Biden & local politics

A few disjointed thoughts.

Biden & local politics
The Hotel de Ville (City Hall) de Montreal, where I'm staying for the next two weeks.

I really try to avoid wading into national politics in this newsletter because, really, what's the point? I'm probably not going to tell you anything you can't get somewhere else. Plus, it bums me out.

And yet, I just can't help myself today. I'm not going to address the Supreme Court's appalling decision on presidential immunity and I'm not going to rehash what you already know about Joe Biden's disastrous debate performance, but I will share some thoughts on the differences and similarities this predicament highlights between national and local politics.

Presidential elections are completely different than every other type of election, but many political professionals don't understand that: Way back in 2015, when I had just moved to Austin, I wrote a piece for the Atlantic explaining why Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor I had covered as a reporter in Madison, was an excellent state-level politician but a terrible presidential candidate.

In down-ballot races, few voters form strong opinions about candidates. The key is to get the "fundamentals" right: raise enough money & knock on enough doors to get your name in front of voters. And your ability to raise money is often dictated by your relationships with a small circle of influential insiders. Rallies, debates etc barely matter because hardly anyone is paying attention.