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2024 U.S. election of President and Vice President

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  • TopHatter
    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.”

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  • TopHatter
    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.

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  • TopHatter
    DeSantis says, if elected president, he’d consider pardons for Jan. 6 offenders

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday that, if elected president, he would consider pardoning some of those convicted on charges related to the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

    Hosts of the conservative “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” asked DeSantis if he thinks Jan. 6 defendants “deserve to have their cases examined by a Republican president,” and whether he would pardon former president Donald Trump if he were “charged with federal offenses.” DeSantis said that on his first day in office, he would “have folks that will get together and look at all these cases.”

    “Now, some of these case, some people may have a technical violation of the law,” DeSantis said. “But if there are three other people who did the same thing but just in a context, like [the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020] and they don’t get prosecuted at all, that is uneven application of justice, and so … we will use the pardon power.”

    Twice in the interview, DeSantis avoided directly answering questions on whether he’d pardon Trump but left open the possibility.

    “I would say any example of this favored treatment based on politics, or weaponization, would be included in that review, no matter how small or how big,” the GOP presidential candidate said.

    DeSantis said he would use his pardon powers “at the front end” of his administration, noting that “a lot of people wait until the end of the administration to issue pardons.” Trump issued pardons throughout his presidency, including a flurry as he was leaving office to many of his allies.

    The storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob intent on stopping the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win and the democratic transfer of power resulted in five dead, injuries to 140 members of law enforcement and the ransacking of parts of the Capitol.

    According to the Justice Department, more than 1,000 individuals have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 attack. Out of those, more than 300 have been charged with obstructing or impeding an official proceeding, and nearly 350 defendants have been charged with assaulting officers. The average sentence for an obstruction of an official proceeding charge for Jan. 6 defendants has been about 42 months, Post data shows.

    DeSantis’s comments are similar to those of Trump, though the former president has said he would not only issue pardons but make an apology to the Jan. 6 offenders. At a CNN town hall earlier this month, Trump said, “I am inclined to pardon many of them. I can’t say for every single one, because a couple of them, probably they got out of control.”

    He added that “most likely” he would pardon “a large portion of them,” adding, “and it’ll be very early on.”

    Trump also has lent his voice to a recording of the “J6 Prison Choir” and played it to start the first rally of his 2024 presidential campaign. The song, “Justice for All,” features Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegiance mixed with a rendition of the national anthem.

    In the interview on Thursday, DeSantis, who served three terms in Congress, emphasized that he would issue pardons on a “case-by-case basis.”

    “We’re going to find examples where that government has been weaponized against disfavored groups, and we will apply relief as appropriate,” DeSantis said.

    DeSantis’s comments came the same day Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison for seditious conspiracy in connection to his actions on Jan. 6. U.S. prosecutors argued that Rhodes played a significant role in spreading doubt about the 2020 presidential election and led more than 20 other Americans to seek to use violence against the government to thwart the transfer of power from Trump to Biden.

    During his sentencing, as NBC News reported, Rhodes said he considers himself and every other Jan. 6 defendant a “political prisoner, because all of them are being grossly overcharged.”

    “I hope Trump wins in 2024,” Rhodes added.

    In handing down the sentence, Judge Amit Mehta said, “You, sir, present an ongoing threat and a peril to this country and to the republic and to the very fabric of this democracy.”

    Pander to Cult45 as much as you want Ron, you're still not going to replace Trump until he's six feet under. And maybe not even then.

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  • TopHatter
    The Demagoguery and Dysfunctional Governance of Mini-Trump Ron DeSantis
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has more ties to former President Donald Trump than probably either of them would want you to think.

    Well, isn’t this an interesting kettle of fish?

    In the week that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis officially entered the 2024 presidential race, we learn he has much more in common with Donald Trump than many have already suggested.

    Introducing Lev Parnas. Remember this guy? The Ukrainian American businessman and Rudy Giuliani associate, along with a business partner, were arrested in 2019, accused by the U.S. government of funneling a Russian oligarch’s money into American political campaigns (American Law 101: This is illegal). A federal court found him guilty of campaign finance crimes and other charges, and he was sentenced in 2019 to 20 months in prison plus $2.3 million in fines.

    Among the campaigns Parnas donated to: that of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

    It gets better.

    You may recall that Parnas, a longtime Florida resident, was a key figure in the events leading to Trump’s first impeachment. He, Giuliani and several other nefarious characters (including American journalist John Solomon) worked to gather damaging information on Hunter Biden in Ukraine to upend his father Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

    Trump threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless the country announced an investigation of Hunter Biden. That got Trump impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives, charged with abuse of power. He was acquitted in the Senate, however, which required 67 votes to convict.

    Wait, Republicans protecting one of their own? No way, you say! “Way,” says Rep. George Santos.

    Now here’s where it gets good.

    At the time, DeSantis told reporters that Parnas was barely an acquaintance. No relationship with any of those people, his office said. Parnas, DeSantis told reporters, “was just like any other donor, nothing more than that.”

    The news agency Reuters begs to differ. Its reporters sat down with Parnas, now under house arrest, who gave a detailed account of his relationship with DeSantis, providing “63 previously unreported text messages from DeSantis to Parnas between May and October 2018 as DeSantis campaigned for governor.”

    Turns out DeSantis asked Parnas for advice on fundraising and to make introductions to donors during his “hotly contested” 2018 campaign for governor. Parnas would eventually introduce him to Giuliani, then President Trump’s personal attorney. In one text, DeSantis even suggested a tweet for Giuliani to post in support of his candidacy.

    “Two sources close to DeSantis during his 2018 campaign confirmed the texter’s number belonged to DeSantis at that time,” Reuters reported.

    “We became very friendly,” Parnas said of DeSantis. The donation he secured for DeSantis: $50,000. There’s even a photo of Parnas hugging DeSantis at his election night victory party.

    But now Parnas feels betrayed, used by Giuliani and Trump, and ghosted by DeSantis, who he says stopped returning texts or calls once he won the governor’s race.

    What, a second Trump administration and a possible DeSantis administration run by the same kinds of people? You mean this is an actual thing?

    Well, DeSantis did say that U.S. support for Ukraine is not a “vital” national interest. And why, look at that! Trump said it, too!

    A spokesperson for DeSantis didn’t respond to Reuters on specific questions regarding the existence of the texts and Parnas’ account of the relationship except to say it was old news “that has been proven wrong many times over” and that DeSantis gave back the contribution after Parnas ran into legal trouble.

    I’ll just leave this totally-unrelated-and-in-no-way-connected headline from a Florida television station right here:

    “DeSantis Signs Bill to Shield Travel Records From Florida Public Record Over Security Concerns.”

    What’s interesting about all this is the timing. Did someone tip off Reuters just as DeSantis was set to officially announce his run for president? It’s possible, isn’t it? Maybe Trump called in some favors and, behold, a Russian connection to DeSantis comes to light. Is Donald looking to test out a new nickname, Russian Ron? (I kinda like Ronovavich DeSantovich, myself.)

    Trump, DeSantis, Santos, oligarchs… oh, the tangled web. It’s all one giant ball of emulsified grease composed entirely of Russians and Republicans. Unfortunately, I doubt there’s enough pressure-washing to get rid of it. Then again, you can turn fat and lye into soap, and Republicans sure need lots of soap.

    Meanwhile, all “patriotic” right-wing voters waving their miniature flags with such pride and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance like it’s a prayer (and not even the original version of it), decking out their trucks with “Don’t tread on me” flags and their houses with “Go Brandon” banners — soldiers of freedom who love their country soooo much — wholeheartedly support these two guys. How do you pick the complete opposite of your stance and not see it?

    But that’s just the fun part.

    I sometimes wonder if the presidential aspirants realize just how deep the media and opposition research outlets will dig into their past when they decide to run for president.

    DeSantis has already had testyexchanges with reporters. Like Trump, DeSantis doesn’t want to speak “with” the press, he wants to speak “to” the press. A one-sided conversation wherein he doesn’t have to answer questions. Indeed, he tried to roll back media protections that, thankfully, failed.

    No wonder he chose Twitter to kick off his campaign. It’s like a political safe space from reporters.

    Treating journalists with hostility doesn’t make you look tough. It makes you look fragile, egotistical, unknowledgeable, dishonest, even corrupt. In a national campaign, where the stakes are higher, the reporters more tenacious and the microscope more intense, DeSantis may throw so many tantrums that he’ll start looking like a bobble-headed baby. Let’s hope journalists have the guts to stand up to him, though there are signs from his campaign of a thawing out, what one media outlet calls DeSantis Glasnost.

    HuffPost contributor Dustin J. Seibert has already delivered a searing indictment on the prospects of a DeSantis presidency. I quite agree. Given all he’s done in Florida, almost all by disturbingly dictatorial writ, it’s hard to imagine his conjured-up issues over wokeness, critical race theory, transgender rights, book bans, educational whitewashing and his petty war with Disney will appeal to the broader electorate.

    But there is a flip side I hope journalists will consider in covering the DeSantis campaign. While all those dog-whistle issues, DeSantis’ demagoguery, vindictiveness and authoritarian tendencies have gotten all the attention, the actual gears of governance have gotten next to none. It’s less about what DeSantis has done in Florida in his nearly four years as governor and more about what he’s done to Florida. Or what he hasn’t bothered to do at all.

    Florida ranks near the bottom of state rankings in health care, school funding and long-term elder care, which is particularly troubling given it has the nation’s highest percentage of retirees. (More than one-fifth of the population is over 65.)

    Florida is hardly a haven for the average working stiff. DeSantis campaigned against a successful ballot initiative to raise the state’s $8.65 an hour minimum wage. (Voters in 2020 passed Amendment 2, which changed Florida’s constitution to gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026.)

    Florida ranks 49th in teacher pay, 43rd in per-pupil funding and 48th in public school funding overall. The state’s unemployment benefits are among the nation’s worst, not having increased since 1998.

    When DeSantis boasts about Florida and his campaign pitch to Make America Florida, is this what he’s talking about?

    It raises a stark question: Does this guy even know how to govern? Does he actually think governing is about nothing else but culture wars? Does this Yale graduate not understand our nation’s founding principles? Is he aware of the historical parallels that suggest his behavior is the opposite of those principles?

    On the campaign trail, DeSantis has proudly referred to what he calls the Free State of Florida. Really? Florida sure seems far less free than a lot of other states. Other states aren’t banning books, creating revisionist history, denigrating diversity, turning colleges into right-wing think tanks or attempting to limit press freedoms.

    In Florida, parents are no longer free to decide what their kids can read or whether they can take their children to a drag event. College students have lost the choice to study certain kinds of history. Women have virtually no control over their bodies unless you think six weeks is gracious enough for them to ponder the future of a pregnancy they may not be aware of yet. People who are different are now free to be demonized by others who seem to have no grasp of the idea that America was always a place that celebrated diversity. Today it is a place that fosters divisiveness.

    Would the Founding Fathers even consider such usurpations? Not before turning over in their graves.

    Consider: We have a government that has taken control of the authorization of all textbooks. We have a government that has replaced academic leaders with feckless loyalists. Now the government will decide what children shall learn rather than leaving that to professional educators, threatening any academic institutions that resist.

    Do you know who did all this? The Fascist government of Italy under Benito Mussolini. This is the act DeSantis wants to bring to the nation. I don’t mean to Godwin the argument here, but you can’t deny the similarity, and you have to agree these are not linchpins of a free society. Or maybe it’s just me because it seems nearly every vision of dystopia I’ve read or seen on film involves some outcome of the slew of anti-liberal policies being promoted by DeSantis, not to mention the new Republican Party.

    Is it hyperbolic to call Ron DeSantis a fascist? Hey, just because a guy is banning gays, trans people and books, marginalizing minorities and limiting a woman’s bodily autonomy while seizing control of public schools and universities, demanding corporations support his policies and proposing his own army doesn’t make him a fascist. Geez. Everybody knows it only counts if he holds a rally and the attendees give him the ol’ Nazi salute.

    And you wonder why the Free State of Florida has so horrifically disenfranchised those who most benefit from policies serving the broader public interest.

    We cannot consider people for higher office — for any office — who prioritize fear-mongering as governance at the expense of the public good. One was enough. We don’t need another.

    This is not the way to make America Great, let alone Make America Florida. It is everything antithetical to what truly has made America great.

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  • Albany Rifles
    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

    I blame BLM.
    That's what I always think about when I read that acronym.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

    I blame Antifa
    I blame BLM.

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

    Gotta keep pounding on that drum. Not like he's got much else to offer except blatant fascism.
    I blame Antifa

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by statquo View Post
    Basically went from Musk promoting Twitter and the benefits of a Twitter town square rather than about DeSantis's vision for the presidency and now just going on complaining about Covid and censorship by the “woke elites” in big tech and the federal government. I think Ron said the word “woke” 100 times in his speech. Enough for me.
    Gotta keep pounding on that drum. Not like he's got much else to offer except blatant fascism.

    Leave a comment:

  • statquo
    Basically went from Musk promoting Twitter and the benefits of a Twitter town square rather than about DeSantis's vision for the presidency and now just going on complaining about Covid and censorship by the “woke elites” in big tech and the federal government. I think Ron said the word “woke” 100 times in his speech. Enough for me.
    Last edited by statquo; 24 May 23,, 23:57.

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  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by statquo View Post
    Tough Twitter announcement for DeSantis and Musk. They can’t even get the feed to connect.

    EDIT: Well they got the audio working but not the video. Ron should’ve just announced on the radio. I’m sure they’ll spin it that he broke the internet though.

    Oh now either someone leaned on the mute button or it cut off mid speech. Unreal
    Lol just a precursor of things to come: A trainwreck of a dumpster fire.

    Leave a comment:

  • statquo
    Tough Twitter announcement for DeSantis and Musk. They can’t even get the feed to connect.

    EDIT: Well they got the audio working but not the video. Ron should’ve just announced on the radio. I’m sure they’ll spin it that he broke the internet though.

    Oh now either someone leaned on the mute button or it cut off mid speech. Unreal
    Last edited by statquo; 24 May 23,, 23:32.

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  • statquo
    I’m curious to see how much money Musk puts behind DeSantis.

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  • TopHatter
    DeSantis makes it official, files to run for president in 2024

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis officially entered the 2024 presidential race Wednesday after months of anticipation, launching a campaign that will lean heavily on culture war battles and a contrarian COVID-19 record that brought him national attention and made Florida a leading laboratory for conservative governing.

    DeSantis emerged from the pandemic as one of the Republican Party's top figures and most promising presidential prospects, putting him on a collision course with former President Donald Trump, who began attacking him months ago.

    DeSantis enters the presidential race weakened by Trump’s constant attacks and polling well below his peak after a dominant re-election win last year, but still with considerable goodwill among Republicans, a huge amount of campaign cash and much less baggage than the twice-impeached Trump, who is facing 34 criminal charges.

    DeSantis filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission Wednesday at 2:24 p.m., making his campaign official. He has a live, online event scheduled at 6 p.m. Wednesday with Twitter CEO Elon Musk to discuss the launch of his campaign.

    DeSantis has pushed Florida far to the right
    Long touted as the next big thing in Republican politics, DeSantis will test whether the GOP is ready to move on from Trump after a controversial presidency that was punctuated by efforts to overturn the 2020 election, culminating in a riot at the U.S. Capitol.

    DeSantis is campaigning as someone with much less drama than Trump. Allies say he is more disciplined and adept at getting things done after dramatically reshaping Florida’s political landscape with a barrage of conservative laws and policies.

    Yet in many ways the governor is hewing closely to Trump and fashioning himself as a similarly combative type of leader, a recognition of how Trump has changed the GOP.

    Like Trump, DeSantis touts himself as a fighter who will aggressively pursue his agenda and punch back against critics.

    Instead of trying to win over moderates, DeSantis has pursued a hard right agenda that is more conservative than anything ever witnessed in Florida as he tries to court Trump’s hardcore MAGA fan base.

    Even as he veers right, DeSantis is implying he is more electable and stands a better chance of unseating President Joe Biden than the embattled Trump, who faces a host of legal investigations. DeSantis won re-election last year by 19 percentage points, a huge margin in Florida that ended its swing state status in the minds of many political observers.

    What the polls say about Trump vs. DeSantis
    Whether DeSantis can peel away a good chunk of the MAGA faithful with his “Trump without the baggage” strategy remains to be seen, though. He has led a charmed political life so far, rising quickly from little known congressman to governor to national GOP superstar in the span of just 10 years.

    That rapid ascent for the 44-year-old Navy veteran received a big boost from Trump, whose endorsement is widely credited with delivering DeSantis a victory in the 2018 GOP primary for governor.

    Now, Trump regularly attacks DeSantis for being disloyal, along with a host of other criticisms that likely have contributed to the governor's plummeting poll numbers.

    DeSantis topped Trump in some primary polls early this year after his dominating re-election victory, but the governor now trails by 36 percentage points in the average of national GOP presidential primary polls, according to Real Clear Politics.

    Yet DeSantis has come from behind to win before, and has a resume that could appeal to many in the GOP.

    Origin story: How DeSantis rose to power
    A Florida native who was born in Jacksonville and grew up in Dunedin in the Tampa Bay region, DeSantis played baseball at Yale and received his law degree from Harvard before serving as a JAG officer in the Navy.

    DeSantis left the military in 2010 and ran for Congress in 2012, winning a coastal seat in Northeast Florida that stretched from south of Jacksonville to the Daytona Beach area.

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with his wife, Casey, delivers his victory speech Tuesday night, Nov. 8, 2020 at the Tampa Convention Center.

    In Congress, DeSantis co-founded the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus. He later caught Trump’s eye by defending him on television during the early years of his presidency, and went on to secure an endorsement from Trump in the 2018 race for governor.

    Before the endorsement, DeSantis was considered an underdog against Adam Putnam, who had spent years laying the groundwork to run for governor and had the support of many in the state’s business community and GOP establishment.

    Trump’s endorsement helped DeSantis top Putnam, and he went on to beat Democrat Andrew Gillum in the general election by just 32,463 votes out of 8.2 million, the closest margin of any governor’s race in Florida history.

    From COVID to culture wars
    After the election, DeSantis sought to temper his hard right image with more moderate policies that had bipartisan appeal, including allowing smokeable medical marijuana and cleaning up the environment. His approval rating soared.

    Then the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020 and DeSantis faced his greatest challenge as governor.

    After authorizing a brief lockdown that shuttered Florida restaurants, bars and other businesses for weeks, DeSantis pushed to quickly reopen and become an outspoken critic of COVID-19 restrictions.

    The pandemic rocketed DeSantis onto the national stage as he fought to keep schools and businesses open and outlaw mask mandates. It also brought out a more combative and aggressive side of his personality, with DeSantis regularly sparing with Democrats, the media and public health officials.

    After initially promoting COVID-19 vaccines, DeSantis has become more derisive of what he calls “the jab,” opposing vaccine mandates and raising questions about vaccine safety. He made Florida the first state to recommend against healthy children receiving the vaccine, and refuses to disclose if he received a booster shot.

    Moving seamlessly from COVID wars to culture wars, DeSantis also has attracted significant national attention for his policies touching on racial and LGBTQ issues, particularly in the realm of education.

    The governor has become a leading figure in conservative efforts to eliminate diversity programs at schools, reframe how racial issues are discussed and pushback against the transgender rights movement.

    Ron DeSantis walks onstage during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on Nov. 8, 2022

    After being accused of using racially-charged language during his first campaign for governor when he said Florida shouldn't "monkey this up" by voting for his Black opponent, DeSantis has regularly delved into fraught racial issues, rejecting an Advance Placement course in African American studies, signing the Stop W.O.K.E Act to limit how schools and businesses discuss race and pushing a congressional redistricting map that reduced the number of Black districts.

    DeSantis has taken a similar approach to LGBTQ issues. A bill that outlaws teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity became one of the defining policies of DeSantis’ governorship, touching off his ongoing battle with Disney.

    DeSantis’s willingness to aggressively wield executive authority – exemplified by his efforts to punish Disney, his removal of a liberal prosecutor from office and an episode where he flew dozens of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard – also has been central to his political image, drawing praise from conservatives who view these moves as bold, and worries from critics who see them as authoritarian.

    Building a national profile
    The result is that DeSantis popularity within the GOP soared, even as he became viewed as a much more partisan and polarizing figure overall.

    Throughout the last three years, DeSantis’ agenda has closely mirrored what’s trending in conservative media. He regularly latches onto issues that are capturing the imagination of the GOP base and make his mark on them in a way that generates national attention.

    That constant national exposure has boosted his appeal within the GOP to the point that he is now widely viewed as Trump’s most formidable challenger. He polls above other Republicans who are running or considering bids, such as former Vice President Mike Pence, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott.

    DeSantis' declining poll numbers seem to have encouraged other leading Republicans to consider jumping in the race, though, and he could face a crowded field. He remains a distant second to Trump, who launched his campaign six months ago and has a head start on building it out.

    The governor now must ramp up quickly. He has the resources to do it, with more than $80 million in a state political committee that is expected to be transferred into a federal committee.

    DeSantis allies have gotten a head start on building his campaign, creating the Never Back Down federal political action committee. That PAC reportedly has raised at least $40 million so far. It already has runs ads promoting DeSantis and bashing Trump, and is hiring staff in early primary and caucus states.

    Strong fundraising is one of DeSantis’ big advantages. He collected more than $200 million for his re-election bid, the most of any governor in U.S. history.

    DeSantis also has a record that could be appealing to many conservatives, having turned Florida into a national showcase for conservative policy.

    The governor is hoping a “Make America Florida” campaign can peel enough GOP voters from Trump.

    Big questions remain about how he will perform on the national stage, though, with reports suggesting he lacks personal charisma and is averse to the type of retail politics and glad-handing common in early voting states.

    DeSantis has stumbled in recent months and Trump has worked relentlessly to undercut him, branding him “DeSanctimonious” and questioning his governing record in Florida.

    Now the two Florida men will battle for the future of the GOP, and the nation.

    This is going to be absolutely comical.

    DeSantis better be hitting his knees every night, praying for Fani Willis and Merrick Garland.

    And sending Trump gift cards to McDonald's and KFC.

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  • TopHatter
    No One Is More Dangerous For The White House Than Ron DeSantis — Including Donald Trump

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (above) "appears more focused in his one-man crusade to bring the country back to burning witches."

    Imagine Donald Trump, but with brains and savvy.

    OK ... most people have those.

    Imagine Trump, but with a stalwart dedication toward legislation that moves the country in a direction that should terrify most reasonable human beings.

    Enter Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

    To me, Trump has always been, at his core, an avowed iconoclast and solipsistic opportunist who probably decided on a lark that he’d run for the U.S. presidency and managed to sweep his competitors on an anti-establishment platform. Like a man who catches a fully grown alligator, he never quite seemed to know what to do with the presidency when he got it.

    Trump had the hubris and gall of a man who had no intention of adhering to the conventions of the White House, and he had (and still has) the benefit of unwavering support from a bunch of mouth-breathers frustrated with eight years of a Black man in the office. These people were aimless, looking for someone to follow off the edge of the flat earth. Trump was their man.

    I believe addiction to the power of the presidency is the only reason Trump is giving the presidency another go — he has no real interest in legislative movement that doesn’t line his pockets. DeSantis, however, is a different brand of threat.

    He managed to become a beast of a governor, anchored by a Republican Florida Legislature that, as the recently closed legislative session has shown us, bends to his whims like some do to Darth Vader using the Force.

    DeSantis has not formally launched a campaign to run for president in 2024, but there’s precisely zero likelihood that he won’t: He’s already made recent stops in early primary states Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina in recent months, and a super PAC supporting him is on a hiring spree in several states.

    Though you’ll find no shortage of “Make America Great Again” hats in Florida, the state is so enamored with DeSantis that the legislature passed a bill allowing him to remain governor while running for president — which, to me, seems like taking the bar exam while in medical school.

    Legislatively, Trump gave the impression that he was throwing darts at a board while blindfolded to see what might shake out. But DeSantis appears more focused in his one-man crusade to bring the country back to burning witches.

    Florida was already a hole of little faith before DeSantis got to it (just Google “Florida Man”), but for the past four years he’s used the state as a petri dish to advance his ultra-conservative agenda, providing frightening insight into what the country could look like if he makes it to the Oval Office.

    In April, he signed a law criminalizing abortion after six weeks, making Florida — once a haven for people seeking abortions from nearby red states — among the most restrictive state for abortions in the country. Considering the U.S. Supreme Court’s unconscionable overturning of Roe v. Wade knowing the danger faced by women who can’t legally obtain abortions, it’s downright frightening to have multiple areas of government concerned about what women do with their bodies.

    That same month, DeSantis signed into law a bill allowing Floridians to carry concealed guns with no permit or training. Which, if you did what I suggested and Googled “Florida Man,” you know is like throwing a match on a kerosene-doused haystack.

    There’s also DeSantis’ co-opting and bastardization of the word “woke,” which he uses as a dog whistle to appeal to his demographic. He signed the Stop WOKE (Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees) Act, which would ban “critical race theory” (read: talking about actual white people actually acting badly) from Florida classrooms.

    It would essentially require teachers and professors in the state to teach about Christopher Columbus discovering America, skip over the hundreds of years of chattel slavery and jump straight to Ronald Reagan saving us all. Fortunately, local courts aren’t having that nonsense.

    Then there’s the Parental Rights in Education Act bill, which critics refer to as “Don’t Say Gay.” The bill, which DeSantis signed in March, forbids teachers from teaching about or discussing sexual identity and gender orientation to kids up to third grade; a few weeks later, the state’s Board of Education agreed to expand the ban to all grades.

    The legislature passed a bill in April restricting drag performers from doing anything around children (it calls them “adult live performances”). DeSantis is expected to sign a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors, making it so not even doctors or parents can make decisions that could save young lives.

    In April, DeSantis signed into law a bill allowing Florida juries to impose the death penalty without a unanimous vote, making it the state with the single lowest threshold for a convicted criminal to die. Logical move for an institution that’s historically racially biased, and in a state that has among the highest number of death row inmate exonerations ...

    Finally, DeSantis signed into law last week SB 1718, perhaps the most draconian immigration bill on record. Among its provisions, it would make it illegal for anyone to give an undocumented immigrant a ride into the state, invalidate the driver’s licenses of immigrants from other states, and make it considerably harder for an employer to hire them.

    I’m not sure how pretending like Florida doesn’t function on the back of undocumented immigrant labor is supposed to benefit the legislature, but perhaps it’ll learn the hard way.

    That’s a royal flush of regressive social politics tied directly to DeSantis. And I haven’t even gotten into his ongoing beef with Mickey Mouse.

    Lest you think DeSantis is a genuine ideologue, armed with the Holy Bible and a nostalgia for the “good ol’ days” before immigrants and the LGBTQ community existed, he’s actually like so many other politicians — rocking with whatever advances his agenda at the time. The irony of DeSantis being Trump’s biggest competitor for the GOP ticket is that he made it to his current position riding Trump’s coattails in a state that adores the former president.

    Now, Trump is in headlines for the verdict finding him liable for sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll. Some Republicans believe this could tank his 2024 chances. But considering Trump has gotten as far as he has by doing everything short of eating a baby on camera, I’ll never count him out. DeSantis, however, could be his biggest threat — far wiser, more tactical and more calculated than his opponent.

    Trump’s presidency emboldened the country’s troglodytes to do reprehensible acts like organizing racist tiki torch gatherings and storming the U.S. Capitol dressed like assholes. But he’s the devil I’ve already experienced in the White House, and he’d only have one term to go. Eight years of DeSantis terrifies me far more.

    DeSantis will have to wait his turn...He's got plenty of time to destroy Florida first.

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  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by rj1 View Post
    Please attempt to defend Cuomo as being any better. He deliberately lied about deaths in government facilities for reasons of politics, was given softball interviews lionizing him on CNN by his brother to turn him into a national star to probably prepare him for a future presidential run, had his staff using taxpayer dollars writing his memoir lionizing his leadership during this time, and New York Democrats did not want to get rid of him for reasons of Covid so came up with a me too scandal for him because that was more fitting their worldview.
    I'm not defending any of them. I'm saying that, with the obvious exception of Xi, none the people you named were President of the United States. None of them could've possibly have done more damage than Donald Trump and I provided just a few very graphic examples of why that is so.

    Originally posted by rj1 View Post
    Xi is Paramount Leader of a country four times larger last I checked.
    Didn't notice his name in your list at first, my apologies.

    Originally posted by rj1 View Post
    Oh fuck off with this bullshit.
    Dude. Seriously. You can find ways of voicing your disagreement without resorting to that.

    Originally posted by rj1 View Post
    It's never going to be proven because the Chinese will never allow any not politically connected to them outsiders access to prove it. Occam's Razor applies here. A secret virus being developed in a top-level immunology laboratory and then a global viral outbreak starts in the same city based on the same virus is not ludicrous, it's the plot of every Resident Evil game ever. I doubt it was released maliciously, the Chinese are not that insane, it was an accident. But there are organizations, American organizations, that provided money to the WIV to study coronaviruses and probably have culpability.
    Couple things....

    First, never say never. Five years from now, the CCP could collapse as suddenly as the SED and records could be released (or stolen) showing what happened.

    Second, an accidental leak of an naturally-occurring virus under study at a lab is absolutely possible, yes. It's happened before. However a human-engineered virus - if that is indeed what you mean - whose origin cannot be detected by virologists is basically impossible.

    Originally posted by rj1 View Post
    So we went a year where people that asked questions were considered racists and xenophobes by the experts, now we have scientists considering it, Australia passed a resolution just saying we need to find out, and the official U.S. position is "we don't know". Meanwhile, definitely instigated by Donald Trump but continued by Joe Biden and the rest of the West now all consider China hostile.
    If I'm not mistaken, the narrative that people were doubting was the "The Chinese genetically-engineered COVID and then released it on the West as a form of biological warfare (or the genetically-engineered virus was accidentally released)!"

    And the official U.S. position is accurate: We don't really know, yet. Doesn't mean we won't ever find out. Never say never.

    As for China being now being "considered hostile"? What does that even mean? China's been considered hostile since 1949!

    Originally posted by rj1 View Post
    Where is my apology?
    I don't know who you're asking an apology from or why, you'll have to clarify that.

    Originally posted by rj1 View Post
    This event occurred that literally wrecked millions of lives globally! Not just through death, but health, mental health, depression, changing future outcomes, loss of job and being able to provide a living. We're still literally dealing with this, the global economy right now is still kind of fucked because everyone mass printed money and the economy is being reshaped on geopolitical terms, we're deep into the middle of a Second Cold War that looks more and more likely every day to become a Hot War where not just Russian and Ukrainian troops will be involved.
    No argument here man, but this thread is titled 2024 U.S. election of President and Vice President, so that's primarily what I'm going to be talking about.

    Originally posted by rj1 View Post
    All this shit is going on as we look like we are in the middle of the 1930s looking potentially at a West vs. Global South War, we've got 2 80-year-olds lacking energy and probably incapable of passing a written civics test at this point as our most likely people to win the next presidential term, and you're talking about disinfectant.
    Ok, you're raising the alarm about the 2 80 year olds that are most likely to be president, which is absolutely a shared concern of mine, but you take me to task for "talking about disinfectant" when I was giving a prime example about one of those very 80 year's gross incompetence.

    Originally posted by rj1 View Post
    Things are complete shit, you're letting your hatred of one guy obscure you from everything else going on in the world.
    Eh, no. Not even close. For starters, my post history shows that I've commented on threads ranging from everything including Ukraine, to COVID, to Roe V. Wade, and yes, to Donald Trump. But I sure as heck am not focusing solely on him. Once again, this thread is about the upcoming election, which basically means Joe Biden and Donald Trump. I'm simply staying on topic.

    You want to put people like Gov. Eric Holcomb and organizations like the teacher's union on the same plane of importance and influence as the President of the United States, that's fine, you're entitled to your opinion, but it's not even close to being credibly true.

    Leave a comment: