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2024 US election vocab: Dobbs dads, lawfare, Fetterman Democrats

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April 16, 2024
Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Every U.S. national election, a cottage industry of strategists, pollsters and organizers craft brand-new words and phrases to describe the mood of American voters and the politicking aimed at influencing them. 

LA Post: 2024 US election vocab: Dobbs dads, lawfare, Fetterman Democrats

From the 2000 election's "Nader traders" (ask a Generation X voter) to 2004's "Swift Boating," to the 2008 "Obama coalition," these terms provide a sort of snapshot of the U.S., illuminating unique, often temporary phenomena related to the battle to lead the world's most powerful democracy. 

This year is no exception. Here are some terms you need to know:

BANNON LINE: First coined during the 2020 election cycle, in response to a comment made by political strategist and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, the Bannon Line is being invoked heavily in 2024. It describes the path in which a Democratic candidate could defeat former President Donald Trump if a certain threshold of Republican voters did not support Trump. 

"It's clear to me that the Bannon Line has grown. It's no longer 6-7%; it can be as much as 20-25% so far of people who voted in the Republican primaries," a Democratic strategist said in an interview.  

DOBBS DADS: Fathers of girls or young women who may have traditionally voted Republican, but who Democrats think will switch parties in November out of concern about their daughters' reproductive rights after the Supreme Court's Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision. That ruling overturned the constitutional right to have an abortion and ushered in a string of restrictive state abortion measures.      

The Supreme Court decision is a big factor motivating not only women voters, but also fathers of girls - the "Dobbs dads" who worry about the decisions their daughters would face when they grow up - Rick Wilson, a former Republican strategist and co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, told reporters in Iowa earlier this year.

FETTERMAN DEMOCRATS: Democrats who distance themselves from the party's progressive and moderate flanks, offering unpredictable policy positions that are often rooted in populist politics. The term was inspired by first-term U.S. Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania.

"A lot of local Democrats at the local level are embracing being a 'Fetterman Democrat," said one political adviser. "Fetterman has really given them political cover to speak their minds and not be beholden to any orthodoxy."

LAWFARE: The strategic use of legal proceedings to intimidate or hinder an opponent, not to be confused with Lawfare Media, a popular national security-focused website. 

Trump, his supporters and right-wing media, have increasingly claimed the Democrats are engaged in lawfare against the Republican presidential candidate, who faces multiple criminal cases. "All of this weaponization and lawfare that you're watching ... they're being run by the DOJ, they put their people in there" Trump said in a video released in April.

NO-NO VOTERS: Voters who have a negative view of both Trump and Democratic President Joe Biden.

The "no-no" voter chunk of the electorate "is really broad and really diverse" this election, one strategist said.

No-no voters have also been referred to as "double haters."   

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly, Andrea Shalal, Alexandra Ulmer, andJarrett Renshaw; Writing by Heather Timmons; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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