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Are anti-Trump GOP forces starting to decay?

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Such a plot has always seemed a little far-fetched to me, firstly, because politicians are not known for putting the party before themselves. However, the desire of elite Republicans to outflank Trump was, and still is, so overwhelming that I thought that at least some of the right things could be done.

Yet as spring turns into summer, traditionally a period when presidential candidates wonder if they’re gaining any support, the vision seems more like a fantasy than a strategy.

In fact, if Trump does become the GOP’s flag bearer next year, we’ll look back this week to see why, just like in 2016, he was able to take advantage of a divided opposition.

The governor of Florida was there. Ron DeSantis muted launch fitting sad trombone withdrawal for a period before the announcement, in which his shares were spoken, at least among political insiders.

No one was more thrilled by DeSantis’ decision to kick off his campaign with a relentless Twitter stream than his current and potential Republican rivals: Trump sees his Florida counterpart as weaker today than at any time since last year’s interim term, and other non-Trumps are barely going leave soon, even after DeSantis’ Stunning First Fundraiser.

And if DeSantis needs more proof that he gave heisman to the press brought him only notoriety, well, he can just look at the headlines from different publications. Don’t discount it: As much as they complain about the media, Republican primary voters are just as susceptible to waves of coverage as their Democratic counterparts.

Not long before DeSantis launched his bid for Washington and Lincoln’s office in a chat with other Internet influencers, Senator. Tim Scott (RS.C.) entered the race in a way that further underscored why it would be so difficult to dethrone Trump.

After announcing his candidacy Monday at the gym of his alma mater, Charleston Southern University, Scott met with Elon Musk of DeSantis and the senator. John Thune (RS.D.) and Larry Ellison (Billionaire-Oracle).

Each of them carried an important message.

By laying hands on Scott, Thune, a second-ranking Republican in the Senate, sent a message to the broader pre-Trump GOP establishment that the only black senator in the GOP is one of them. This may not mean a lot of votes, but along with the minority leaders in the Senate Mitch McConnella silent hug (I reported last year that McConnell was enthusiastic about Scott’s candidacy) that sends a message to the Republican donor class.

Toon may soon have more company in the GOP Senate: Later that day, he privately told Scott supporters that other GOP lawmakers would have already backed their counterpart, the only senator in the race, were it not for their concerns about Trump’s wrath. , according to the person present for the conversation. What’s more, Thune, when asked who Scott could bring back to the party as a candidate, asked, “How much time do you have?” and then noted demographics from women to moderate and educated voters.

It is this potential that will make Scott attractive to victory-hungry Republicans. They are also among the party goers that DeSantis will eventually need as part of any coalition he forms to stop Trump. If such voters go over to Scott, the task becomes more difficult.

While Thune’s appearance, along with a battalion of former Bush and Romney strategists working for Scott, signaled the acceptability of the establishment, Ellison demonstrated why a merger could prove difficult against Trump.

Scott courted the Oracle co-founder tirelessly. The senator flew to Hawaii to meet Ellison on vacation and even referred to him as a “mentor” in his speech.

Allison is now willing to spend tens of millions of dollars on Scott’s behalf.

As they say, presidential campaigns don’t end, they run out of money. But it doesn’t really matter when one of the world’s richest men is willing to part with tens of millions of dollars for a life-extending super PAC.

Ellison was hardly alone: ​​there was a group of conspicuously well-dressed people in the stands before Scott’s campaign officials rounded them up after the event. The donors later gathered at a restaurant in Charleston’s Old Market and then attended another event Tuesday morning with Scott at the luxurious Bennett Hotel, where many of them were staying.

Finally, there was Scott’s speech. There were alliterative calls and responses (“Sacrifice or Victory?”), there were crowd entrances at the end, there were testimonials to America’s greatness, and there was the gospel of Jesus Christ, self-help, and the power of positive thinking. . It was a meeting of the Black Church with the mega-church to the soundtrack of Lee Greenwood and Thomas Jefferson, while Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan smiled from above over a Chick-fil-A lunch.

In other words, Scott gleefully protested waking up without even saying the word “wake up” — exactly the kind of message that would appeal to Trump-done Republicans who want a more boring edge than DeSantis. That might not be enough to make Scott a top rival for Trump — let alone a candidate for the nomination of a party that craves a clenched fist more than an open hand — but he could find supporters.

Yes, black Republicans have had booklets before. But Herman Cain and Ben Carson didn’t start out with almost $22 million in the bank and didn’t have Senate leaders and plutocrats, let alone respected moderates like the former governor of Tennessee. Bill Haslam and former Colorado Senator Cory Gardner during their announcements.

Another message this week came from the new Hamlet-on-James, Governor of Virginia. Glenn Youngkin. Axios reported — as soon as Scott started, and DeSantis was preparing for it — that Youngkin was considering running for president again. The story has irritated some members of the governor’s inner circle who want to focus on Virginia’s midterm legislative elections this fall, but what is striking is that their denials have stopped, well, effectively denying that he will run in the race.

Youngkin’s refusal to completely eliminate the 2024 bid illustrates both how much he wants to keep this option open, and the ongoing hunger in the top echelons of the party for another option. Yet — and insert a trigger warning here for campaign veterans Wes Clarke, Rick Perry, and Michael Bloomberg — latecomers invariably fail in modern primaries.

But, again, this is all delightful for Trump, who is thrilled at the prospect of more candidates dividing the opposition. Never hiding the undertones, the former president reacted to Scott’s entry by gleefully declaring that the primaries are “loading fast with a lot of people.”

Finally, this week there was another sign of Trump’s unique strength in the Republican Party, but you may have had to look for it. This was when the former governor of South Carolina. Nikki Haley used an appearance in front of reporters in New Hampshire to punish DeSantis for “copying Trump” with his speech style and even “hand gestures.”

It was a confession from Haley, the first candidate since the former president to enter the race, that she was not breaking through and had to unseat DeSantis to take on Trump. It was also an illustration of how little attention the other Republicans in the race have for DeSantis, and the risk the Florida governor faces when those candidates make a deal with Trump to stay in the race and split the vote in exchange for some kind of promise. say, vice-president or explicit king.

Perhaps most importantly, Haley’s criticism of the man coming in second instead of first in most double-digit state and national polls has highlighted the main problem facing non-Trump Republicans: their own voters.

After years of withstanding attacks on Trump by Democrats and the media—and a former president happily accepting the role of both victim and winner from Scott—the rank and file of the Republican Party has largely become accustomed to head-on attacks on the person most of them voted twice in the general election.

“The conservative media ecosystem has built a giant vaccine wall around everything Trump-related,” David Kochel explained. “All our voters have ever known about Trump is that he is constantly under attack, which is why he developed these antibodies.”

Kochel, an Iowa native and longtime Republican strategist, spoke at length with voters in his home state about Trump’s candidacy. He consistently found them defending or rationalizing almost every criticism of the former president. It’s not that they don’t know about the allegations leveled against him (literally guys), it’s that “they justify the whole thing by saying it’s a tribal affair,” he said.

To strongly condemn Trump as a threat to democracy is to echo another tribe, to wear a blue jersey. Shaming your own voters is not a recipe for victory.

Kochel believes Trump can be stopped in the primaries, but believes his party’s voters need a “permission structure.” It’s equal parts electability – a strong and persistent drumming of arguments that Trump can’t win the general election, a refrain I heard from many middle-to-upper-middle-class voters at the time of Scott’s announcement – and standing up to the former president from the right on the border wall with Mexico, Covid restrictions and government spending.

We’ve already seen some criticism from DeSantis since he entered the race. And in his orbit is a debate about how to balance the presentation of the Florida governor and how to quickly move to confront Trump, presenting him, as one DeSantis adviser put it, “a whiner, not a winner.”

Someone will have to.

For anti-Trump Republicans, faith in invisible hand took on a whole new meaning, which has nothing to do with Adam Smith.

They are always waiting for something or someone to stop Trump.

Now it’s local and federal prosecutors.

Or maybe it’s a killer performance by Chris Christie, or some other candidate ready to commit political murder-suicide, at the debate stage. By the way, this task may be more difficult, given that the Republican National Committee plans to require candidates to gather 40,000 individual donors from 20 states to participate in the initial debate – and is not inclined to deviate from this threshold, I was told.

Or maybe, and yes, you hear it all the time in private conversations, Mother Nature will head for Trump before the election.

But hope is not a strategy.

And not only the lagging candidates must be prepared to succumb to interference, but also the voters.

As Scott was wrapping up his speech on Monday — and as if suddenly shaken out of his Kempian fever dream and back to Trump reality — I bumped into Mick Mulvaney at the press pen. The former South Carolina congressman, who was one of four Trump administration chiefs, called the primaries bluntly.

“It all comes down to what Republican voters want in the primaries,” Mulvaney said. “If they want a knife fighter who pays porn stars, they’ll get it.” Then, pointing his finger at the stage, he said of Scott, “If they want it, they can have it.”

I pointed out that precedent and polls show that Republicans prefer the former.

Mulvaney acknowledged this, but immediately noticed that the race was still ahead.

And then, keeping his hopes up, he said it was unlikely that De Santis or Scott would be “charged with a bunch of crimes.”

POLITICS

Why it’s too soon to say DeSantis committed suicide

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Is the Ron DeSantis campaign over yet?

After the last few months, it’s hard not to wonder. The number of his polls plummeted. Potential donors are skeptical. pundits have interrogated should he run at all.

But as he finally announces his candidacy for the presidency, which is expected later today, it’s worth considering how he will return to the controversy. Despite all this, Ron DeSantis could still be the next Republican nominee.

It may seem hard to imagine, but in the presidential primaries, fortunes can change surprisingly quickly. The Iowa caucuses were still more than six months away, and he would have many opportunities to get his ship in order.

In the end, the factors that made Mr. DeSantis formidable earlier in the year may be greater than the stumbles and miscalculations that have shackled him lately. The damage is not yet irreparable.

Of course, the fact that he can return does not mean that he will return. His campaign decision to announce his bid on Twitter tonight is depriving a rare opportunity to stream live on multiple networks in favor of a Twitter Spaces feature that I don’t even know how to use as a frequent Twitter user. And even if his campaign ends up running differently than it has hitherto, it’s unclear whether even a perfectly orchestrated Republican campaign can defeat Donald J. Trump – at least if the former president survives his various legal troubles politically unscathed.

But if you’re tempted to write off Mr. DeSantis, think again. The history of primaries is littered with candidates who are written off only to get into an argument. Unknown candidates such as Herman Cain briefly become leaders. Early leaders like Joe Biden and John McCain are written off and then come back to win. Even Barack Obama spent six months battling and trailing the “inevitable” Hillary Clinton by double digits.

Perhaps someday we will say something similar about the candidacy of Mr. DeSantis. As with the candidates who eventually came back to victory, the strengths that made Mr. DeSantis so promising after the midterms continue today. He continues to enjoy unusually wide popularity in the Republican Party. His favor ratings remain high – stronger how Mr Trump — despite the fact that his stance against Mr Trump spoiled in a face-to-face survey. He continues to be defined by issues such as fighting the Awakened and coronavirus restrictions, which also have broad appeal to his entire party. If that was enough to make it a strong contender in January, there’s a reason it could happen again.

While Mr. DeSantis’ decline over the past few months is easily seen as a sign of deep weakness, the poll’s volatility can also be interpreted to mean a large constituency of voters is open to both candidates. They may be leaning one way or the other, depending on how the political winds blow.

Mr. DeSantis’ strategy this year may also have increased the likelihood of larger swings. As I wrote last week, there are two theories for defeating the former president – Trumpism without Trump, and a resurgent conservative alternative to Trump. Of these two proto-DeSantis campaigns, it is easier to interpret as a non-Trump version of Trumpism. If his campaign has done anything, it has narrowed any differences with Mr. Trump—even to the point of error. Mr. DeSantis did not actually make any explicit or implicit charges against the former president. Perhaps worse, he did not strike back after being attacked.

This combination of options helped create an unusually rapid decline in support for Mr. DeSantis. After all, the only thing that hypothetical Trumpism without a Trump coalition has in common is opposing Mr. Trump and the prospect of defeating him. If you don’t attack him another you’re losing to him, which means you don’t say or do the only two things that can rally your supporters.

The evaporating backbone for Mr. DeSantis has manifested itself differently on two different fronts. Right-wing conservative voters, open to anyone but Trump, nevertheless returned to the side of the former president. What conservative wants Trumpism without power? Closer to the center, many relatively moderate and neoconservative establishment Republicans who covet a candidacy that opposes Trumpism, not just the man himself, have denied Mr. DeSantis critical support and flirted with other options, from Chris Christie to Chris. sununu

But if DeSantis’ campaign can revive the case for his Trumpism without Trump’s nomination, he could quickly win back many of the voters who supported him a few months ago. In fact, it’s even possible that the current media narrative and low expectations are setting the stage for a DeSantis resurgence.

Imagine what it would be like if he launched a successful and energetic attack on Trump after all these months on the defensive. What might otherwise have been routine sparring would take on much greater significance, sparking months of pent-up unrest among his supporters. What if he’s announcing his candidacy on Twitter in part to poke fun at Truth Social? As silly as it sounds, a successful crackdown on Trump could breathe life into his candidacy, and the media loves comeback stories.

One important factor keeping Mr. DeSantis’ path open is that so far, none of the potential moderate alternatives to him have taken hold in the race. If they did, it would deprive him of moderate and neo-conservative voters who supported the likes of John Kasich and Marco Rubio in the last primaries. In fact, he would have become a different Ted Cruz.

But for now, Mr. DeSantis is the only real candidate in town who is not a candidate for Trump. As long as this is true, he will stand a good chance of recovering among voters who would prefer someone other than Trump if there is a market for someone other than Trump.

After all, whether there is sufficient demand for an alternative to Trump may be a bigger question than whether Mr. DeSantis can revive his campaign. Since Mr. Trump already has over 50% of the vote in the polls, some interruptions may be needed to actually defeat Mr. Trump, such as the possibility that his legal problems are worse than we might think. It also takes a DeSantis victory in Iowa to break Trump’s grip on an important segment of the party, much like the midterm elections could temporarily split Trump’s base last winter.

But even if Mr. Trump is the clear favorite, it’s easy to see how Mr. DeSantis can at least make this race competitive again. When he can focus on his own issues, he has a distinct political brand rarely seen in the divided Republican Party. With such low expectations, the groundwork for a recovery may even be laid. It happened before.

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“Invasion of Mexico” Moves From MAGA’s Minor Plan to GOP Party Board

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We covered this last month when Rolling Stone reported that seditionist Donald Trump was once again asking campaign policy advisers to develop military options for air strikes or other operations against cartels. The idea of ​​bombing Mexico in a drug war is obviously stupid, and the more you think about it, the worse it gets. Even if you can drop the idea of ​​US military strikes against Mexican targets without Mexico’s consent, there will be very few strikes. V. Unless you plan to level entire Mexican cities to the ground, in other words, according to Kissinger’s “To hell with everyone and everything” doctrine, the premise would be to spend tens of millions of dollars on individual airstrikes to destroy Random Tenements and AirBnB.

In the fentanyl trade, the Mexican drug cartels are one of many stopping points. The chemicals themselves are being smuggled into Mexico from China, and the Republicans are yet to propose bombing the factories that actually produce the chemicals. Smugglers in Mexico don’t have to do anything other than mix the final product and press it into tablets, a process so simple that it can be done anywhere, anytime. The finished tablets are then smuggled across the border from cooperation from American Outlaws; Mexico is not yet considering military strikes against US police union leaders or white supremacist groups, even though the US illegal drug market has hurt Mexico far more than the United States.

“What if we just bomb them all” is the kind of thought that the most cowardly conservative fake intellectuals come up with about six times a week, and “What if we bomb Mexico to hurt the drug cartels?” went from Donald Trump’s afternoon burp to universal party conviction in less time than it takes to investigate an attempted coup.

This happens every time. Every time Donald Trump mumbles some half-baked scheme, stolen from the only people in the Republicans cowardly enough to work for him, within a few weeks it becomes a new party doctrine.

It’s not that Donald Trump can run a White House hotel block specifically reserved for would-be petitioners and get the entire GOP to insist it can’t be corruption, unlike Hunter Biden selling a painting. It’s a party now supports Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and back Pardoning the participants in the violent coupnow that Donald Trump’s unprecedented corruption has forced them to take sides on the issue.

None of these people will be able to influence Donald Trump in the primaries, because none of them want to be different from Trump’s radicalism, anti-Americanism and crimes.

Bombing apartment buildings in Mexico to destroy pill smuggling gangs is not a realistic option. Decrease in demand for fentanyl this the side of the border would do a lot more to make trade less profitable, but Republicans don’t want to do that because it smacks of social spending. “What if we just bomb them all” is the idea. every the fascist and the fascist-agnostic Republican may fall behind.

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Donald Trump asked advisers to develop a plan for military attacks in Mexico.

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We’re talking to Anderson Clayton, 25-year-old chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Clayton has an ambitious plan for 2024, and he explains the detailed changes needed to enable voting on college campuses and in rural communities in Tar Heel State.

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Connecticut completes list of accused of colonial-era witchcraft

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In front of distant relatives, Connecticut senators voted Thursday to end the trial of 12 women and men convicted of witchcraft, 11 of whom were executed over 370 years ago, and to apologize for a “miscarriage of justice” that occurred during the Dark Ages. 15 years. – the period of the colonial history of the state.

The Senate voted 33-1 in favor of a resolution formally declaring their innocence. This was the culmination of years of effort by a group called the CT Witch Trial Exoneration Project, made up of history buffs and descendants. Some of the descendants recently learned through genealogical testing that they were related to suspected witches and have since lobbied the state General Assembly to officially clear their names.

“People might say we’re wasting time this afternoon, maybe we could be doing other things,” Republican Senator John Kissel said, acknowledging early criticism of the legislative effort. “But I think it’s a small step to acknowledge our history and move forward together, Democrats, Republicans, men and women, into a brighter future.”



The resolution, which lists nine women and two men who were executed, as well as one woman convicted and granted a reprieve, has already passed the House by a vote of 121 to 30. Because it is a resolution, it does not require the governor’s signature.

Republican Senator Rob Sampson voted no on Thursday. He said it would be wrong and childish to assume that “somehow we have the right to dictate what was right or wrong about periods in the past about which we know nothing.”

“I don’t want to see bills that rightly or wrongly try to portray America as a bad place with a bad history,” Sampson added. “I want us to focus on where we are going, which is a brighter and better future. And I don’t want anyone trying to tarnish the country I love.”

But supporters of the resolution argued that it was important to raise public awareness of the Connecticut witch trials, which took place decades before the infamous Salem witch trials in Massachusetts.

“It is important to correct the mistakes of the past so that we learn from them and move on, rather than repeating those mistakes,” said Joshua Hutchinson of Prescott Valley, Arizona, who traced his lineage to the accused witches in Salem and is hosting the event. “You Won’t Suffer: The Witch Trials Podcast.”

Senator Saud Anwar, a Democrat who campaigned for the resolution on behalf of a voter who learned he was a descendant of a witch accuser, said lawmakers heard testimony during public hearings about witch trials still taking place around the world, including number in African countries. and the need to draw attention to the problem.

“This is true even now,” he said.

Els Young, who was killed on the gallows in Connecticut, became the first recorded person to be executed in the American colonies for witchcraft. The Clerk of the City of Windsor recorded the death on May 26, 1647, in a diary entry that read: “Els Young was hanged.”

Courts in the early British colonies of Connecticut and New Haven eventually indicted at least 34 women and men for crimes of witchcraft and familiarity with the devil.

Other states and countries have tried to redeem the history of people being persecuted as witches. Last year, the Scottish Prime Minister issued a formal apology to some 4,000 Scots, mostly women, who were accused of witchcraft before 1736. Of these 4,000, about 2,500 were killed. A member of the Scottish Parliament last year called for their posthumous pardon.

In 2022, Massachusetts legislators formally exonerated Elizabeth Johnson Jr., who was convicted of witchcraft in 1693 and sentenced to death in the midst of the Salem witch trials. Johnson is considered the last Salem witch accused to have her sentence overturned by lawmakers.

Many historians believe that fear and anxiety among the religiously strict English settlers led to the witch trials, noting how hard life was given given epidemics, floods, cold winters and famine. Often the accusations began with a quarrel, the death of a child or a cow, or even butter that could not be whipped.

Many of the people executed as witches were poor single mothers.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

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