Politics

Biden’s team digs into this culture war must-have

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The early focus on banning the books is part of the campaign’s attempt to reinforce a broader message, said a Democratic adviser involved in the effort: Biden stands alone between the American people and a Republican party determined to roll back rights and limit freedoms.

“People just don’t understand why we should ban books from libraries,” said the adviser, who spoke candidly about the campaign’s strategy on condition of anonymity. “So it’s a measure of extremism and something else [Republicans] try to take away.

Biden’s message is based on mounds of research conducted by Democratic pollsters over the past few months, as the president’s advisers and the Democratic National Committee have expanded the constellation of pollsters and data analysts monitoring voter attitudes. and the effectiveness of certain messages.

The power of book bans, as well as issues such as abortion and gun safety, are pretty clear, according to several people familiar with campaign data.

“Book banning off-charts testing,” said Celinda Lake, one of the Democratic pollsters who tested the issue for Democrats. “People are adamantly against it, and unlike other more recent issues, voters have already adopted a pattern around the book ban. They associate it with really authoritarian regimes, Nazi Germany.

The campaign’s private research aligns with public polls on the issue. A CBS News/YouGov poll in February found that more than 8 in 10 Americans oppose GOP efforts to ban books that focus on slavery, the civil rights movement and an unsanitized version of history. American. And a Fox News survey this week found that 60% of Americans — including 48% of Republicans — find book bans problematic.

Republicans led by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who looks likely to run for president, have addressed the culture wars by leading efforts to ban these and other books on LGBTQ topics. They framed this push as an effort to protect social indoctrination through the school curriculum. Lake sees it as a political gift to Biden.

“You’ll see Democrats running up and down the ticket,” she said.

But the book bans don’t just bother parents of children under 18, who make up just under 30% of the electorate. Some of the strongest responses in focus groups to GOP book bans have come from baby boomers.

The Biden campaign leaned heavily on the contrast of “more freedom or less freedom,” as the president put it in his announcement video, co-opting a quintessentially American idea and a political theme more traditionally emphasized by the republicans.

In the TV spot airing Wednesday, Biden pointed to GOP restrictions in many areas — abortion rights, voting rights — election denial and party inaction on gun safety, all under the aegis of freedom. But polls and focus group research found that messages about book bans appealed in particular to moderates and swing voters who may hold nuanced views about gender and identity, but who are far more lucid about to know what books they can or cannot read.

Those voters — who include moderate Republicans, suburban voters and college-educated whites — are among the demographics Biden’s team says will be critical to winning. They are also more likely to live in areas where the Conservatives have sought to impose restrictions on libraries and school boards.

“Americans have a libertarian streak about them, and this is an absolute affront to that streak,” the adviser said. “It’s much more about reassembling the coalition from 2020.”

Sarah Longwell, a top Republican strategist within her party’s more outspoken cadre of Never Trump activists, said book bans have occasionally surfaced in her focus groups with voters.

“When we talk about it, usually in the context of DeSantis, these are things that play very badly with educated suburban voters,” she said, assuming the campaign’s focus on book bans At least in part is to lay the groundwork for a general election showdown with DeSantis.

“They are positioning themselves to take on any candidate and fight for those swing voters who put them on top in 2020 and who are uncomfortable with some of the more extreme positions that DeSantis and others are taking,” said Longwell said.

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