February 25, 2024
🍳 Happy Sunday! Erica Pandey — [email protected] — is at the helm.
- Smart Brevity™ count: 1,388 words ... 5 mins. Edited by Donica Phifer.
🐘 1 big thing: Trump's demographic problem
If America were dominated by old, white, election-denying Christians who didn't go to college, former President Trump would win the general election in as big of a landslide as his sweep of the first four GOP contests.
- Why it matters: It's not. That's why some top Republicans are worried about the general election in November, despite Trump's back-to-back-to-back-to-back wins in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
Trump was declared the winner of yesterday's South Carolina's Republican Party the second that polls closed — trouncing Nikki Haley by 20 points (60% to 40%) in the state where she was governor.
- "The primary ends tonight," the Trump campaign announced, even though he can't officially clinch the nomination until next month.
🧮 By the numbers: Trump wins with older white voters without college diplomas who believe the last election was rigged, according to network exit polls and AP VoteCast, which interviewed 2,440 South Carolina primary voters over five days.
Where he won: Two-thirds of Trump voters were white and didn't go to college. (VoteCast)
- Three-quarters of those without a college degree went for Trump. (CNN)
- 83% of "angry" voters backed Trump. (ABC)
Where he lost: 75% of Haley supporters correctly said Biden was legitimately elected president in 2020 (about 40% of them voted for Biden). (VoteCast)
- A stunning 62% of Republican primary voters said Biden wasn't legitimately elected. (NBC)
Those who went to the polls reflected Trump's strengths:
- This was the oldest South Carolina GOP electorate this century. (Chuck Todd)
- 60% of primary voters were white evangelical or born-again Christians. (CNN)
🥊 Reality check: That group isn't remotely big enough to win a presidential election. He would need to attract voters who are more diverse, more educated and believe his first loss was legit. South Carolina exit polls show he didn't do that.
- That's why Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate's only Black Republican, remains on Trump's short list for V.P.
- A bigger problem yet: Polls show these skeptics would be even less likely to swing his way if he's convicted of a crime — a real possibility among his four ongoing cases, insiders tell us.
The strategy: Trump's campaign says that in the battleground states where the election will be decided, his message will appeal far beyond the GOP base that propelled him to the nomination.
- "This is going to be a referendum against Joe Biden and his policies," a top Trump adviser tells us. "As long as Trump can tap into voter disillusion about the economy, out-of-control immigration, and more foreign entanglements, those are issues that affect people from all backgrounds."
👀 Between the lines: Trump can't scare off swing voters as he works to scare them away from Biden by warning — as he did yesterday at CPAC — of bloodshed, tyranny, crime and violence if the president is re-elected.
2. 🗳️ Haley vows to stay in
With no wins (and none in sight), Nikki Haley vowed to stay in the Republican primary after an embarrassing double-digit blow in her home state yesterday.
- Why it matters: Her path forward looks increasingly far-fetched, Axios' Erin Doherty writes.
Haley congratulated the former president during remarks after her projected loss and reaffirmed her vow to stay in the race.
- "I am a woman of my word," she said. "I'm not giving up this fight when the majority of Americans disapprove of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden."
- "I'm grateful that today is not the end of our story," she said, adding that she is heading to Michigan today before Tuesday's primary.
On the ground: Outside a voting location at Satchel Ford Elementary school outside of Columbia, there were more yard signs for local down-ballot candidates than there were for Nikki Haley or former President Trump, Axios' Sophia Cai reports from South Carolina.
3. 💸 Moguls cash in
When the market is at record highs, it's a great time to convert paper wealth to cash dollars.
- Just ask JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon, Meta's Mark Zuckerberg, or Amazon's Jeff Bezos — all of whom have been selling a lot of stock of late.
👀 Zoom in: It makes sense even for billionaires to diversify out of having the overwhelming majority of their wealth in a single stock, Axios chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon writes.
🧮 By the numbers: Between them, the three moguls have sold $9.3 billion of stock in less than a month, per Jonathan Moreland of Insider Insights.
- Dimon sold $150 million of JPMorgan shares on Feb. 22.
- Zuckerberg sold $661 million of Meta shares between Jan. 31 and Feb. 21.
- Bezos sold $8.5 billion of Amazon shares between Feb. 9 and Feb. 20.
Stunning stat: Even these astonishing numbers pale in comparison to the $39.5 billion of Tesla shares that Elon Musk sold between November 2021 and December 2022 — mostly to raise the cash he needed to buy Twitter.
4. 🤖 Tyler Perry's AI pivot
Sign of the times: Producer, director and actor Tyler Perry has put a planned $800 million expansion of his Atlanta studio on hold after seeing OpenAI's text-to-video chops.
- "Being told that it can do all of these things is one thing, but actually seeing the capabilities, it was mind-blowing," Perry told The Hollywood Reporter.
"If I wanted to write a scene on the moon, it's text, and this AI can generate it like nothing. If I wanted to have two people in the living room in the mountains, I don't have to build a set in the mountains, I don't have to put a set on my lot."
- "I can sit in an office and do this with a computer, which is shocking to me."
🔭 The big picture: "Perry and other producers are facing a shifting entertainment world where media companies are spending less across the board on film and TV productions and struggling to make streaming services profitable," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes.
5. 🔎 Immigrant influx squeezes cities
The crisis resulting from a record number of people entering the U.S. through the southern border is increasingly straining budgets in some of America's largest cities, Axios Denver's Alayna Alvarez writes.
- An analysis from S&P Global Ratings shows that of the 100,000 immigrants Texas has transported since 2022, 84% were sent to Denver, Chicago and New York.
Zoom in: Denver — home to more immigrants per capita than any other U.S. city — is pulling at least $5 million from its budget to continue providing services for them.
- Cutbacks have meant reduced hours at DMVs and recreational centers, plus a pause in hiring of some city staff.
💡 Reality check: A first-of-its-kind federal study found that refugees and asylum seekers have historically had a net positive fiscal impact in the U.S.
- Refugees and asylum seekers who entered the country between 2005 and 2019 generated nearly $124 billion in net federal, state and local government revenues — after taking into account the costs of caring for them, HHS found.
6. 🇷🇺 Russia surrenders Navalny remains
After a fight, Alexei Navalny's body was turned over to his mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya.
- Russian officials had given her a three-hour ultimatum to decide between a secret burial without a public farewell or a prison burial, Navalny's spokesperson said.
"We're not letting up," President Biden said on X. "His vision for a brighter future for Russia will live on."
7. 🏢 Charted: Apartment math
Renters with the deepest pockets are more likely than those with tighter budgets to score a deal.
- A flood of new construction is pushing down U.S. rents at the high end. But demand for more affordable apartments is keeping middle-of-the-road rent prices high, Axios' Sami Sparber reports.
Zoom in: Most new apartments are in prime locations — and loaded with amenities like rooftop bars, pet decks and towel service.
- Nearly 90% of the units completed from 2020 through 2022 were high-end, per RentCafe.
8. ☀️ 1 view to go
The sun sets at White Sands National Park on Friday, in this stunning snap captured by Axios' Russell Contreras on his iPhone.
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