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Pressure Grows for Biden To Step Aside
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Pressure Grows for Biden To Step Aside

Plus: Labour trounces Conservatives in U.K. elections.

Happy Monday! As much as we appreciated the time off last week, trying to cram four days of news into one morning newsletter was no easy task.

We hope you’ll forgive our verbosity today, there’s, er, a lot going on!

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • President Joe Biden sat down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Friday for a 22-minute interview—his first since the June 27 presidential debate—in which he defended his White House re-election bid and sought to reassure voters he is still capable of serving as commander-in-chief, saying his debate performance was merely a “bad episode.” “I don’t think anybody’s more qualified to be president or win this race than me,” Biden said. “I don’t think those critics know what they’re talking about.” The interview, however, failed to contain the growing panic within the Democratic Party about its presidential nominee. Billionaire Rick Caruso—a Democratic Party donor and runner-up in the 2022 Los Angeles mayoral elections—announced Saturday he would pause donations to the Biden campaign and urged Biden to step aside. Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota on Saturday became the fifth Democratic member of Congress to publicly call on Biden to suspend his reelection claim; at least six others reportedly made a similar case privately on a Sunday call with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Senate Democrats were reportedly planning to hold a meeting to discuss the issue later today, but the huddle was canceled after news of its existence was made public.
  • An alliance of leftist parties in France is projected to claim a surprise victory following the second round of French legislative elections over the weekend. Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally had a strong showing in the first round of voting last week and was expected to sweep the second round, but as of Monday morning, the left-wing New Popular Front was set to win 182 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, with French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble party alliance—which performed dismally in the first round of voting—securing 163 seats and Le Pen’s right-wing National Rally winning 143. With no party or group of parties winning a clear majority in the lower house, it’s not yet clear how the eventual governing coalition will be formed—though Prime Minister Gabriel Attal offered Macron his resignation earlier this morning.
  • In an election Friday precipitated by the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in May that millions of Iranians boycotted, Masoud Pezeshkian, a supposed moderate, defeated hardliner Saeed Jalil with 16.3 million votes to Jalil’s 13.5 million votes. A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said that the elections “were not free or fair” and that the election would “not have a significant impact on our approach to Iran.” Ultimately, most of the power in Iran lies not with the president but with the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who advised Pezeshkian to act “in continuation of the path” of Raisi.
  • The United Kingdom’s Labour Party won a resounding 412 of 650 seats in parliamentary elections on Thursday, far exceeding the Conservative Party’s 121 seats. Keir Starmer, the head of the Labour Party, took over as prime minister from Rishi Sunak, a Conservative, on Friday morning, and named Rachel Reeves as chancellor of the exchequer—the British equivalent of a finance minister—making her the first female to ever hold the role. The new Labour government has promised to end a controversial Conservative migration policy that would deport migrants to Rwanda as well as create “GB Energy,” a state-run green energy investment firm.
  • CIA Director William Burns is reportedly set to travel to Doha, Qatar, this week as Israel and Hamas seemed to make progress last week on a ceasefire deal. The negotiations are now reportedly focused on the timeline of the second phase of a three-phase agreement that would ultimately result in a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. Hamas—still holding more than 100 hostages—has repeatedly reneged on its public statements, but the terror group has reportedly dropped its requirement that Israel commit to the total ceasefire before the first stage of negotiations could begin.
  • The New York Times reported Saturday that Caspar Grosse, a German medic in the Ukrainian army’s Chosen Company—a unit of skilled international soldiers fighting for Ukraine’s defense against Russia—alleged that he witnessed soldiers fighting for Ukraine kill wounded, unarmed, and surrendering Russian soldiers, actions constituted as war crimes by the Geneva Convention. The Times also reported that soldiers of the Chosen Company bragged about killing Russian prisoners of war in a text group message. Ryan O’Leary, a commander of the company and former U.S. Army National Guardsman from Iowa, denied his soldiers committed any war crimes, saying the text messages were “predominantly” about “blowing off steam.”
  • The heads of three West African juntas in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger—which have been under military rule following coups in 2021, 2022, and 2023, respectively—formed an alliance on Saturday after meeting in Niger’s capital city of Niamey. “Together, we will consolidate the foundations of our true independence, a guarantee of true peace and sustainable development through the creation of the ‘Alliance of Sahel States’ Confederation,” Captain Ibrahim Traoré, Burkina Faso’s military ruler, tweeted on Saturday. In January, the three countries announced their departure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)—a 48-year-old regional alliance of mostly democratic countries—though the nations’ memberships were previously suspended following military takeovers.
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán—whose country is a member of NATO and the European Union—met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Friday to discuss a potential peace deal with Ukraine, just days after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv. Orbán’s Hungary assumed the presidency of the EU last week, the beginning of a six-month term that rotates between member nations. No EU leader had met with Putin since he invaded Ukraine in February 2022, and Orbán—who has frequently obstructed support for Ukraine at the EU and NATO level—was sharply rebuked by EU officials, including EU Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen. “Appeasement will not stop Putin,” she said on Friday.
  • Judge Aileen Cannon, the U.S. federal judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case in Florida, rejected on Saturday a request by Walt Nauta—Trump’s personal aide and co-defendant in the case—to have the charges against him dismissed. Nauta’s lawyers had argued the charges represented vindictive prosecution by the government against him, a claim for which Cannon found there was “no evidence.” Also on Saturday, Cannon again delayed several deadlines in the case to allow prosecutors to respond to a request from the former president’s legal team to brief the court on the relevant implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling last week on presidential immunity.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday that the economy added 206,000 jobs on net in June, a hair above economists’ consensus projection of 200,000 jobs but down from the 218,000 jobs added in May. The government and healthcare sectors accounted for 119,000—or nearly 60 percent—of the new jobs for the month, and the unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 percentage points to 4.1 percent in June—the highest such rate since November 2021. Meanwhile, average hourly earnings—a measure taking the temperature of inflation—increased 0.3 percent month-over-month and 3.9 percent annually.

Calls for a Biden Exit Approaching Critical Mass

President Joe Biden checks his watch as he steps out onto the balcony of the White House to view the fireworks over the National Mall during a 4th of July event on the South Lawn of the White House on July 4, 2024. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden checks his watch as he steps out onto the balcony of the White House to view the fireworks over the National Mall during a 4th of July event on the South Lawn of the White House on July 4, 2024. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Will he withdraw or won’t he? It’s the question that has dogged the political world every day since President Joe Biden’s disastrous debate performance late last month. Will inertia carry Biden through to the convention next month and a successful renomination, or is the status quo truly untenable, regardless of the president’s insistence on staying the course? 

The drumbeat didn’t let up over the July 4 holiday, as the president hit the campaign trail and sat for an interview with ABC News and lawmakers kissed babies and walked in Independence Day Parades in their districts. Eleven days after the debate, with Biden’s limited efforts to restore confidence floundering and a steady stream of Democratic politicians and operatives calling for him to withdraw from the race, we could be inching toward “he will.” 

For a growing number of lawmakers in Biden’s own party, the writing is on the wall—or rather, the poster—for the president. Five Democratic members of Congress have publicly called for Biden to exit the race, and at least six more reportedly did so on a call with Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries on Sunday. “Mr. President, your legacy is set,” Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois said on Friday. “We owe you the greatest debt of gratitude. The only thing that you can do now, to cement that for all time and prevent utter catastrophe, is to step down and let someone else do this.” 

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California—currently running for the U.S. Senate—stopped just short of joining his House colleagues this weekend in calling for the president to withdraw from the race. “Given Joe Biden’s incredible record, given Donald Trump’s terrible record, he should be mopping the floor with Donald Trump,” he told NBC News on Sunday. “Joe Biden is running against a criminal. It should not be even close, and there’s only one reason it is close and that’s the president’s age.”

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy walked a similar tightrope in an interview with CNN on Sunday. “This week is going to be absolutely critical,” Murphy, typically a staunch Biden ally, said. “I’m not advising this campaign, but if I were, I would probably suggest that the president get out there and do a town hall, that he do a press conference, that he show the country that he is still the old Joe Biden.”

Biden has nevertheless avoided that format since the debate, opting for business-as-usual campaign events where he could rely on a teleprompter or prepared remarks, though the White House said last week that Biden plans to hold a full press conference during this week’s NATO summit in Washington. 

The president did do pre-recorded radio interviews with several stations in the last few days—presumably an environment where Biden might receive off-the-wall questions and be required to think on his feet to improvise answers. But the hosts of those shows have since disclosed that the Biden campaign provided hosts of those shows a set list of questions before the interviews. A spokeswoman for the Biden campaign said interviews with the president are not conditioned on “acceptance of these questions,” but conceded such questions being sent in advance is “not uncommon.”

The campaign made another run at assuaging concerns on Friday, having Biden sit down for a 22-minute interview—pre-taped but uneditied—with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

If Biden’s debate performance was an example of the cardinal sin in elections—affirming voters’ biggest concerns with a candidate—the interview may have only repeated it. When asked about his debate performance and whether he knew that it was going badly while on stage, Biden’s answer bordered on incoherent:

Yeah, look. The whole way I prepared, nobody’s fault, mine. Nobody’s fault but mine. I, uh—I prepared what I usually would do sittin’ down as I did come back with foreign leaders or National Security Council for explicit detail. And I realized—bout partway through that, you know, all—I get quoted the New York Times had me down, at ten points before the debate, nine now, or whatever the hell it is. The fact of the matter is, that, what I looked at is that he also lied 28 times. I couldn’t—I mean, the way the debate ran, not—my fault, no one else’s fault, no one else’s fault.

Stephanopoulos pressed Biden on the crisis of confidence among Democrats and whether he’d step aside if key figures such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries called on him to drop out. The president said such calls would never happen and doubled down on his intent to stay in the race. “I mean, if the Lord Almighty came down and said, ‘Joe, get outta the race,’ I’d get outta the race,” he said. “The Lord Almighty’s not comin’ down.”

Biden also refused to engage with the growing evidence that he can’t beat former President Donald Trump. Stephanopoulos presented the president with an array of polls showing him losing to Trump both nationally and in key battleground states, but Biden rejected the accuracy of the polling. “But you’re behind now in the popular vote,” Stephanopoulos told the president. Biden responded simply: “I don’t buy that.” 

Asked how he’d feel if he stayed in and Trump recaptured the White House, Biden’s reply stood in sharp contrast to his campaign’s consistent framing of the race as an existential contest over the fate of American democracy. “I’ll feel as long as I gave it my all and I did the goodest job as I know I can do, that’s what this is about,” the president said.

In his appearances on the campaign trail, Biden has joked about looking 4o years old and turned to his record of policy wins to try to rebut concerns about his age. But those arguments haven’t convinced some Democrats of the president’s current ability to beat his challenger in November.

Jeffries held a virtual meeting with Democratic House Committee leaders yesterday to discuss Biden’s status, and at least six members reportedly pushed for Biden to withdraw. Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, is reportedly working on organizing a group of senators to call for Biden to drop out, though a meeting to discuss the plan scheduled to take place today was canceled over the weekend. Congress is back in session today, and Democratic lawmakers will likely face a barrage of questions from journalists on Capitol Hill about their presumptive nominee.

Party figures beyond elected officials have begun pushing for a Biden exit. David Axelrod, the former Obama campaign manager and adviser, wrote an op-ed on Saturday that described Biden’s ABC News interview in withering terms and called for the president to leave the race. “Biden is likely headed for a landslide defeat to a lawless and unpopular former president,” he wrote, citing recent polls. He characterized Biden’s response to that polling as, “Denial. Delusion. Defiance.”

Biden met in-person and virtually with 20 Democratic governors on Wednesday night, many of whom subsequently offered their public support for the president. But reporting on the governors’ thinking in recent days reveals deep skepticism of his ability to beat Trump. Some major Democratic donors are both pressuring Biden to leave and preparing for the replacement process, reportedly organizing a new PAC to support a new Democratic nominee. 

In the face of all the scrutiny, the president—clannish under normal circumstances—has appeared to rely even more on his family, particularly first lady Jill Biden, his sister Valerie, and his son, Hunter Biden. The family involvement has reportedly frustrated Biden aides scrambling to respond to the growing calls for Biden’s withdrawal. A “scared” Biden aide blew the whistle on July 4 to Semafor’s Ben Smith, who reported that “it’s unclear even to some inside the West Wing policy process which policy issues reach the president, and how. Major decisions go into an opaque circle that includes White House chief of staff, Jeff Zients (who talks to the president regularly) and return concluded.”

Questions persist about not only the president’s obvious aging and slowing down but also potential signs of a diagnosable reason for it that goes beyond old age. No one can diagnose the mental state of a person from afar, but medical experts have suggested Biden’s condition in recent public appearances warrants a cognitive test to rule out any potential degenerative illness. Biden’s personal physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor has—according to the president himself—thus far not recommended the president take a cognitive test. Still, White House visitor logs show that O’Connor met with Dr. Kevin Cannard, neurologist and Parkinson’s expert, in January.

In response to Cannard’s visit, the White House demurred. “A wide variety of specialists from the Walter Reed system visit the White House complex to treat the thousands of military personnel who work on the grounds,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said. The White House Medical Unit does treat a large number of personnel, and Cannard had attended previous meetings at the White House that didn’t involve O’Connor. But it’s unclear why the physician to the president participated in the January meeting.

Stephanopoulos asked Biden on Friday whether he’d submit to a cognitive evaluation, but the president shrugged it off. “I have a cognitive test every single day,” he said. “Every day I have that test. Everything I do.” 

He’s right, in a sense. Each day since the debate has been a test—but it’s one many of his fellow Democrats don’t seem to think he’s passing.

U.K.’s Labour Regains Power After 14 Years On the Outs

Labour Leader Keir Starmer celebrates winning the 2024 General Election with a speech at Tate Modern in London, England, on July 5, 2024. (Photo by Ricky Vigil/Getty Images)
Labour Leader Keir Starmer celebrates winning the 2024 General Election with a speech at Tate Modern in London, England, on July 5, 2024. (Photo by Ricky Vigil/Getty Images)

On May 22, the United Kingdom’s then-prime minister, Rishi Sunak, took his place behind the podium on Downing Street to make an important announcement. The leader of the Conservative Party was asking the king to dissolve Parliament and calling a snap election. 

Besides being an utter surprise, the announcement was also fairly inauspicious: For one thing, Sunak was standing umbrella-less in the pouring rain as he told Britons and the world of his decision to call an election. For another, protesters outside the gate were blaring Tony Blair’s New Labour anthem from the 1997 campaign when Labour won in a landslide. Plus, Sunak set the election for July 4—a day known the world over for ignominious British defeat. 

As it turned out, the announcement foreshadowed the campaign and indeed the election results. Voters handed the Conservative Party its worst drubbing in its 200-year history, booting the party out of 10 Downing Street after 14 years in power. The Labour Party—led by new Prime Minister Keir Starmer—captured 411 out of 650 seats in the House of Commons. Still, behind the striking majority lies a less impressive vote share, suggesting the election may have been more about dissatisfaction with the Conservatives than wholesale enthusiasm for their left-wing opponents. 

General elections for all 650 seats in the British lower house are required to be held once every five years, but British prime ministers can call a general election—for all 650 seats in Parliament—any time within five years of the previous election. In this case, Sunak could have picked a date as late as January 28, 2025. 

Sunak did not take advantage of the time available to him, despite the fact that some two-thirds of the country disapproved of his party at the time he called the election. So why’d he do it? He may have been hoping to capitalize on news of waning inflation and a positive projection for future economic growth by the IMF. In short, he gambled.

It’s easy to understand why Sunak might be willing to roll the dice: The last five years have been a miserable run for the Tories. In 2019, the Conservative Party won a respectable 371 seats in Parliament when Boris Johnson was prime minister. Johnson resigned as PM in 2022 after a number of ethical scandals, including allegations that he had violated his own lockdown rules by hosting parties at the PM’s residence at 10 Downing Street. A divisive, multi-round internal party election ensued, and Liz Truss beat out Sunak for party leader. Her time in office is best known for her disastrous “mini-budget,” which triggered a precipitous decline in the value of the British pound—and for being shorter-lived than a head of cabbage

Then came Sunak, who finally ascended to the top of the greasy pole in October 2022. The former banker—who was accused by his opponents of being out of touch—saw inflation halved during his tenure and helped achieve moderate economic growth. In the last quarter, the U.K. had the fastest growth of any country in the Group of Seven and inflation of just 2.3 percent. But the U.K.’s debt is as high as it has ever been, at approximately 100 percent of GDP (though still lower than the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio of 123 percent).

While the economy seemed to be at least partly on the mend, Sunak had less luck with immigration. The country is on pace to set a U.K. record for illegal migration this year: Between January and July, more than 13,000 asylum-seekers crossed the English Channel by boat. In a controversial move, Sunak proposed sending some asylum-seekers to Rwanda, in partnership with the Rwandan government. The first planes carrying the illegal migrants to Africa were set to leave this month after Parliament passed the measure in April. 

Starmer, who campaigned on shaking up the 14-year status quo, has also transformed his party since becoming leader in 2020 on the heels of Jeremy Corbyn’s ouster over allegations of antisemitism. Starmer has shifted the party rightward on tax and spending issues and moved it toward the middle on foreign policy—including backing away from Corbyn’s vocal support for the Palestinian cause.

But Labour has also faced dissent in its ranks over Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, costing the party several otherwise safe seats. Jonathan Ashworth, who was likely to play a key role in a Starmer Cabinet, lost his seat in central England to independent candidate Shockat Adam, who declared his victory last week to be “for Gaza.” Independents criticizing Starmer’s support for Israel also won previously safe Labour seats in other constituencies with large Muslim populations. Corbyn, vocally anti-Israel and running as an independent, handily won his longtime seat of Islington North despite facing a Labour opponent. “Today, Palestine is on the ballot,” he tweeted Thursday.

Despite its losses over Gaza, Labour did win its largest majority of the 21st century. But the “loveless landslide”—as the ever-evocative British press has taken to calling it—was perhaps more about disdain for the Conservatives than a preference for Labour. Starmer’s party won just 36 percent of the popular vote—less than it netted in a 2017 loss to the Conservatives. Turnout was also down from the previous election, at around 60 percent nationally and less than half in some districts. 

So how did Starmer win so many seats if only a third of voters supported his party? A quirk of the British system is that it rewards voter dispersion as much as—if not more than—raw numbers: “First-past-the-post” districts mean the winner of the district doesn’t have to clinch a majority. With several other parties competing in each constituency—including Nigel Farage’s Reform U.K. party, the Greens, the centrist Liberal Democrats, independent candidates, and a handful of regional parties—dividing up the electorate, Labour was able to win many seats with a plurality of the vote.

Perhaps the biggest winner of the night in popular vote terms was Farage’s Reform U.K. The successor to Farage’s Brexit party, Reform U.K.’s platform now goes beyond advocating for the cleanest break possible from the European Union. In the mold of its populist cousins across the pond, the party has advocated for net-zero migration, banning “transgender ideology” in schools, and expanding the social safety net. Though Farage’s party won only five seats, it netted 14 percent of the vote. 

The question now is what Labour will do with its win. Its manifesto included bold proposals to create a new clean energy power company to cut electricity bills, create a “New Deal” for workers, and dramatically increase investment in the U.K.’s National Health Service to cut wait times. 

The plan—and Labour’s likelihood of turning an apathetic victory into real electoral success—might not be as feasible as it is ambitious. Starmer is already trying to manage expectations, calling many of the U.K.’s public services “broken.” 

“I can’t pretend we can fix everything overnight,” he said Saturday.

Worth Your Time

  • David Axelrod, prominent Democratic operative and longtime adviser to President Barack Obama, doesn’t think President Joe Biden’s interview with ABC News on Friday assuaged fears about the president’s mental fitness. By conceding he was distracted and not “in control” during the debate, Biden gave credence to the main Republican attack on him, Axelrod wrote for CNN’s website. “The stakes are as great as Biden describes. And if he believes it, as I think he does, he will eventually do what duty and love of country requires, and step aside. If he does not, it will be Biden’s age, and not Trump’s moral and ethical void, that will dominate the rest of this most important campaign and sully the president’s historic legacy.”
  • In his Notes from the Middle Ground Substack last week, Damon Linker published Part 2 of his conversation with Jonah about how to understand populism. “I said in my first reply that many of our political problems are American problems that manifest themselves differently on the left and right,” Jonah told Linker. “The surge in populism fits my thesis perfectly. I think historians will look at Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Parties as two sides of the same coin. Scholars have done a lot of work on the fact financial crises create populist upheavals that are more acute, broad, sudden, and long lasting than other economic drivers of populism like deindustrialization, outsourcing, etc.”

Presented Without Comment

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., on July 5, 2024: “My take on 9/11: It’s hard to tell what is a conspiracy theory and what isn’t. But conspiracy theories flourish when the government routinely lies to the public. As President I won’t take sides on 9/11 or any of the other debates.”

Also Presented Without Comment

Axios: How Biden’s Event Staffers Guide Him Behind the Scenes

For his events, President Biden’s staffers prepare a short document with large print and photos that include his precise path to a podium, according to an event template the White House sends to staffers.

… One template—a copy of which was obtained by Axios—is short and simple, with one large picture of the event space on each page, accompanied with big text such as: “View from podium,” and “View from audience.”

Also Also Presented Without Comment

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts, on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast

We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.

In the Zeitgeist 

In a U.S. vs. U.S. showdown on the grass at Wimbledon on Sunday, Emma Navarro, ranked 17th in the world, upset world No. 2 Coco Gauff in straight sets. But they still hugged it out at the end in what can only be described as a win-win for America. 

Toeing the Company Line

  • In perhaps our longest Dispatch Monthly Mailbag (🔒) yet, Steve answered your questions about everything from lessons learned in five years of The Dispatch, why he moved to Spain, and tolerance for unpleasant views—like those of Chicago sports fans. Members can click here to give it a read. 
  • In the newsletters: The Dispatch Politics crew checked in with No Labels in light of the Biden turmoil, Jonah explained (🔒) why Biden doesn’t deserve another presidential term, Nick unraveled (🔒) how Biden’s aides and top Democrats covered for Biden’s diminished capacity, Jonah weighed in on the Supreme Court’s presidential immunity decision in Trump v. United States, Chris examined how (🔒) Kamala Harris may fare against Donald Trump in a hypothetical general election, and Mustafa Akyol wrote in Dispatch Faith how the Enlightenment and religious values can work in tandem. 
  • On the podcasts: Steve and Jonah joined Sarah on The Dispatch Podcast roundtable to discuss Fourth of July traditions and Democrats’ political nightmare, Sarah and David dove back into the presidential immunity case on an extra long episode of Advisory Opinions, and Jonah ruminated on the Democratic Party and the Supreme Court’s presidential immunity decision. On today’s episode of The Dispatch Podcast, Jamie is joined by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer to discuss what it was like being swept up in the tsunami of lies surrounding the 2020 election.
  • On the site over the weekend: Cole dove into the mechanics of how Democrats could remove Biden from the ticket, Kevin explained why he thinks Kamala Harris ought to be the happiest person in the world, Dean Lockwood argued that the Boy Scouts of America hasn’t lost its itself amid recent reforms to include female members, TMD’s own Grayson Logue reviewed New York Times columnist Carlos Lozada’s latest book on political memoirs, and Guy Denton expressed his disappointment with A Quiet Place: Day One.
  • On the site today: Charles Fain Lehman writes about the perils of marijuana legalization and normalization and Drucker profiles North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, reportedly one of three finalists to serve as Donald Trump’s running mate.

Let Us Know

Do you expect Biden to drop out of the race this week? Would you be surprised if he does?

Mary Trimble is the editor of The Morning Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, she interned at The Dispatch, in the political archives at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), and at Voice of America, where she produced content for their French-language service to Africa. When not helping write The Morning Dispatch, she is probably watching classic movies, going on weekend road trips, or enjoying live music with friends.

Grayson Logue is the deputy editor of The Morning Dispatch and is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he worked in political risk consulting, helping advise Fortune 50 companies. He was also an assistant editor at Providence Magazine and is a graduate student at the University of Edinburgh, pursuing a Master’s degree in history. When Grayson is not helping write The Morning Dispatch, he is probably working hard to reduce the number of balls he loses on the golf course.

Peter Gattuso is a reporter for The Morning Dispatch, based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2024, he interned at The Dispatch, National Review, the Cato Institute, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. When Peter is not helping write TMD, he is probably watching baseball, listening to music on vinyl records, or discussing the Jones Act.

Aayush Goodapaty is an intern at The Dispatch, based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company for the 2024 summer, he worked as an intern with Illinois Policy Institute and Public Opinion Strategies. He’s an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, where he is majoring in economics and history. When Aayush is not helping write The Morning Dispatch, he is probably watching football, brushing up on trivia, or attempting to find his way to the nearest historical landmark.