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2024 U.S. Election of President and Vice President

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  • Trump and Putin Are in Deep Trouble and Need Each Other More Than Ever

    Times are tough for both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Since they are two of the world’s most repulsive and dangerous people, that might be considered good news.

    But, not so fast. Because there is one thing that can save Trump from the dark realities of legal accountability—and it happens to also be the only thing that is likely to turn the tide in Putin’s disastrous war in Ukraine. That is the reelection of Donald Trump.

    Once again the interests of Trump and Putin are aligned, but this time the stakes for both are much higher than they were in 2016. That should worry us all. It should worry us a lot.

    Worse still, there are others for whom the 2024 election is of existential importance. It includes Trump’s close allies—who may face jail unless Trump is reelected and can pardon them. It includes extremists and their allies—who also see a Trump victory as a get out of jail (or avoid jail) free card. It includes advocates of MAGA wingnut policy views, for whom four more years of Joe Biden appointing rational jurists could undo many of their initiatives subjugating women, criminalizing love and identity within the LGBTQ community, and impeding the ability of voters to participate in a democracy they would like to see weakened or done away with altogether.

    There are still others for whom the stakes are high, if not quite existential. These include countries that have thrown in their lot with Trump. (The disgraced former president’s business ties to these are now reportedly an investigative target of special counsel Jack Smith.)

    It also, of course, includes politicians in the U.S. who have declared their loyalty to His Roiled MAGAsty himself and whose political fates are likely to mirror his.

    Taken together they will be an unholy alliance that poses a real threat to next year’s elections being fair, while also increasing the likelihood that the results of next year’s elections will be contested in ways that may make the Jan. 6 insurrection (and Trump’s nationwide false electors campaign) seem mild by comparison.

    You can see the situations of both Trump and Putin’s fiasco in Ukraine getting more dire daily.

    His New York hush money trial now has a start date, Mar. 25, 2024. Smith is reportedly putting the finishing touches on his conclusion regarding the president’s alleged mishandling of classified documents. He’s also looking into Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection and has expanded the ambit of their inquiry to look at possible wrong-doing associated with Trump fund-raising. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has signaled that any charges in the case she might bring regarding election interference by Trump and/or his allies are just around the corner, due in the first three weeks of August. More charges may come from other states on election fraud. And the verdict against Trump in the defamation case brought by E. Jean Carroll may be compounded as she expands her claims in a second, related case.

    As for Putin, while he has declared “victory” in the battle for Bakhmut, it has come at an enormous cost to his military. It is unlikely that his forces will be able to hold the smoldering remnants of the devastated city for much longer. What is more, the U.S. and allies have agreed to provide Ukraine with advanced F-16 fighters and the training needed to fly them. Ukrainian “militia” have also launched attacks across Russia’s border.

    Russia’s military is depleted. Putin has effectively committed his entire conventional force to Ukraine…where it is getting pummeled. A major Ukrainian offensive is expected to commence soon. Even one of his former buddies, Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigrozhin, has said that Putin could face a revolution at home and defeat in Ukraine if Putin doesn’t turn things around—which seems unlikely.

    Prigozhin, of course, played a central role in helping to aid Putin in his efforts to compromise U.S. elections in 2016. He even admitted it publicly. Whatever reasons Putin may have had for trying to help get Trump elected in 2016, they are clearly much greater today. And whatever reasons Trump may have had for running, they too are transcended by those he has right now.

    With so many trials and such serious crimes being discussed, the odds that Trump faces not only conviction but possible jail time, may make delaying the trials and verdicts until he can win the election his only defense. And it is clear he will try anything in that regard, from whining on social media that the New York case has been brought to interfere with his campaigning, to revealing himself to be MAGA’s true Karen-in-chief with a letter whining about his mistreatment and asking for an audience with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland so he could make his feelings known to “the manager.”

    As for Putin, his last chance to turn his epic blunder in Ukraine into something he can claim is a success is also a Trump victory. Trump, during his CNN pep rally, made it clear he does not see Ukraine as a special ally of the U.S. and he won’t condemn Putin war crimes.

    Putin critics have already demonstrated they view Trump as Putin’s “best hope.” (During the CNN event, Trump also refused to say he would accept 2024 election results.)

    So here we are again, only moreso. Trump needs Putin. Putin needs Trump. They have plenty of cronies and bad actors and fellow travelers who need them both. Which is why this is a moment to prepare for the shape their collaboration might take.

    Unfortunately, dangerously, this is also the moment that Trump’s GOP is once again promoting the lie that Trump never colluded with Russia. This time, they are seizing upon the recent report by Special Counsel John Durham to say that it “proves” that the whole Trump-Russia affair was, as Trump so often asserted, “a hoax.”

    Of course, it said nothing of the sort. In fact, it was a big nothingburger that offered a mild critique of the FBI…without actually even saying the FBI shouldn’t have investigated Trump and Russia.

    And we know that every investigation conducted in the past—including those by the intelligence community, the U.S. Senate, and special counsel Robert Mueller—indicated that Russia actively intervened in 2016 to help Trump. In fact, the intelligence community also concluded Russia tried to help Trump in 2020.


    Putin has proven he will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. Trump has done the same.

    Given the intersection of their interests in 2024, and the profound urgency with which both see a Trump election as essential, now is the time to mobilize to anticipate, identify, and stop both foreign and domestic interference in our upcoming election—and potential initiatives to undo the results of those elections.

    That is why it is so essential not to shrug off the misinformation about the Durham report as just more spin. It is precisely the kind of effort to convince us to drop our guard that serves the interests of the enemies of our democracy. It is also why efforts to hold Trump accountable must proceed unimpeded by the elections that Trump sees as his best legal strategy.

    Finally, it is why the administration needs to make it clear that it is preparing for whatever may come and that whenever threats are seen, they are stopped as early as possible.

    No election in our history has been either more important or more imperiled. We have plenty of evidence to support that view. Now, we must act on that evidence with unwavering resolve.
    ________
    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

    Comment


    • Trump Looks Like He Will Get the 2024 Crowd He Wants


      Former U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the Pro-Am tournament ahead of the LIV Golf Invitational at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, U.S. May 25, 2023.

      The rapidly ballooning field, combined with Trump’s seemingly unbreakable core of support, represents a grave threat to DeSantis, imperiling his ability to consolidate the non-Trump vote, and could mirror the dynamics that powered Trump’s takeover of the party in 2016.

      It’s a matter of math: Each new entrant threatens to steal a small piece of DeSantis’ potential coalition — whether it be Pence with Iowa evangelicals or Scott with college-educated suburbanites. And these new candidates are unlikely to eat into Trump’s votes. The former president’s base — more than 30% of Republicans — remains strongly devoted to him.

      “President Trump — he should go to the casino, he’s a lucky guy,” Dave Carney, a veteran Republican strategist based in New Hampshire, said of the former casino owner, Trump.

      “It’s a gigantic problem” for DeSantis, added Carney, who has worked on past presidential campaigns, because “whatever percentage they get makes it difficult for the second-place guy to win because there’s just not the available vote.”

      Trump’s advisers have almost gleefully greeted each successive entry as part of a divide-and-conquer strategy that his team has spoken about since 2021. And many of the candidates seem more comfortable throwing punches at DeSantis than at Trump.

      The DeSantis campaign sees the landscape differently.

      “We don’t believe it’s 2016 again,” Ryan Tyson, a senior adviser to DeSantis, said in an interview.

      And in a private briefing for donors this week, Tyson described a Republican electorate split into three parts: 35% as “only Trump” voters, 20% as “never Trump” and the remaining 45% as the DeSantis sweet spot.

      Tyson told donors, in audio that was leaked and published online, that every entrant besides the two front-runners were isolated in the “never Trump” segment. “If your name is not Ron DeSantis or Donald Trump, you are splitting up this share of the electorate,” he said.

      In the months leading up to his campaign launch, DeSantis and his allies framed the 2024 primaries as a two-man race. But as he has stumbled in recent months, amid questions about his personality and political dexterity, rivals have become emboldened. And some have the cash to stay relevant deep into the primary calendar.

      Scott entered the race with nearly $22 million on hand, and he raised $2 million more in his first day as a candidate. The wealthy, little-known governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum, now sees a 2024 opening, filming ads recently to prepare for an imminent campaign, according to two people involved in the planning.

      Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur, has invested $10 million of his own money in his campaign. Like DeSantis, Ramaswamy sells a similar anti-woke sentiment, but he does so with the charm of a natural communicator.

      Trump has welcomed the non-DeSantis entrants to the race. In January, when Nikki Haley, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, called to tell him she planned to run, Trump did not rant about her disloyalty, as some had expected. He sounded unbothered, telling her to “do what you’ve got to do,” according to two people briefed on their conversation.

      And in the days leading up to Scott’s announcement, Trump was watching Fox News in his Mar-a-Lago office when he said, “I like him. We’re just going to say nice things about Tim,” according to a person familiar with his private comments.

      The conventional wisdom at the beginning of the year was that the field would be relatively small, perhaps as few as five people running. Republican anti-Trump donors were working to thin the herd to prevent a repeat of the divided field that guaranteed Trump’s victory in 2016. Now, after DeSantis’ early stumbles, there will likely be as many as 10 candidates competing for attention and vying for the debate stage.

      For DeSantis, the squeeze was apparent on the day he entered the race.

      In New Hampshire, Haley mocked him on Fox News as merely “copying Trump,” down to his mannerisms. “If he’s just going to be an echo of Trump, people will just vote for Trump,” she said.

      In Iowa, Pence sat down with the type of mainstream media outlets that DeSantis has shunned, including The Des Moines Register. Pence also met with Bob Vander Plaats, the same evangelical leader DeSantis had recently brought to Tallahassee, Florida, for a private meal.

      The split screen was a reminder that DeSantis is being pinched both ideologically and geographically, as the field expands.

      Pence and Scott have made plain their plans to vie for influential evangelical voters in Iowa. In New Hampshire, both Christie, who focused his campaign on the state in 2016, and the state’s sitting governor, Chris Sununu, a moderate who has left the door open to a run, threaten to siphon votes from DeSantis. And in South Carolina, he will be sandwiched between two home-state candidates, the former governor Haley and Scott.

      Many Republicans who want to defeat Trump are aghast at the exploding field — along with DeSantis’ underwhelming performance in recent months. DeSantis has slipped in the polls and now trails Trump in all states and by an average of more than 30 percentage points nationally.

      “All Republicans have to be hitting Donald Trump,” said Sununu, who described himself as “50-50” about entering the race. “Any Republican that isn’t hitting Donald Trump hard right now is doing the entire party a disservice because if only one or two people are willing to take a shot at Donald Trump, it looks personal. It looks petty.”

      So far, Christie has gotten the most attention for his direct attacks on Trump, which he has signaled would be crucial to his candidacy. But he also has delighted in needling DeSantis at times, an acknowledgment of the Florida governor’s position in the race.

      The reluctance to go after Trump, for many Republicans, feels eerily like a repeat of 2016. Then, Trump’s rivals left him mostly alone for months, assuming that he would implode or that they were destined to beat him the moment they could narrow the field to a one-on-one matchup, a situation that never transpired.

      The two Florida-based candidates in that race, Sen. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, a former governor, spent millions of dollars strafing each other. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who wound up as Trump’s top rival, gloated privately to donors that he was bear-hugging Trump while also patiently waiting for the moment to pounce. It never came.

      Trump’s current rivals seem exasperated by their collective inability to crack his foundation: Trump’s supporters have been trained for years to come to his defense whenever he is under fire.

      Trump has another asymmetrical advantage: Current and potential rivals have sought to avoid criticizing him too harshly so as not to alienate Republicans who still like Trump and are automatically suspicious of anyone attacking him. By contrast, other 2024 contenders have shown no hesitation in going after DeSantis.

      “His team — maybe him — is excellent at manufacturing the veneer of courage without actually delivering on the real thing,” Ramaswamy said in an interview last month. “And that can work across TV and even social media,” he added. “But once you poke a little bit, it’s like a little bubble in the air: A little touch, and it’s burst.”

      Ramaswamy, who has criticized Trump, has aimed most of his fire at DeSantis. A close friend of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Ramaswamy dined with Trump and Kushner at the former president’s New Jersey club, Bedminster, in 2021, according to two people familiar with the event.

      And while the field grows, there is the matter of the debate stage, where Trump eviscerated his opponents in the 2016 primary.

      The chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, said earlier this year that she did not expect to need two debate stages as the party required in 2016, with the tiers of candidates determined by polling.

      But there could be as many as a dozen declared candidates by August, and many are already racing to collect the 40,000 donors and 1% polling threshold the party has indicated will be needed to get onstage. This pool includes longer-shot candidates such as Larry Elder, the talk radio host who got walloped in the California recall election.

      “Everyone says, ‘We have to keep people from getting in.’” Sununu said. “That’s the wrong message, the wrong mentality, and that’s not going to work.”

      But he acknowledged that consolidation will eventually be needed to defeat Trump.

      “The discipline,” Sununu added, “is getting out.”
      ___________
      “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

      Comment


      • We Have Entered the Blather-for-Blather's-Sake Part of the Presidential Cycle
        At the moment, and possibly for the next year, the main competition in the presidential race is between Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Donald Trump. There are already a bunch of thought pieces out there asking "Is Marianne Williamson for real?" and "Could RFK make a race of this thing?" These are a waste of ink and pixels. Joe Biden has a commanding lead, and if he falters in a meaningful way, then a real Democrat (or two, or three) will jump in. Think Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) or Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI). Meanwhile, we have yet to see anything that persuades us that the other Republicans who are "running for president" have any chance of breaking through. No, the main (and only) story right now is definitely DeSantis vs. Trump.

        In view of this, not to mention that these are kinda the dog days of the political calendar, these two men are sucking up vast amounts of oxygen right now with various pronouncements designed to capture headlines and to show the Republican base who is truly the most right-wing/anti-woke/angry/proto-fascist/able to "own the libs"/etc. Some examples from just this (long) weekend:
        • DeSantis decreed that if he is the Republican nominee, "I will beat Biden and I will serve two terms and I will be able to destroy leftism in this country..."
        • Trump went onto his boutique social media platform to acknowledge Memorial Day, sending his best wishes to: "those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the country they love, and to those in line of a very different, but equally dangerous fire, stopping the threats of the terrorists, misfits and lunatic thugs who are working feverishly from within to overturn and destroy our once great country, which has never been in greater peril than it is right now. We must stop the communists, Marxists and fascist 'pigs' at every turn and, Make America Great Again!" The actual post was in ALL CAPS, but it's nominally more readable this way. And nominally less crazy. But only nominally.
        • DeSantis slammed the debt-ceiling deal, and warned that the U.S. is "careening toward bankruptcy." Since we have been told so very many times that the Governor is very smart, we assume he knows this is a lie, that the U.S. is not capable of going bankrupt, and that even if it was, it's not within a country mile of actually doing so. It's also worth noting that when DeSantis was in Congress, he voted to increase the debt ceiling multiple times.
        • Trump flip-flopped on DeSantis vs. Disney, and announced that the Governor should actually have done more to keep Disney from going "woke." Trump's previous stance, and undoubtedly his future stance one of these days, is that DeSantis went too far and cost his state money and jobs.
        None of this matters one bit. These two men don't believe most of the outrageous things they say; they're just trying to figure out what they can say that will rile up people the most, and that will win them today's "I owned the libs" crown. The fact is that 99.99% of it will be forgotten by the time people start casting ballots next year. Heck, 99.99% of it will be forgotten within the week.

        The real takeaway here, such as it is, is that the deplatforming of Donald Trump has had virtually no effect. The various media members have clearly signed up for Truth Social accounts, and are following the former president, and are reporting on his every ridiculous utterance, just like they did in 2015-16. The Donald got himself hundreds of millions of dollars, or perhaps billions of dollars, in free publicity, and he's doing it again.

        For our part, we're going to turn our right-wing-presidential-candidate-BS filters up to 11 (since it's one more than 10, of course). The great majority of things that the two wannabe presidents say in the next 6-12 months are simply not worthy of notice, with relatively few exceptions (when DeSantis finally starts attacking Trump directly, for example, or if Trump says something that undermines one or more of his legal situations). That said, one of these two is likely to be the Republican nominee for president, so we will keep a close eye on them and report on it when one of them does or says something that could be important later on. (Z)
        _________
        “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

        Comment


        • Don’t Expect DeSantis to Deliver the GOP from Trumpian Abuses of Power
          The Florida governor is all too happy to follow the Trump model of busting norms and cutting ethical corners.



          FOR ANYONE SEEKING AN ALTERNATIVE to another cronies-first, ethics-last Donald Trump presidency, bad news: Ron DeSantis is not the answer. The Florida governor is not only losing to Trump more than 2-to-1 in polls of the GOP primary field, he is seeming more like Trump each day in his disregard for rules, laws, norms, constitutions, and even the Bible-based Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

          Before the January 6th Capitol attack intended to keep Trump in office after his 2020 loss, the Trump moment that gutted me most was when, in July 2020, he commuted his friend Roger Stone’s impending prison sentence after Stone was convicted on seven felony counts, including lying and witness tampering in the Russia investigation to protect Trump. Politicians from Nancy Pelosi to Mitt Romney called it corruption on a shocking scale—and then a few months later Trump gave full pardons to Stone, his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Charles Kushner, his daughter’s father-in-law.

          Because Trump has so often used his pardon power as a political tool, as Gabriel Schoenfeld noted in The Bulwark yesterday, it is appalling but certainly no surprise that he has repeatedly floated pardons for hundreds of people convicted in connection with the Capitol attack, most recently at the CNN town hall. Now we have DeSantis, so far the only potential intra-party threat to Trump’s comeback plan, holding out the possibility of pardons on “day one” for January 6th defendants—including Trump himself.

          Just to put that in perspective: More than 1,033 people had been arrested as of May 5, about 570 had pleaded guilty to charges, and another 94 were convicted, the Justice Department said in its latest update. Eleven people were charged with seditious conspiracy and one of them, Oath Keepers founder and leader Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, was sentenced last week to 18 years in prison and 36 months of supervised release—the longest sentence to date in a January 6th case.

          Some commentators have said the January 6th pardon suggestions alone should bar both Trump and DeSantis from running for president, much less serving. I agree: They are disqualifying. Beyond even that, though, there’s increasing evidence that far from being a GOP savior, DeSantis—like Trump—behaves like he’s got a divine right to do anything he wants without fear of accountability.

          Trump broke the law in 2019 by withholding military aid from Ukraine that Congress had already approved, substituting “his own policy priorities” for the law Congress had already passed, the General Accounting Office concluded. The House impeached Trump that year for his “perfect phone call” conditioning the aid on Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky finding dirt on Joe Biden, but the Senate acquitted him. And the Supreme Court gave Trump the okay to divert billions of dollars Congress had approved for the military to build his wall on the U.S.-Mexico border—even though the Constitution gives Congress “the power of the purse” and Congress, well aware of how much money Trump wanted, had already denied most of his request.

          NOW WE HAVE DESANTIS BUSTING NORMS, cutting ethical corners, and getting crosswise with both the Florida constitution and the U.S. Constitution he’d have to uphold as president.

          The map of U.S. House districts written by Florida’s overwhelmingly GOP legislature wasn’t partisan enough for DeSantis, so he drew his own and steamrolled over objections from fellow Republicans. “No Florida governor had ever pushed their own district lines before,” ProPublica reported, and DeSantis did it with partisan help that may have violated the state constitution. DeSantis also got state Republicans to change Florida law so he could keep his job while running for president.

          Last week, NBC News reported that aides from the governor’s office were soliciting and possibly tracking presidential campaign contributions from lobbyists while the state budget, filled with projects important to them, was still awaiting DeSantis’s line-item veto pen and eventual signature. Ten lobbyists told NBC this was unheard of, especially with their business pending on his desk. It’s unclear whether it was illegal, but the unsavory ethics and optics are obvious.

          For government ethics compulsives (guilty, sorry), this will bring back the many times the highest-ranking officials of the Trump White House violated the Hatch Act, which says they cannot use their official authority or influence to interfere with campaigns and elections. There are many holes in the act—including that it does not ban holding a political convention at the White House, presidents and vice presidents are exempt, and enforcement is left to presidents. Even so, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), which oversees the act, found that at least 13 senior officials in the Trump administration committed violations in media appearances or public events.

          Their illegal acts included “supporting or opposing a candidate for partisan political office while speaking in an official capacity” and using their official authority to promote Trump’s re-election at the 2020 GOP convention, the OSC wrote in its extensive November 2021 report. One blatant example was a videotaped naturalization ceremony featuring Trump and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf. “The evidence shows that the ceremony was orchestrated to create content that would be shown” at the convention and despite many warnings, it was, the OSC said.

          The table of contents alone refers to “Pervasive Hatch Act Violations,” an “Unprecedented Number of Hatch Act Complaints,” and an administration that “Approved of Senior Officials Illegally Campaigning on Behalf of President Trump.” The law is “only as effective in ensuring a depoliticized federal workforce as the president decides it will be,” the authors said. “Where, as happened in the Trump administration, the White House chooses to ignore the Hatch Act’s requirements, there is currently no mechanism for holding senior administration officials accountable for violating the law.” The maddening upshot: Trump essentially created “a taxpayer-funded campaign apparatus within the upper echelons of the executive branch.”

          WOULD DESANTIS and his staff “go there”? Aides on the state payroll pressing lobbyists for national campaign donations, with big stakes in the balance, is not an encouraging sign. Nor are inadequate federal laws that rendered Trump World immune to consequences. The OSC report notes that the office had issued two reports on White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s “repeated, flagrant violations” and even called on Trump to “remove her from federal service.” But he did not.

          As for the U.S. Constitution, DeSantis and his administration are magnets for legal challenges to the constitutionality of laws restricting or banning protests, voting and registration (three new lawsuits filed just last week), workplace training programs, higher education studies on race and gender, and K-12 discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity. The suits claim violations of First Amendment rights to free speech and association and the Fourteenth Amendment ensuring that citizens have equal protection and laws do not abridge their “privileges and immunities.”

          The most famous lawsuit is the Walt Disney Company’s claim that DeSantis is weaponizing his position to retaliate for a former CEO’s public criticism of the “Don’t Say Gay” law limiting classroom speech on LGBTQ issues. DeSantis strengthened Disney’s case by making clear in his new book, repeated interviews, and a Wall Street Journal op-ed that he was going after Disney because it opposed one of his policies—in other words, for political speech that is constitutionally protected. It was another echo of Trump, who constantly says the quiet, potentially illegal part out loud (see again: CNN town hall).

          There are many ways I would consider DeSantis a greater threat to the public welfare than Trump, given his cruel Florida record on education, race, abortion, immigration, and the health, safety, and rights of the LGBTQ community. He’s anti-science and so is his surgeon general, as Scientific American argues. He’s even attacked the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform law that Trump signed and few in Congress opposed.

          All of this is related, but my focus here is the disturbing signals DeSantis is sending about his moral code and U.S. democracy. They suggest Trump is not the only White House contender who, if elected, would feel entitled to run roughshod over America’s laws, values, and the constitutional rights of people who don’t look or think like them.
          _______
          “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

          Comment


          • Leaked Audio From a Ron DeSantis Donor Event Is Really Bad News for His Campaign

            When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gathered top allies with deep pockets last week in Miami for a three-day “Ron-o-Rama” retreat, his team made the case for a path to victory. But there’s a major problem with the Team DeSantis logic: Its case for DeSantis’ path to victory actually worked better for his chief rival, former President Donald Trump.

            The rationale hinges on myriad assumptions, and even those are shaky.

            Leaked audio and slides obtained by Florida Politics show contradicting claims, spun in a way meant to make it sound like DeSantis has not just a shot, but a good one.

            However, the information presented raises more questions than it answers.

            The data used showed both DeSantis and Trump virtually tied. It’s the job of campaign staffers to find silver linings in anything, and deploying a “rah-rah, we’re just as popular as Trump” mantra is a prime example. But anyone who knows anything about politics—or who even has a shred of logic—can look at the broader data and see that this is actually bad news for DeSantis.

            Most polls have DeSantis trailing Trump by double digits, with the Real Clear Politics average showing Trump up by 22 percentage points in Iowa, 18 points in New Hampshire and 25 points in South Carolina—all early-voting states that often break candidates before they even really get started.


            This is important because DeSantis’ logic also relies on making it to the winner-takes-all Florida primary, which also carries a huge haul of delegates.

            Team DeSantis presented data showing him with better favorability in those early-voting states, which also includes Nevada. Its data puts DeSantis 18 percentage points ahead of Trump’s favorability in Iowa, 5 points ahead in New Hampshire and Nevada and 13 points ahead in South Carolina.

            The leaked audio from the DeSantis donor event includes a presentation that tries to explain why DeSantis isn’t running stronger against Trump. The argument is that is because the governor hadn’t yet entered the race (the retreat began as DeSantis was officially announcing his bid.)

            But that excuse also means the opposite is true—Florida’s governor has not yet faced substantive attacks as a presidential candidate, suggesting his favorability may be inflated, likely based on positive conservative press coverage. It’s also important to note that Trump’s favorability, as a candidate who has been on the ballot in these crucial early primary states twice, has been tested. DeSantis’ has not.

            DeSantis’ team also talked up the large share of voters in early voting states who believe DeSantis is ready to be president, with 62 percent in Iowa, 50 percent in New Hampshire, 47 percent in South Carolina, and 56 percent in Nevada. What the talking points ignore is that 27-42 percent of voters in those states believe he’s not ready.

            Political campaigners know they have to boast about any metric showing net favorability. But any political observer would tell you those large negative numbers are a discouraging sign for a candidate, especially one with near-universal name ID.


            Additionally, DeSantis’ team presented data showing voters believe the governor to be more conservative than Trump, a fact the presenter can be heard in the leaked audio saying “is really important in a Republican primary.” Indeed, DeSantis is considered “very conservative” by half of likely GOP voters in Iowa, 43 percent of New Hampshire GOP voters, 45 percent in South Carolina and 48 percent in Nevada.

            But there’s another problem—DeSantis is losing to Trump by a wider margin among voters who consider themselves “more conservative” than Republicans in general, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll.

            And here’s a really big problem for DeSantis: All of this data, the assumptions made, and the details ignored happened inside just four minutes of the leaked audio recording, which goes on for more than 40 minutes. In the first four minutes, Team DeSantis made a compelling argument for a path to the GOP presidential nomination, but it made the argument for Trump.

            It doesn’t get any better, either.

            The presenter heard on the leaked audio then moves on to how the team can “build this math going forward” and displays a chart showing “the battlefield.”

            This little math assignment acknowledged the 35 percent of Republican primary voters who will inevitably support Trump “even if his name isn’t on the ballot.” It also acknowledged the 20 percent of voters who are “never Trump” and believe DeSantis is too Trumpy to support him, either. But its primary focus is on the roughly 15 percent of voters in “the battleground.”

            Assuming Team DeSantis’ math is correct, which it may very well not be, DeSantis would need to earn a healthy margin of the 15 percent “battlefield,” a bold assumption if this is the path to victory.


            Why? Because public polling in multiple states shoots the math all to hell.

            Taken as a whole, the presentation, at best, paved a very narrow path to victory for the governor. At worst, it succeeded in highlighting Trump’s path to victory, and not one for DeSantis as intended.

            In any case, donors may have left the retreat with more questions than answers about how to send DeSantis to the White House. Team DeSantis is likely hoping they’re not questioning their investment in his campaign.
            _______

            Unless Trump shuffles off this mortal coil PDQ, we're going to see a metric ton of DeSantis donor money thrown into the street and set on fire.
            “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

            Comment


            • Former GOP Rep Answers If Trump Or DeSantis Is Greater Threat, Doesn’t Hold Back

              Former Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) on Wednesday jumped feet-first into the debate over which GOP 2024 presidential candidate is more dangerous for America: former President Donald Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

              Jolly said DeSantis, his home state governor, poses a much “greater threat.”

              “Donald Trump is a brutish, transactionalist politician who will walk into a room, try to crush the Constitution, likely fail and be stopped by the courts,” Jolly said on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House.” “It leads to violence. He is a unique danger himself.”

              “But in Ron DeSantis, you have somebody who bears the same fragile vanities of Donald Trump, the paranoia and the executive abuse of Richard Nixon, a view of religion and church and state like Pat Robertson, and the discreet methodologies of Attorney General Bill Barr,” the former congressman told anchor Nicolle Wallace.

              Trump could “try to topple the nation in a single day,” Jolly continued.

              DeSantis “will do it by a thousand cuts.”


              “And those thousand cuts include bringing and ripping our culture backwards 100 years to a pre-civil rights era, normalizing a view of race and gender and progressive ideologies and the LGBT issues that we continue to try to mainstream in the United States,” Jolly warned.

              “Ron DeSantis stands in the way of a culture moving forwards,” he added, although he acknowledged both men present a “real danger to the future of our country.”

              Jolly left the GOP in 2018 in protest of Trump.

              Last month, he said he was considering leaving Florida with his family because of the extremist policies that DeSantis has signed into law.

              “Why would I want to raise my kids in an environment in which they’re shamed for embracing diversity of thought and diverse cultures?” Jolly asked on MSNBC at the time.

              “I want my children to be exposed to as much diversity as possible, and at home my wife and I can orient our family around the value set that’s right for us and prepare our kids to make decisions that are ultimately right for them as adults,” he said. “That’s not permissible in the state of Florida. You’re shamed for it, you’re unwelcome.”
              _________

              Sure wish more Republican politicians would come out and admit what's blindingly obvious. But I guess they want to get reelected....
              “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

              Comment


              • Team DeSantis Can’t Run to Trump’s Nutball Right and Then Get Mad at Us For Noticing
                We’re not going to just sit here and pretend it’s not happening.



                There is an incessant and increasingly tiresome debate raging within the pro-democracy coalition on the question of who constitutes a bigger threat to the Republic between the two leading GOP contenders, Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis. My view is that it is undeniably the former and that this debate itself only serves to undermine the gravity of the risk posed by his return to the White House.

                This risk assessment is based, in part, on the record of both men in office. (You might recall that one has already attempted a coup.) But it’s also based on what Rummy called the known unknowns. How catastrophic would the staffing of a second Trump administration be? Would Kari Lake be VP? Might lunatic cult leader Mike Flynn control the military? Would Trump try to terminate the Constitution? Side with Putin in Ukraine? Similarly, the known unknowns for DeSantis tend to point in a less catastrophic direction. Would RD move to the center in a general election? (I don’t think so). Hire a more competent staff? (Certainly.) Is his personality less likely to inspire a rabid, violent death cult? (Clearly.)

                These hypotheticals matter because some constitute literal existential threats to our Republic. As such we should all be able to use our own two eyes to make rational risk assessment calculations.

                But campaigns exist for a reason. And it is appropriate to judge the candidates based not only on how we are guessing they will govern, but on what they actually say they will do. On this score, the case that DeSantis is “less extreme” than Trump is getting increasingly hard to make.

                Consider the critiques the Florida governor has leveled against Trump out of the gate. He has not chosen to target Trump for his attempt to overthrow our democracy, his rampant corruption, the inhuman immigration regime, his Russophilia, or any of the other 100 reasons Trump is unfit to be anywhere in the vicinity of a federal building without an ankle bracelet.

                Instead, DeSantis’s opening salvo was to go at Trump for two of the very few good things the former president did: The First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, and Operation Warp Speed, which streamlined the process for the development of the COVID vaccine.

                Here is DeSantis on the First Step Act, in an interview with the Daily Wire promoted by his campaign.
                .
                Under the Trump administration—he enacted a bill, basically a jailbreak bill, it's called the First Step Act. It has allowed dangerous people out of prison who have now re-offended, and really, really hurt a number of people.


                On the vaccines, DeSantis attempted one of his beta, too-cute-by-half attacks on Trump in a speech to the ostensibly pro-life Florida Family Council, “They wanted to deny people the right to put food on their table if they didn’t bend the knee and get a COVID shot that they may not have wanted and that many of them did not need. We can never allow warp speed to trump informed consent ever again.”

                ICWYDT.

                While DeSantis was doing some Ivy League linguistic gymnastics to avoid criticizing Trump by name, his campaign’s rapid response team was less subtle a few days later. The official “DeSantis War Room” went after Trump for his unwillingness to “acknowledge any of the adverse effects” of the vaccine in a conversation with a voter at one of his events. The DeSantis campaign instead sided with the voter—who was arguing that it was the vaccine that caused deaths, rather than preventing them.



                During that same Trump event, the former president attacked the police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol against the mob he incited and called the black officer who shot Ashli Babbitt “a thug.”

                The DeSantis war room was silent on this matter.

                In addition to the tactical strikes on the First Step Act and Operation Warp Speed, DeSantis also slagged Trump for not “staying true to America First principles” when he proposed “amnesty for DREAMers” and for putting too much trust in Anthony Fauci. This past weekend he attacked Trump for not understanding the gravity of the threat from “the woke.”

                Now maybe this is just what you have to do to win a GOP primary in 2024?

                I don’t know if that’s definitely the case. It would’ve been interesting to see a different approach attempted by a credible candidate such as Brian Kemp, who attacked Trump this weekend not for his vaccine support but for his insane Kim Jong-un fangirling. But based on the regrettable lack of Asa-mentum, there’s good reason to believe such a campaign wouldn’t attract Republican primary voters. So my objection is not on strategic grounds.1

                But let’s set aside the game theory and just consider the arguments DeSantis is making on the merits, rather than guessing over what we think might work in a primary.

                If someone is aspiring to the presidency and their critical takeaways regarding the Trump administration are that Trump was:
                1. Too deferential to experts on COVID
                2. Too anxious to distribute a life-saving vaccine
                3. Not harsh enough on immigrants who were brought here as children
                4. Too adversarial to the prison-industrial complex, and
                5. Not passionate enough about the need for a rhetorical attack on the “woke left”

                Well, then you are going to have to forgive me if I come to the conclusion that you are a deranged lunatic.

                And yet there is a category of DeSantis supporters who become incandescent with rage at any suggestion that their guy might be worse than Trump in certain ways.

                Andrew Sullivan has a Trig Palin–esque obsession with any former Republicans who deign to observe what is in front of their eyes when it comes to the DeSantis campaign. And the Ron johns on Twitter mock anyone in the media who suggests DeSantis is more extreme than Trump.

                But here’s the fundamental problem with such pushback.

                I’m not saying that I think DeSantis would be more extreme than Trump. I’m simply observing the objective fact that DeSantis’s explicit campaign message is a promise that he will be more extreme than Trump! At least when it comes to public health, immigration, race-based policy initiatives, and LGBT+ issues. And at the same time, on the issues where Trump is objectively more extreme and threatening—democratic norms, the rule-of-law, siding with Putin—DeSantis has to date been either silent or extremely careful to challenge his opponent in language that does not preclude Trump supporters from concluding that DeSantis is on their side.

                In the face of this campaign strategy, the argument proffered by DeSantis supporters to skeptics in the middle is that we just have to sit there and take it while DeSantis does nothing to appeal to us and instead works like a mule to cater to the concerns of the anti-vax freaks and the most bigoted wing of the anti-woke brigade.

                I’m sorry, but being told we have to ignore our lying ears in order to defeat Trump is not a compelling argument.

                Especially when you consider that:
                1. The strategy being proposed by the anti-anti-Trump DeSantis stans is a replica of the failed TruCon 2016 approach.
                2. The “mollify the base” with red meat in order to get the conservative adults in charge strategy has proven to be a catastrophic disaster for decades now (here’s some recommended reading on this point). And
                3. There is already a sensible, if imperfect, candidate in the race who has proven he can beat Trump while continuing to govern in normal ways, cutting deals with the other party and not giving his entire campaign over to extremists.
                So yeah, Ron DeSantis is far less likely to be the leader of a violent overthrow of the government than Trump. Strong agree!

                But you can’t run to the nutball right of the person who tried to do that and then get mad at us simply for noticing.

                1 We will put aside for the moment what it says about Republican voters if it is true that this is the only kind of campaign that will win.
                _____
                “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                Comment


                • Former Vice President Mike Pence files to run for president in 2024

                  Former Vice President Mike Pence has officially joined the growing field of candidates vying to be the Republican 2024 presidential nominee after filing paperwork Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

                  Pence is expected to publicly launch his campaign with a Wednesday rally in Des Moines, Iowa. He is also expected to hold additional events in the state following his campaign announcement, including a CNN town hall at Grand View University.

                  The former vice president has been widely expected to launch a run for the GOP nomination. He has been laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign, making regular visits to Iowa and New Hampshire – both key early-voting states.

                  Pence's entry into the GOP primary prompted immediate criticism from some Democratic leaders. Jaime Harrison, Democratic National Committee Chair, said in a statement that "Pence’s entrance will no doubt drag an increasingly MAGA 2024 GOP field even further to the extremes."

                  “In Mike Pence’s own words, he was a member of the extreme Tea Party ‘before it was cool,’ and he hasn’t slowed down since," Harrison said. "Now, he's promising to take the Trump-Pence agenda even further, leading the charge for a national abortion ban, cutting Medicare, and ending Social Security as we know it."

                  Pence has aimed to distinguish himself from some of his major Republican rivals, including former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, on issues such as support for Ukraine. Both Trump and DeSantis have suggested that opposing Russia’s war in Ukraine is not “vital” to American interests.

                  Pence has sharpened his criticism of Trump in recent months, targeting the former president’s role in the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

                  "President Trump was wrong,” Pence said in a March speech at the annual Gridiron dinner, a gathering of senior Washington journalists and dignitaries. "I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day. And I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”


                  Trump hit back at Pence’s comments, suggesting that Pence was responsible for the violence on Jan. 6 because Pence refused Trump’s demand to push to overturn the 2020 election results.

                  "In many ways, you can blame him for Jan. 6,” Trump told reporters Monday aboard his private plane en route to a campaign event in Iowa, according to The Washington Post.
                  _________
                  “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                  Comment


                  • Click image for larger version

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                    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                    Mark Twain

                    Comment


                    • Trump critics warn of ‘deep decline of rule of law’ if he wins second term



                      As Donald Trump begins another campaign for the presidency, his extremist rhetoric and lies about the 2020 election signal that in a second term, Trump would attempt to thwart the rule of law at the justice department and other agencies in an effort to expand his power and attack critics.

                      Former DoJ officials, some Republicans and academics say that if Trump becomes the Republican nominee and is elected again in 2024, he would most likely appoint officials who would reflexively do his bidding, target dissenters he deems part of the “deep state” and mount zealous drives to rein in independent agencies.

                      Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general during the George HW Bush administration, told the Guardian: “Of all the many reasons Donald Trump’s candidacy should be rejected out of hand, none is more important than his utter disdain for the rule of law – the idea that we are a society governed by rules and not by the will of one person.”

                      Ayer said: “It’s hard to imagine what would become of our legal system if Trump became president again.

                      “In his first term, aided by attorney general William Barr, who made a pretense of believing in even-handed justice, Trump was still able to grossly misuse the Department of Justice as a political campaign tool, to do favors for his friends, and to seriously undermine the separation of powers.

                      “There would be no arguable adults in the room in a second Trump DoJ. Beyond pardons for the January 6 criminals and politically motivated prosecutions, one can expect a broader pattern of abuses aimed at securing his autocratic power.”


                      Trump has given plenty of hints about what he would do in a second term, many of which suggest he would become more extreme than during his previous four years in office.

                      In the wake of his loss to Joe Biden in 2020, Trump falsely claimed the election was rigged and, with help from key allies, he tried to overturn the results in several states Biden won. Separately, after leaving office Trump retained classified documents. These Trump moves have sparked federal and state criminal investigations, which could result in charges against him and others in coming months. Trump has vehemently denied any wrongdoing in all these matters.

                      At campaign stops in Texas, New Hampshire and elsewhere, Trump has demonized critics, including the prosecutors leading these criminal inquiries, and spoken of the inquiries in conspiratorial terms.

                      During a March rally in Waco, Texas, Trump lashed out at the “thugs and criminals who are corrupting our justice system” before denouncing prosecutors and investigators. Ominously, he warned the crowd: “When they go after me, they’re going after you.”

                      He said: “Together, we are taking on some of the most menacing forces and vicious opponents our people have ever seen, some of them from within.”

                      As part of his dark Waco messaging, Trump added: “Either the deep state destroys America, or we destroy the deep state.” One of the targets of Trump’s ire has been the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, who charged him earlier this year with 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal hush money payments he allegedly made to the porn star Stormy Daniels. Daniels claims she had an affair with Trump in 2016.

                      Similarly, at the CNN town hall in New Hampshire in early May, Trump doubled down on his claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. He also seemed to glorify the mob of loyalists who attacked the Capitol on 6 January 2021, which led to the deaths of nine police officers and others.

                      In an appeal to his base, Trump said that if he gets re-elected, he will be “inclined” to pardon “many” of the protesters involved in the insurrection during Joe Biden’s certification by Congress. He even called January 6 “a beautiful day”.

                      Given these comments on the campaign trail and his past performance in office, Trump’s critics say a second term would mean few, if any, checks on Trump’s impulsive behavior, and that he would surround himself with pliant allies.

                      “Donald Trump has no regard for our institutions,” the ex-DoJ inspector general Michael Bromwich told the Guardian. “There is no better proof of this general truth than his attitude towards the Department of Justice. He believes it should be the political tool of the White House, which should target his enemies and go easy on his friends.”

                      Bromwich noted that Trump’s choices of Barr and Jeff Sessions as attorneys general ultimately disappointed him, “because there came a point for both of them that they couldn’t go as far as Trump needed”.

                      “If Trump were re-elected, we can look forward to a swift and deep decline in the rule of law,” Bromwich said. “Top levels of the DoJ would be staffed with election deniers; there would be a wholesale exodus of talented career personnel from every division of DoJ; and large numbers of January 6 insurrectionists would be pardoned. After four more years, the Department of Justice as we know it would be in tatters.”

                      Bromwich stressed too that “Trump doesn’t believe in any type of oversight, whether conducted by Congress or inspectors general”, and that voters “should expect total resistance to any congressional oversight and the firing of IGs who dared to do their jobs of ferreting out waste, fraud, abuse and misconduct”.

                      Steven Levitsky, a professor of government at Harvard and the co-author of How Democracies Die, said Trump was an even more extreme candidate now than he was in his previous campaign.

                      “It’s pretty clear that Trump will come in as a more dangerous figure than in 2016. He had no inclination then to respect the rule of law. He saw the state as subordinate to his own will, much like a tinpot dictator. He came in as an authoritarian figure but with no plan,” Levitsky said.

                      “Trump filled his government mostly with conservatives who cared about not breaking the law. They provided some resistance. Civil servants and people he appointed put the brakes on his wildest instincts. Now, he’s angrier and bent on revenge. Trump’s got people he wants to go after, as well as the so-called deep state. He’s going to be much more careful in the people who he appoints. Trump has a much more authoritarian plan.”


                      John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff, at the White House in October 2018.

                      The prospect of a more authoritarian President Trump is one that scares other critics who say his conduct in his first term was, at least in part, checked by conservative figures such as his ex-chief of staff John Kelly, and former secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Notably, both have voiced their opposition to Trump since they left their posts.

                      Kelly told the Washington Post that Trump’s pardon pledges for the January 6 rioters were not surprising: “All those people who tried to overturn the election, that’s exactly what he wanted them to do. He can’t be turning his back on the people who tried to save him in the election,” he said.

                      Trump has displayed other troubling signs, including allying himself with some of the most extremist Republican figures. One such person is Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general who tried to help Trump reverse his loss to Biden. In late May, Trump used his media platform Truth Social to attack the GOP-controlled Texas House for impeaching Paxton over bribery and other alleged misconduct. The ex-president labeled Paxton’s impeachment the work of “radical left Democrats” and “Rinos” [Republicans in name only].

                      In another radical Truth Social post shared in late May, Trump pledged that on his first day in office he would issue an executive order to overturn birthright US citizenship – a right guaranteed in the 14th amendment.

                      Former GOP House member Charlie Dent told the Guardian he believed that “Trump would engage in more conduct through” executive orders upon re-election, and would “use his powers to do executive actions and ignore congressional powers and prerogatives”.

                      Dent predicted that in a second term, “Trump would load up his administration with sycophants, unlike in the first term”, adding that the kinds of conservatives who Trump tapped before, such as the defense secretary James Mattis and Kelly, “will be gone”.

                      “Trump will surround himself with people who would be disinclined to offer any restraints on his worst impulses,” he said.


                      The conservative lawyer George Conway also issued dire warnings about a second Trump presidency.

                      “He’s going to manipulate the levers of government to help himself personally and to go after his enemies,” Conway said. “He’s going to turn our government into a third world government.”
                      ________

                      In other news, water is wet.


                      But hey, his policies!

                      “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                        Former Vice President Mike Pence files to run for president in 2024

                        Former Vice President Mike Pence has officially joined the growing field of candidates vying to be the Republican 2024 presidential nominee after filing paperwork Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

                        Pence is expected to publicly launch his campaign with a Wednesday rally in Des Moines, Iowa. He is also expected to hold additional events in the state following his campaign announcement, including a CNN town hall at Grand View University.

                        The former vice president has been widely expected to launch a run for the GOP nomination. He has been laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign, making regular visits to Iowa and New Hampshire – both key early-voting states.

                        Pence's entry into the GOP primary prompted immediate criticism from some Democratic leaders. Jaime Harrison, Democratic National Committee Chair, said in a statement that "Pence’s entrance will no doubt drag an increasingly MAGA 2024 GOP field even further to the extremes."

                        “In Mike Pence’s own words, he was a member of the extreme Tea Party ‘before it was cool,’ and he hasn’t slowed down since," Harrison said. "Now, he's promising to take the Trump-Pence agenda even further, leading the charge for a national abortion ban, cutting Medicare, and ending Social Security as we know it."

                        Pence has aimed to distinguish himself from some of his major Republican rivals, including former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, on issues such as support for Ukraine. Both Trump and DeSantis have suggested that opposing Russia’s war in Ukraine is not “vital” to American interests.

                        Pence has sharpened his criticism of Trump in recent months, targeting the former president’s role in the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

                        "President Trump was wrong,” Pence said in a March speech at the annual Gridiron dinner, a gathering of senior Washington journalists and dignitaries. "I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day. And I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”


                        Trump hit back at Pence’s comments, suggesting that Pence was responsible for the violence on Jan. 6 because Pence refused Trump’s demand to push to overturn the 2020 election results.

                        "In many ways, you can blame him for Jan. 6,” Trump told reporters Monday aboard his private plane en route to a campaign event in Iowa, according to The Washington Post.
                        _________
                        So far out of all the the potential candidates if I had to vote Republican he would be my choice. Which is not a wringing endorsement BTW just a comment that at least he's on record as knowing what the Constitution does and does not allow elected officials to do while in office. As opposed to Trump and DeSantis etc who trend towards the idea that it's just an inconvenient historical anachronism.
                        If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Monash View Post

                          So far out of all the the potential candidates if I had to vote Republican he would be my choice. Which is not a wringing endorsement BTW just a comment that at least he's on record as knowing what the Constitution does and does not allow elected officials to do while in office. As opposed to Trump and DeSantis etc who trend towards the idea that it's just an inconvenient historical anachronism.
                          Yeah, isn't that utterly pathetic?
                          “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Monash View Post

                            So far out of all the the potential candidates if I had to vote Republican he would be my choice. Which is not a wringing endorsement BTW just a comment that at least he's on record as knowing what the Constitution does and does not allow elected officials to do while in office. As opposed to Trump and DeSantis etc who trend towards the idea that it's just an inconvenient historical anachronism.
                            Nah, Pence is a fanatic in a nice suit. The fact he doesn't think America shouldn't become the sort of dictatorship Trump wants doesn't even qualify as clearing a bar. There are others in the race who can meet that standard & not see Gilead as some sort of ideal society. Tim Scott, for example, has made public his disagreement with Trump's attempt to take power on Jan.6 and I doubt Chris Christie, or Nikki Haley, flawed as they are would agree with it either.

                            Trump is the sort of obvious, crude evil you can easily see as it clumsily and loudly tries to enact its evil. Pence is the sort of evil that knows how to work the system so that it is never as obvious. If there is no option C then just torch the fucking lot.
                            sigpic

                            Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Monash View Post

                              So far out of all the the potential candidates if I had to vote Republican he would be my choice. Which is not a wringing endorsement BTW just a comment that at least he's on record as knowing what the Constitution does and does not allow elected officials to do while in office. As opposed to Trump and DeSantis etc who trend towards the idea that it's just an inconvenient historical anachronism.
                              Sorry, I don't see him that way. I see him as the Christian Devil who would more likely use his religious beliefs in office to the delight of those similar while Trump only voiced it. So same in a way but different in a way. What you do with your religion in private and your church is your business. Bring out into the public sphere, stick it in my face, and tell me things will be the way out Lord says they should be, then I am going to clock you in your face and have done so in the past.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

                                Sorry, I don't see him that way. I see him as the Christian Devil who would more likely use his religious beliefs in office to the delight of those similar while Trump only voiced it. So same in a way but different in a way. What you do with your religion in private and your church is your business. Bring out into the public sphere, stick it in my face, and tell me things will be the way out Lord says they should be, then I am going to clock you in your face and have done so in the past.
                                And, the most scary thing about Mike Pence is that he would probably be very effective in imposing his will on the executive branch.
                                Ugh!
                                Trust me?
                                I'm an economist!

                                Comment

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