrats have turned their back on basic values such as free speech, toleration of dissent, and open scientific inquiry. Instead, they prefer totalizing wokeness , seasoned heavily with authoritarianism. Left-illiberalism infuses every aspect of life with "social justice" activism, from the ESG investment schemes of Wall Street to the monetary policy priorities of the Federal Reserve to the kinds of cars and appliances permissible to purchase. If Democrats get their way, everything social and cultural will necessarily become political. There’s no room for liberalism here.
Items of Interest
“I don’t drink tea. I hate it. It’s mud. Moreover, it’s one of the main reasons for the downfall of the British Empire. Be a good girl and make me some coffee.”
— Ian Fleming, Goldfinger