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2024 U.S. Election of President and Vice President

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  • Inside the Trump Campaign’s Plan to Take Down Nikki Haley

    Nikki Haley’s decision to become the first Republican to jump into the 2024 race against Donald Trump has finally given the Trump campaign an official foe. And even if Haley has little interest in slamming Trump—four Trump advisers told The Daily Beast they think Haley’s presidential run is more about running for vice president—Trump’s campaign appears eager to slam Haley.

    With the former UN ambassador telegraphing her presidential announcement, the Trump campaign is champing at the bit to finally vanquish an enemy after a sleepy first few months. Those familiar with the discussions on how to handle Trump’s first 2024 primary opponent see Haley as a weak candidate offering the former president a chance to settle a score, as well as an opportunity to experiment with new tactics.

    Trump previewed that strategy last week when he posted on Truth Social that “Nikki has to follow her heart, not her honor. She should definitely run!”

    In Haley, Trump has a weak opponent he can easily dispense with. Polls have shown Haley polling around 3 percent, compared to Trump's 48 percent. A rival that Trump can crush early—like Alabama football going against Austin Peay in September—could allow Trump to show voters that he’s still a force in the GOP. However, there are two schools of thought about how Haley is most useful to Trump.

    Some in Trump’s orbit see a chance to bury Haley early and often, using her campaign like a crash test dummy to demonstrate Trump’s dominance for anyone else willing to step in. But Haley could also be useful in splitting the Republican primary vote and allowing Trump to cruise through the primaries with his strong base of voters who aren't going anywhere.

    Still, for others, Haley’s lack of a perceived threat will allow Trump to attempt something akin to “coalition building” during the primary.

    “In 2016, you come at the king, you’re gonna get wrecked,” an adviser who speaks with Trump told The Daily Beast. “In 2024, I think there’s going to be a different kind of Trump on display. He’ll be all 2016 on guys like DeSantis, but Haley, who had a respectful conversation with him? He will deal with her in a 2024 fashion.”

    What that looks like is largely predictable based on Haley’s decision to declare in 2021 that she wouldn’t challenge him in a run for president, only to shift course in the aftermath of Jan. 6.

    “They’ll definitely have a nickname for her,” the source close to Trump said. “He had a nickname for every one of his opponents in 2016, so that tactic—while some of his tactics have proven to be ineffective or people have learned to deal with him—the naming works.”

    Recurring themes—among four Trump operatives that spoke with The Daily Beast—included depicting Haley as “disloyal,” “a flip-flopper,” a war “hawk,” and backed by Wall Street. Another one that Trump himself has been briefed on is the allegation that Haley’s donors “have ties to China.”

    One GOP strategist described Haley as “the Carly Fiorina of 2024.”

    “Trump will lean in on her past liberal stances on Black Lives Matter, crime, and immigration that are very weak,” the strategist said, requesting anonymity to speak candidly about private conversations among GOP operatives about Haley. “He will also surely play up her political flip-flops and promising not to run, now that she is jumping in. Basically, he will paint her as just another politician who doesn’t believe anything and only wants power.”

    There are plenty of examples of Haley flip-flopping on her support of Trump.

    “Every time someone criticizes him, he goes and makes a political attack back. That’s not who we are as Republicans,” Haley declared back in 2015. “That’s not what we do.”

    Following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Haley also took aim at her former boss.

    “I think he’s going to find himself further and further isolated,” Haley told Politico Magazine. “I think he’s lost any sort of political viability he was going to have.”

    Multiple sources close to Trump also raised the prospect of Haley’s run being an audition for a Trump vice presidential slot.

    “There’s a significant number of us that think she wants to be vice president, and if she does, it makes sense,” the first source close to Trump said. “So in order to show your stuff, to show your mettle that you can be a solid partner on the national stage, that’s what you do.”

    “The race for VP starts now,” a second source close to Trump said.

    Trump administration alums have also shared that thinking publicly.

    “Nikki Haley is a self-centered politician. I think she’s seeing her shot, and she’s playing for VP,” former Trump body man John McEntee said on a local news broadcast last week. “She knows a Trump and DeSantis war is coming.”

    Likewise, former Trump White House communications associate turned failed congressional candidate Karoline Leavitt tweeted that McEntee’s assessment was “not wrong.”

    As The Daily Beast previously reported, there has been a move within Trumpworld to formulate an informal list of possible Trump vice presidential contenders. And while all the candidates on the list—including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and failed Arizona Gov. candidate Kari Lake—have taken to flattering Trump publicly, Haley’s thinking seems to go in the opposite direction.

    A spokesperson for Haley did not return a request for comment.

    Trump places a “premium on loyalty,” one of the previously mentioned sources close to Trump said, which would leave her far on the outside of VP conversations.

    Echoing sentiments expressed by operatives within Trump’s circle, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell—who speaks to Trump from time to time on the phone—said that Haley is “wasting her time!” “Everyone thinking of running against Donald Trump should just endorse him immediately,” he added.

    The first source close to Trump recalled a meeting during the 2016 transition where Trump first remarked on the possibility of a Haley White House bid.

    “All of us around Trump know that when she came for her final interview with the president to be United Nations ambassador, the president said, ‘Well this will set you up well to run for president,’” the first Trump adviser said. “She said, ‘Well maybe I’d be interested, but I’d never run against you, Mr. President. Never.’”

    “So, does Donald Trump thinks she’s being disloyal? Yes, he does,” the source close to Trump continued. “But the difference between her and DeSantis is she’s an ‘also-ran’. Donald Trump doesn’t need to fear her. He’s gonna toy with her.”

    Another source within Trump’s inner circle predicted Haley would call it quits “barely after Iowa.” But, such an estimate remains generous in Trumpworld; many others believe Haley won’t even make it that long.

    While The New York Times reported the Trump campaign has begun assembling a vast opposition research folder against DeSantis—predominantly filled with the Florida governor’s pro-vaccine remarks—one of the Trump sources said his campaign has put hardly the same effort toward generating a Haley file.

    When it comes to Trumpworld trial attacks on potential rivals, one person Trumpworld has kept a keen eye on is Newsmax host Greg Kelly. Kelly, a staunch Trump supporter, has aired monologues where he goes in against DeSantis and more recently aimed at Haley. Unlike other pro-Trump pundits that often struggle to carry out Trumpian attacks, Kelly has shown a knack for it.

    “This is Nikki Haley, and she thinks she can be president,” Kelly said of Haley last week, before calling her candidacy a “big, big, big mistake.” The Newsmax host queued up a clip from 2021 where Haley told a reporter that if Trump ran in 2024, she would support him.

    “How about that?” Kelly responded after he played the clip. “She’s doomed. Her candidacy is doomed right here. This clip. She can’t be a candidate for president.” Trump would go on to share the Kelly monologue on Truth Social.

    Others think she may not last that long, but it might be in the Trump campaign’s best interest for her not to sink right away—at least making it to when the voting starts in February 2024.

    “Anything over five is a crowded field,” one of the sources close to Trump said. “If it’s a crowded field, all Trump has to do is hold onto his base. And you know the Republican Party; we love a primary.”
    “You scare people badly enough, you can get 'em to do anything They'll turn to whoever promises a solution”


    • Trump shares photos of DeSantis alleging he partied and drank with high school girls when he was a teacher
      • Trump reshared a 20-year-old photo of DeSantis that appears to show him posing with recent high school graduates.
      • The original poster accused DeSantis of using alcohol for "grooming" high school girls.
      • Trump is ramping up his attacks against the Florida governor, who may challenge him for the 2024 GOP nomination.
      Former President Donald Trump reposted a photo on Tuesday of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that accused him of drinking alcohol with minors when he was a high school teacher.

      "That's not Ron, is it? He would never do such a thing!" Trump wrote sarcastically on his social media app, Truth Social.

      The picture shows a 23-year-old DeSantis smiling between three women with blurred out faces, whose ages aren't clear. One of the females in the photos is holding a brown glass bottle but DeSantis isn't pictured drinking. Still, the caption reads, "Here is Ron DeSantimonious grooming high school girls with alcohol as a teacher," followed by the vomit emoji.

      The original message Trump reshared was from a user named Dong-Chan Lee, whose Truth Social describes him as a "paleoconservative" and Trump supporter.

      The origin of the photo is Hill Reporter, a Democratic super PAC blog. The New York Times reported in November that the photo was taken after the 2001 to 2002 academic year that DeSantis spent as a teacher at the elite Darlington School before attending Harvard Law School.

      Darlington is a boarding school located in Rome, Georgia, where DeSantis coached baseball and football and taught history and government.

      Several students recalled DeSantis went to parties with the seniors, the New York Times said, citing anonymous sources. Two students recalled DeSantis attending two parties where alcohol was served, though they said it was after graduation. They reported they weren't bothered by it at the time, though they now questioned it, the report said.

      "It was his first job out of Yale, he was cute. We didn't really think too much about it," one of the former students said.

      Ahead of the gubernatorial election, Trump nicknamed DeSantis "DeSanctimonious," and said he thought it was "disloyal" for the governor to leave open the question of running for president given that Trump's 2018 gubernatorial endorsement helped him win the GOP nomination.

      The "grooming" accusation was intended as a hypocrisy attack against DeSantis, whose staff have accused those who oppose his contentious sex education bill critics dub "Don't Say Gay" of "grooming." The term "grooming" typically refers to pedophiles who try to gain the trust of their underage victims so they'll accept sexual assault without telling an adult.

      Trump, who does not drink alcohol, has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 26 different women. He has denied all the allegations.

      Trump famously ridiculed his opponents during the 2016 presidential election with vicious nicknames. He's now running for the 2024 GOP nomination. No one else has officially jumped into the field yet, but DeSantis consistently comes in second to Trump in polls.

      On Monday, the conservative think tank Club for Growth, which has a PAC and super PAC arm, published a poll predicting DeSantis could do even better. It found the governor held a nine-point lead in a hypothetical 2024 matchup against Trump.

      But it's not clear why Trump chose to lash out at DeSantis on Tuesday afternoon, and his campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry about it from Insider.

      Trump often shares his unfiltered thought on social media, grabbing headlines and distracting from other news. On Tuesday evening, President Joe Biden will give his State of the Union Address, and Trump plans to provide live analysis over Truth Social, he said.

      Earlier in the day, DeSantis held an event on defamation laws in which he praised a conservative lawyer who represented Dominion Voting Machines in its defamation lawsuit against Trump ally Mike Lindell. The MyPillow CEO lashed out against DeSantis on Twitter, but Trump himself didn't mention the roundtable.

      Instead, Trump reposted the photo of DeSantis and tore into the governor on other unrelated matters. They included a screenshot of a Tampa Bay Times story in which DeSantis said he was "glad" violent Trump protestors had been arrested after the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

      He also attacked DeSantis for voting with the majority of House members against a bill to fund his border wall when he was a state congressman in 2018. The bill included amnesty provisions and drew conservative opposition.

      Reached by Insider, the governor's political team declined to respond to the Trump attacks.

      Man, Trump went dirty fast!
      “You scare people badly enough, you can get 'em to do anything They'll turn to whoever promises a solution”


      • Ron DeSantis Is a Man Of No Qualities
        As Ron DeSantis provides safe harbor for oppression in Florida and exports bad policy across the country, it's clear that he represents an existential threat to American democracy—even if he fails to become president.

        After four years of punishing the people of Florida with actions largely meant to increase his personal power, Governor Ron DeSantis appears to be bringing his corrosive brand of politics to a presidential run. But DeSantis only looks like an even remotely reasonable or centrist candidate when viewed in a line-up between his gubernatorial predecessor Rick Scott and ex-U.S. catastrophe Donald Trump. That he sits comfortably between the two, accompanied by a host of extremists, should be cause for alarm, not suggestions that he is anything other than an authoritarian.

        While the slogan “Make America Florida” gains traction on bumper stickers and pundits debate DeSantis’ electability, DeSantis continues to plunge ahead with culture wars in schools that sunder communities, gaslight Floridians about the environment, and implement anti-scientific policies across life-or-death situations. But there is still—even after three years of a badly mishandled pandemic—nothing to apologize for, nothing to be accountable for, and nothing to be transparent about, to anyone.

        A Florida political system that has over the course of several Republican governors maximized voter suppression and gerrymandering has contributed to DeSantis’ unprecedented ability to centralize power in Florida and muffled most effective opposition. It is in this context of restricting voting rights, too, that disastrous policy decisions opposed by millions of Floridians have been portrayed as somehow not subpar, but superlative. In certain quarters, these policies are bally-hoo’d as a form of “freedom” and “liberty.”

        Just like destructive Republican governors before him feathered the nest for DeSantis's success by destroying safeguards and institutions—making it possible for DeSantis to become more predatory and authoritarian—Trump has set the table for DeSantis at the national level. Trump's coalition of white nationalists, conspiracy theorists, disgruntled rightwing journalists, and evangelicals now becomes how DeSantis, who otherwise might be unelectable, can see a path to the White House.

        With DeSantis’ explicit approval, the Republican-led Florida legislature has stamped out as much home rule as possible, continuing Scott’s legacy, and rendered cities and counties less able to govern effectively. This helps the special interests that fuel DeSantis’ campaigns, but does nothing for ordinary citizens.

        DeSantis’ unchecked power in the state is reflected in his ability to bully that same legislature into a redistricting that removed traditionally Black voting blocs, despite the legislature preferring a more moderate plan. That he worked with national operatives to push this effort to completion hints at the networks DeSantis already has access to, even before formally announcing a run for president.

        Where Scott, an austerity Republican, had not already retired or removed competency within state agencies during purges disguised as fiscal responsibility, DeSantis has continued to politicize as many positions as possible, removing vital experience from state agencies. As a feature, not a bug, of these actions, DeSantis has made many of these institutions much less transparent and accountable to Floridians.

        But DeSantis has crossed boundaries Scott only dreamed of breaching—including a shameless streak of political pay-to-play. A October 2022 Tampa Bay Times article revealed that “since assuming office in 2019, DeSantis has accepted roughly $3.3 million in campaign donations from 250 people he selected for leadership roles—a 75% increase in the number of donors appointed” over Scott’s first term in office.

        As DeSantis blurs the line between matters of state and his personal campaigns, he often talks about fighting the “corporate media” as a sop to his supporters, portraying himself as a modern-day American hero standing up for the common man (and, sometimes, woman). Yet his campaigns have largely been backed and supported by huge corporate conglomerates or elites.

        DeSantis’ recent efforts to remove a state’s attorney reelected by the voters and reappoint an extremist judge rejected by the voters demonstrate a willingness to keep pushing the legal limits of his authority, in pursuit of more centralized control of Florida. Blurring the lines between the governorship and his campaign, DeSantis celebrated his executive order suspending “woke” Hillsborough prosecutor Andrew Warren Marshall at a rally described as “campaign-like,” complete with cheering crowds. Internal communications from the governor’s office suggest DeSantis wanted a fight with a Democratic attorney, to further push the governor’s “woke war.”
        But what has DeSantis been successful at?

        Helping DeSantis is a personal media machine that includes Christina Pushaw, former press secretary, constantly on the attack on social media. Within DeSantis’s dismal inner circle of anti-vaxxers, big developers, and people who have been arrested, Christine Pushaw serves proudly as a kind of resurrected middle-school bully. Pushaw spends a lot of her time punishing journalists on social media, acting as if facts were hand grenades strapped to puppies. This coarsening of the discourse makes almost every issue in Florida a slow grind to move through, but also as gray and lifeless as a Brutalist trompe-l’oeil. There is also, in all of this, a trickle-down effect of local Florida politicians fearing Ron, using Ron as an excuse, acting like Ron or like Ron’s inner circle, employing Ron’s tactics, giving voice to his rhetoric, believing what they think Ron believes (making it reasonable), worshipping Ron’s success.

        But what has he been successful at?

        Ron DeSantis will tell Americans in his new book Courage to Be Free that his heart “was always for the people of Florida” and pay lip service to Florida’s rich history. He will paint himself, possibly into a corner, as a hero—a David to the Goliath of corporate media, even as he takes millions from huge corporations. He will tell you he is saving the Everglades, even though most of his promises remain unkept and the measures undertaken inadequate.

        DeSantis will likely exaggerate a military career that resulted in him receiving a Bronze star for classified duties during 2007-2008, only for him to leverage that honor by characterizing his service as a lawyer as indistinguishable from being a fighter pilot in ads for his 2022 campaign. Another DeSantis ad stated that God made DeSantis on the eighth day because, as God allegedly put it, “I need a protector.”

        Politically, DeSantis’ first job as a member of the House of Representatives (2012-2018) displayed more evidence of his allegiance to corporate interests than being “God’s defender” of ordinary Floridians. The League of Conservation Voters gave DeSantis a 2% rating for voting against clean water and air efforts, and for Big Agriculture—only pushing back against a Big Sugar provision in a Farm Bill. These votes presaged a governorship greenwashed by its second year, despite DeSantis anointing himself a new Teddy Roosevelt of conservation.

        Details about DeSantis’ military career may be sacrosanct, but recent insight into his stint as a high school teacher in Georgia provides a view of DeSantis that also undermines the idea of divine guidance. In addition to being “cocky and arrogant”—not traditional Christian values—DeSantis fraternized with students in an unprofessional way, made Black students uncomfortable with comments dismissive of slavery, and displayed “cruelty in humor” during a public prank in which he coerced a student to chug milk until the student vomited.

        And while national pundits applauded DeSantis’ hurricane response, what many Floridians saw was DeSantis in spotless wading boots delaying disaster relief for a photo op while wearing the tasteless advert of a reelection badge. Or DeSantis admonishing hypothetical looters as survivors worried about digging through the wreckage to find their dead. Or, even as Florida enjoyed record surpluses and still sometimes wearing his reelection swag, DeSantis establishing and stumping for a potentially fraught private nonprofit fund for the hurricane’s victims.

        This content is imported from twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

        But much worse still, in terms of disaster, DeSantis had already politicized the pandemic. COVID broke communities in Florida, even if some still do not know they were broken, or how broken. It left communities to fend for themselves, even in counties that tried to provide decent messaging, all while people we loved died or got sick, or got sick and died later.

        Into these horrors, DeSantis inserted a counterfactual surgeon general who did not believe in masks or vaccines, and punished businesses and school boards that tried to follow the facts by instituting local mask and vaccine mandates. A state-wide communication failure and full-on disinformation campaign arguably increased death and suffering–culminating in DeSantis’ call to establish a COVID jury to help justify his decisions. DeSantis used his messaging, and his proxies’ messaging, not just to push a political agenda rather than a public health agenda, but to break down political resistance at the same time. DeSantis, in part, built his political machine on making Florida sicker.

        Despite these discrepancies between image and substance, DeSantis will try to portray himself as a benevolent, successful man, “presidential” in the sense of not doing any of the things he has done as a politician. Helping that narrative will be his wife Casey DeSantis, who will provide the optics of a perfect family, scripted by a skilled media team. Her attire at her husband’s inauguration generated praise conjuring up the illusion of Jackie Kennedy, as cynically intended.

        But there’s no Camelot waiting at the end of a DeSantis presidential run. Along the way, we will be subjected to more manipulative optics and endure, insult to injury, the strained extended metaphors common to authoritarians, including the one at the heart of DeSantis’ inaugural speech: “In captaining the ship of state, we choose to navigate the boisterous sea of liberty rather than cower in the calm docks of despotism.”

        Normalization of cruelty matters. Normalization of authoritarianism matters. Normalization of Orwellian approaches to governance, anti-democratic to their core, matter. It is dangerous to let fascism become a concept that lazily yawns and breathes in the morning air, whistles a cheerful tune on the way to a café coffee and a breakfast sandwich, before getting down to the serious work. Thankful that, once more, it has not had to explain itself.
        It is dangerous to let fascism become a concept that lazily yawns and breathes in the morning air.

        The business of state, which for DeSantis is often the business of his own personal politics, will continue. His fifteen-week abortion ban may become even more restrictive and concealed carry of weapons without a permit is back on the legislative agenda. In addition to a brutal campaign of suppression of queer identity, DeSantis has supported his crusade against Critical Race Theory (CRT) by trying to destroy New College with extremist (and incompetent) board appointees, and by sending a letter to all public universities asking for information on their race and diversity teachings—even as professors quit rather than subject themselves to censorship. CRT allows far-right Republicans to combine a strawman with a bogeyman in pursuit of the perfect bogus woke war, while the demonization makes it hard for colleges to effectively serve their students.

        DeSantis may be less flamboyant than Trump, but he supports a style and substance of governance just as inflammatory. He weaponizes others’ emotions to create an image of himself as imbued with the qualities of some quasi-religious savior of Florida while actually making people’s lives worse. He then, over and over again, continues to inflame the discourse so the sleight of hand that is his charisma doesn’t gutter out—because the issue contains the igniting ember, not anything in DeSantis’ personality.

        What this means for a DeSantis presidential campaign is unclear, despite pundits doing what they do best: throwing civilized barbaric yawps into the void and hoping the echo that comes back is the future. The chaotic DeSantis style of “governance,” from which it is difficult to pivot to whatever center remains, has only two clear benefits: it gives DeSantis more state control and more national media coverage.

        The most memorable description of DeSantis at the beginning of his turn to the far right came from Nate Monroe of the Jacksonville Times-Union, who wrote that Florida’s “mad king” was “sinking ever deeper into strange and dark fever dreams.” Monroe was referring to DeSantis’ “Darwinian COVID-19 herd immunity experiment,” hiring of COVID conspiracy theorists, and as the pandemic raged, a crackdown on nonviolent Black Lives Matters protestors in the state by expanding “Stand Your Ground” laws to absolve motorists driving into marchers. (In 2022, this law would be condemned by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of on Racial Discrimination.)
        This is the Ron DeSantis of Florida, who wants to become the Ron DeSantis of America.

        In the end, it may not matter whether DeSantis is a “mad king,” a cipher like Rick Scott, an ideologue, an oligarch, an autocrat, or a rather ordinary politician in the right place at the right time. The effects of DeSantis’ actions remain the same, while in his rhetoric he often takes the term “bully pulpit” as literally as possible.

        Florida and its people don’t deserve this desecration—no place does, even as DeSantis and his Republican predecessors have managed to turn an absolute paradise into a place that is close to a failed state. Because what Ron DeSantis does, at base—including to his base—is simple. He inflicts damage in pursuit of political gain. On purpose and with abandon and with no regard for collateral harm.

        What trickles down, then, in the end, along with all of this “freedom,” is nepotism, corruption, cruelty, greed, and—both by design and as a byproduct of all the rest—shockingly bad ideas about governance.

        Why would you want any of this inflicted on the nation?

        This is the Ron DeSantis of Florida, who wants to become the Ron DeSantis of America. To tell us to our dying day that we are not communities of loving grace and communion, that we are not all connected, that acts of loving kindness are for fools and traitors. To tell us that only some of us matter, not all of us.

        Maybe, in the end, if we do not heed the warnings, DeSantis will tell us, in a thousand lacerating ways, direct and indirect… that none of us matter.
        “You scare people badly enough, you can get 'em to do anything They'll turn to whoever promises a solution”


        • This son of a bitch scares me. He is a competent Trump. If there is anything I am hopefully about the Trump wing...hell, majority of voting Republicans is he will get ground done by the Trump MAGA Machine
          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
          Mark Twain


          • Two questions:

            1) One on one who wins between DeSantis vs Trump? Because I don’t know

            2) Why is age a big deal for Democrats with Biden but not with Republicans with Trump who is almost the same age?


            • Originally posted by statquo View Post
              Two questions:

              1) One on one who wins between DeSantis vs Trump? Because I don’t know

              2) Why is age a big deal for Democrats with Biden but not with Republicans with Trump who is almost the same age?
              1) America and the world win.
              2) Because cult leaders' ages don't matter.
              Trust me?
              I'm an economist!


              • Originally posted by statquo View Post
                1) One on one who wins between DeSantis vs Trump? Because I don’t know
                To quote General Erich Fellgiebel in the movie Valkyrie...

                Donald Trump will pull Ron DeSantis (and his wife) apart like warm bread. All other things being equal of course.

                DeSantis has the correct strategy at the moment for dealing with a malignant narcissist like Trump: Ignore him. Don't feed the troll. Starve the fire of fuel.

                But Trump has gone really dirty, really early in the game...and it could be because of DeSantis ignoring him. So the next play was obvious: Hurl some shit at DeSantis that DeSantis -or his supporters- can't ignore.

                Originally posted by statquo View Post
                2) Why is age a big deal for Democrats with Biden but not with Republicans with Trump who is almost the same age?
                About a year ago, I was talking with a now-former friend that's been a true-blue (red?) Kool-Aid drinking Trumper, but also still capable of extremely inciteful observations.

                He unashamedly said that he doesn't want to Trump to run for that very reason: It deprives conservatives of their most potent club with which to beat Biden over the head with: He's old.

                (I was rather amused that he figured that sort of blatant hypocrisy would somehow deprive Trump's followers and apologists of any club with which to beat Biden or the libz over the head with)

                So, they are aware of Trump's age, some of them painfully aware, others only slightly embarrassed by it. However, if it comes down to Trump vs Biden again, they simply won't care. My former friend also made that clear: If Trump is the nominee, he will salute the MAGA flag and volunteer for the Trump Campaign. But he is now all-in on Ron DeSantis.

                So, what are DeSantis' chances for 2024?

                Something that pundits have observed pretty consistently: Ron DeSantis is currently an unstoppable hero here in his own little self-made autocracy (AKA the State of Florida) but he has yet to step out onto the national stage, and he lacks Trump's charisma and charm.

                This is true enough, but I suspect that a growing majority of conservatives have had enough of Trump's "colorful" character and very much want to move onto someone who doesn't brag about sexually assaulting women, doesn't cheat on every woman he's married with porn stars etc etc. In other words, an model conservative family man with an adoring and obedient Stepford Wife. That's Ron DeSantis.

                Conservatives got what they wanted out of Trump (overturning Roe Vs Wade and remaking the SCOTUS with right-wing fundamentalists) but I suspect they're disappointed that he didn't do more. Sure they console themselves with their "Promises Made, Promises Kept" list of Trump's executive orders, but he could have easily done far more legislatively and enshrined far more cherished principles into law. For instance, a federal law that prevents all abortion, regardless of the reason, regardless of the progression of the pregnancy.

                My prediction: Unless outside events* upset the applecart, the already ongoing low intensity MAGA civil war will explode into a metaphorical bloodbath and Trump will ultimately emerge the victor. Much of Cult45 may want to move beyond Trump but he's not about to let that happen. His megalomania and desperate need for the legal immunities of the presidency won't allow for that.

                *Criminal charges for Trump from GA and the DoJ might prove too distracting for Trump to run, which what most of the Republican Party hierarchy has been on their knees praying for.
                “You scare people badly enough, you can get 'em to do anything They'll turn to whoever promises a solution”


                • DeSantis Preps 2024 Bid Behind Scenes While Waiting to Declare

                  (Bloomberg) -- Governor Ron DeSantis is actively preparing a run for president in 2024, even as he delays a formal announcement to keep Republican voters’ attention on his aggressively conservative record in Florida, according to people familiar with the plans.

                  Behind the scenes, DeSantis and his tight-knit team of advisers are interviewing national consultants to work on a presidential campaign. A retreat for roughly 150 donors, GOP leaders and lawmakers is planned for the final weekend in February at a hotel in Palm Beach, where DeSantis will tout his record as governor.

                  Aides are speaking to and vetting operatives in early states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, who could oversee on-the-ground operations and ensure the campaign meets every requirement to qualify for the primaries, and his allies are starting to stand up a super-PAC to support his nascent candidacy, according to two people briefed on the plans.

                  Many of the core staffers who ran his 2022 gubernatorial race are expected to sign onto his presidential race. DeSantis’s press team didn’t respond to a request for comment.

                  With much of the Republican billionaire and millionaire set increasingly wary of Donald Trump, donors such as Ken Griffin of Citadel and Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone Group Inc. have indicated they won’t support the former president financially. The donors want a GOP candidate with many of the same policy prescriptions yet more discipline.

                  “There is no reason for DeSantis to get in right now. He’s got name ID and the ability to raise money,” said Mike DuHaime, the former top strategist for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s campaigns and former political director for the Republican National Committee. “It clearly drives Trump crazy because he needs someone to fight with.”

                  Trump has already started to attack his Florida rival. He has nicknamed him “Ron DeSanctimonious” and posted a photo of him to social media as young teacher at a private school surrounded by female students.

                  DeSantis was asked at the recent press conference whether Trump’s Truth Social posts of that photo could be defamatory. He said he’s faced “defamatory stuff every single day I’ve been governor” but that he has a platform to fight back.

                  Despite the increasing back-and-forth between the two, DeSantis isn’t expected to declare his candidacy until late spring or early summer once the state legislature session ends.

                  The Republican primary has gotten off to a slow start, with Trump as the only official candidate so far.

                  Former South Carolina Governor and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is expected to announce her run on Feb 15. Several other Republicans are trying to woo donors and gage voters’ interest, including former Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Tim Scott, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.

                  Polls show DeSantis and Trump as the clear frontrunners with no other potential candidates generating the same level of excitement. A new Monmouth University poll showed both Trump and DeSantis garnering 33% of Republican and GOP-leaning voters.

                  Early Edge

                  In a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, DeSantis out-polled Trump 53% to 40%, beating the former president among every sub-category of voters — including those considered evangelicals and strong or moderate Republicans — except those earning less than $50,000 a year and those 65 and older.

                  “Both Trump and DeSantis are well-liked by the party’s rank and file, but it’s likely that voter opinion of Trump is more firmly set than it is for DeSantis right now,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement. “The unknown factor is whether DeSantis can maintain this early edge if and when he gets on the campaign trail.”

                  Democrats argue DeSantis may wilt under the increased scrutiny that comes with running for president from the national media and from meeting thousands of voters across Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. While trying to paint DeSantis as yet another extreme Republican, they haven’t settled on the best line of attack.

                  But they worry publicly that his age — he’s 44 — and experience as governor would make him a formidable opponent for President Joe Biden, 80.

                  The Dems are right to be worried about DeSantis. He's got everything that conservatives want and virtually none of the baggage. I suspect his abysmal campaigning and "press the flesh" skills won't matter, just as Trump's moral cesspool didn't.
                  “You scare people badly enough, you can get 'em to do anything They'll turn to whoever promises a solution”


                  • Originally posted by statquo View Post
                    1) One on one who wins between DeSantis vs Trump? Because I don’t know
                    DeSantis will win. As Republicans proved in 2016, what they want most is to win. Enough will vote for him, but it could be a bloody primary. Trump has no limits & no shame (see yesterday's accusation of DeSantis grooming schoolkids).

                    2) Why is age a big deal for Democrats with Biden but not with Republicans with Trump who is almost the same age?
                    Biden seems more obviously slowed down than Trump, and Republicans stopped caring about Trump's competence before they elected him. Dems are worried that Biden's age may impact his electability. GOPers who are worried about Trump focus more on the million other things that make him unelectable.

                    The Dems problem is that Biden is the incumbent and there aren't a lot of obvious alternatives even if he does choose not to run. If he wants to run they have to hope Trump gets the nod, because DeSantis can beat him. Harris is also a concern. She is easier to ditch, but still very messy.


                    Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C


                    • DeSantis will win. As Republicans proved in 2016, what they want most is to win. Enough will vote for him, but it could be a bloody primary. Trump has no limits & no shame (see yesterday's accusation of DeSantis grooming schoolkids).
                      If he wants to run they have to hope Trump gets the nod, because DeSantis can beat him. Harris is also a concern. She is easier to ditch, but still very messy.
                      of course, if Trump decides he's not gonna be the loyal GOP flagbearer after losing to DeSantis, he could very well tank DeSantis out of pure spite by simply telling his dedicated followers to stay home..

                      There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


                      • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                        The Dems are right to be worried about DeSantis. He's got everything that conservatives want and virtually none of the baggage. I suspect his abysmal campaigning and "press the flesh" skills won't matter, just as Trump's moral cesspool didn't.
                        Have to portray him for what he is a fascist leaning authoritarian and racist. He is simply the George Wallace of 2024.


                        • Originally posted by astralis View Post
                          of course, if Trump decides he's not gonna be the loyal GOP flagbearer after losing to DeSantis, he could very well tank DeSantis out of pure spite by simply telling his dedicated followers to stay home..
                          We're not that lucky.



                          • Gone Insanest, our local Trump replacement-wannabe, has been outed for asking the convention center to ban handguns from his post-election victory celebration.
                            Convention center:
                            Nope. Under your Florida law, we don't have the right to do that, unless the people
                            renting out the convention center ask us to. Are you asking us to?
                            Team Insanity:
                            Well, Yes and No. Yes, we want you to ban handguns from our event.
                            But, no, No, NO, don't ever let anyone know that it was us that asked it of you.
                            Take one for the team.
                            Convention center:
                            Sorry, that's on you.
                            Trust me?
                            I'm an economist!


                            • Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

                              Have to portray him for what he is a fascist leaning authoritarian and racist. He is simply the George Wallace of 2024.
                              There's certainly a reason he's known as Ron DeFascist. His supporters of course are quick to bleat back "Name ONE fascist thing he's done!!"

                              Oh I dunno, while making the banning of books much easier for school districts - and making specific recommendations for such treatment - is usually a good start, it's hardly the end of the story.
                              “You scare people badly enough, you can get 'em to do anything They'll turn to whoever promises a solution”


                              • Haley makes risky bet as she prepares to take on Trump
                                Nikki Haley is poised to take a leap into the unknown next week when she becomes the first Republican to challenge former President Trump for the GOP’s 2024 nod.

                                It’s a role that few other Republicans are eager to fill, given Trump’s penchant for trying to humiliate any of his political opponents, real or perceived. But Haley’s allies say that she has a unique lane in a potentially crowded GOP primary field that could help her cut through the noise, especially at a time when many Republicans are wavering on Trump’s candidacy.

                                “Nikki’s had some tough races, and she’s used to running against the gold standard,” said Katon Dawson, a former chair of the South Carolina Republican Party who is backing Haley.

                                “There’s a lane in there for an anti-Trump. There’s a lane in there to be successful. And I think there’s a lane in there for Nikki Haley,” he added. “She’s always been able to deliver a message and raise the money to have it heard.”

                                Of course, she’s also likely to run into some stiff challenges. Trump still maintains a solid base of support within the party. And while he hasn’t jumped into the race yet, early polling shows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as the person best positioned to challenge the former president next year. Haley, meanwhile, is pulling only a fraction of their support.

                                The race could also eventually pit Haley against a fellow South Carolinian, Sen. Tim Scott (R), who is believed to be weighing a 2024 campaign of his own.

                                “I think Nikki Haley and Tim Scott will be vying for the same set of voters in a lot of ways,” said Danielle Vinson, a professor of politics and international affairs at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. “Both of them are less volatile than the Trump-DeSantis sort of candidates. They’re much more diplomatic, polite people — both of them.”

                                “I think they’d be competing primarily for those folks that were not happy with the drama of the Trump years that want to do something besides just fight culture wars,” she added.

                                But for now, at least, many Republican voters — and especially the party’s ultra-conservative base — are still showing a willingness to embrace Trump’s pugilistic style, even if they’re not as keen as they once were on the former president.

                                DeSantis, for instance, has built his national reputation by picking political fights with everyone from federal health officials to the media and Disney. One Republican strategist who is supporting Haley’s presidential bid conceded that it may be difficult for her to stand out in a GOP primary.

                                “She’s somebody that wants to study and understand an issue. She’s not really flashy like some of the others,” the strategist said. “And look, for me, I love that about her. But I still think there’s the question of how to break through when there are people like Trump and DeSantis sucking up all the oxygen in the room.”

                                But, that strategist added, “that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a lane in this thing.”

                                “I think that, look, there’s at least a contingency of the Republican Party that wants a clear voice and wants to see some generational change. I mean, between Trump and [President] Biden, we’ve just had two of the oldest presidents in history. So look, she’s smart, she’s talented. No one should write her off.”

                                Other Republicans floated Haley as a potential running mate for the eventual nominee, suggesting that her coming presidential bid could be a way for her to raise her profile.

                                “If she’s not trying to angle for a vice president slot, I don’t see a path with both Trump and DeSantis in the race,” Naughton said. “I just don’t get the sense that Haley — or anyone else for that matter — is really emerging as a real competitive force.”

                                Other Republicans push back against the notion she’s running for vice president, pointing to her running as the underdog in past races.

                                “She’s always been somebody in every race that she’s run, whether it was for statehouse or governor or even when she was made U.N. ambassador, people kind of second guessed and said this person doesn’t have a chance,” said Alex Stroman, former executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party. “I don’t think that Nikki Haley would want to get into the race if she truly wanted to sit around and become vice president.”

                                Haley is slated to make stops in the battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire in the coming weeks.

                                “Once Nikki Haley really gets out there and starts running and is meeting with voters and those numbers start to change, I have no doubt that the former president will try and hit her, and hit her hard if he views her as a threat,” Stroman said.

                                But it may be DeSantis who has the most to lose from a Haley candidacy. A Yahoo News-YouGov survey released earlier this week showed that in a hypothetical three-way match-up between Haley, DeSantis and Trump, Haley could draw support away from the Florida governor and give Trump an edge.

                                According to the poll, Haley brings in 11 percent support from Republicans and Republican-leaners, while DeSantis comes in with 35 percent and Trump with 38 percent. Conversely, in a Trump-DeSantis match-up, the Florida governor leads the former president 45 percent to 41 percent.

                                “She has been very smart in the way that she’s navigating this to not alienate [Trump] or some of his supporters, of which there are many that are really diehard about him,” Stroman said, noting her work to maintain relationships with Trump and those in his orbit.

                                Other candidates’ expected entries into the race could further change the dynamic, and Trump has already begun to hit Haley, labeling her as “overly ambitious” last week.

                                At the moment, most attention appears to be on the brewing battle between Trump and DeSantis as the latter prepares his own presidential bid.

                                “From this viewpoint of the media, I think that the idea behind this Trump-DeSantis fight is much more appealing,” Stroman said.

                                Meanwhile, Haley will reintroduce herself to voters ahead of next year’s contests having last served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.

                                “She effectively has not been in a public position in some time,” Stroman said, adding that she will “remind voters of background and success at navigating and leading a state like South Carolina and her success at leading for America on the world stage.”

                                Haley, for her part, has signaled that she’s heading into her campaign with the intention of winning the nomination. In an interview with Fox News last month, Haley noted that she’s never lost an election and had no plans to do so now.

                                “I’ve never lost a race,” she said. “I said that then, I still say that now. I’m not going to lose now.”

                                Yeeeeah, I'm gonna predict a train wreck (at best) or a damp squib.
                                “You scare people badly enough, you can get 'em to do anything They'll turn to whoever promises a solution”