The under-the-radar issues that could shake up 2024

Former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who is now director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics:

“I think if you’re looking for the one issue that could potentially cut a lot of different ways, it’s education. I think education is undervalued. You saw it being a big issue in Virginia, parents’ participation, but none of these people want people to ban books. So it’s going to be what these conservative state legislators are doing with the help of politicians in Washington who amplify those messages.

“It’s not just going to be parental involvement. It’s going to be transgender issues. It’s going to be the issues of banning books.”

Tresa Undem, a pollster for progressive causes and whose clients have included Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club and Time’s Up:

“Any issue that relates in some way to race or to gender is going to be a big deal,” especially as it pertains to border issues or crime. “If you look at what’s happening at the border, it’s about race more than security. … If you look at white voters and ask how they feel about safety, it almost always has little to do with safety. It’s about whether they support Black Lives Matter.”

David Axelrod, former adviser to Barack Obama:

“I don’t know that this is under the radar, but it is evolving. I think the state of the economy, whether we have or don’t have a recession in 2024, I think is a big factor.

“The challenge with presidential politics is that, we had no idea when we began in January of 2007 that by the time September of 2008 rolled around, the country would be hurtling into a mortgage crisis, and the economy was going to collapse. … There are real concerns because we’re due for a recession, and if it hits at the wrong time, it can have deleterious effects for the incumbent.”

Lis Smith, senior adviser to Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign:

“None of us were thinking about a global pandemic at this time [ahead of the 2020 election], so I think it’s probably something we have no idea about.”

Marc Elias, a voting rights attorney who also served as Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer:

“States not having the resources and the people to administer elections. … We’re seeing all around the country good people driven out of the process of election administration. … If you don’t have enough people to run elections, you can’t open polling locations and you can’t mail absentee ballots. So, I worry about the machinery of elections being negatively impacted by a target against election officials and against adequate funding of elections.”

Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger:

“World events and geopolitical issues.”

Tom Bonier, a Democratic political strategist and CEO of TargetSmart:

“There are certain issues that Republicans will try to make more salient. The playbook that they ran successfully in 2021, especially in Virginia — freedom, family and school choice — and they thought they could use in 2022 and Dobbs wiped it out. Republicans are taking great pains to bring it back on the radar. We’ll see how successful they are. It’s the repetition of ‘wokeism.’…

“Ukraine could also become more elevated, but I’m not sure it’s likely because there’s still a majority in the Republican Party that supports what the president is doing there. So that’s one to watch.”

Benjamin Gibson of the Election Official Legal Defense Network

“Depending on the results, both sides attack the credibility of the election, and that has long-term really deleterious effects on the country.”

Brenda Gianiny, a Republican pollster and founding principal of Axis Research

“I don’t think we know yet. I don’t think we’re seeing it.”

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