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Biden May Be Pretty Awful But... None Of The Republicans Look Electable

In case you’ve forgotten, Ramesh Ponnuru is a right-wing activist, Republican Party propaganda agent and editor of the National Review. His new Washington Post OpEd warns Meatball Ron that he can’t rely on the electability argument to beat Señor Trumpanzee. Ponnuru wants DeSantis to explicitly attack Trump. DeSantis has been afraid to, although he’s inching towards that approach as his polling numbers head down into the Asa Hutchinson-Vivek Ramswarmy realm. “As the governor probably understands,” wrote Ponnuru, “you can’t defeat someone if you’re afraid to say his name.”

He also warned Meatball that the content of the criticism he (and other weaker GOP contenders) are starting to tepidly level against Trump isn’t going to do any good. “The critique that DeSantis is making of Trump— that he would lose in November 2024— might be popular among the governor’s supporters, but it would probably fall flat among the Republican voters he needs to persuade to win. For one thing, Trump has defied such predictions before. He was written off as a joke candidate in the Republican primaries when he entered the presidential race in 2015. When he won the nomination, it was assumed that Hillary Clinton would handily defeat him. (I’m among those who said he wouldn’t win either time.) Then he won against her, too.”

To convince Republican voters that Trump is a loser would thus require getting them to believe that the same argument everyone made back then and saw blow up in their faces is right this time. For many conservatives, Trump’s 2016 victory reinforced the idea that “electability” is a ploy used by the media and squishy Republicans to discredit candidates who are willing to fight for them.
One might think that the fact that Trump lost the last presidential race to Joe Biden would strengthen the case that he would lose a rematch. But Trump has shielded himself from this reality by insisting falsely that he won the 2020 election only to have the Democrats steal it. Pollsters find that most Republican voters say they believe some version of this story, which presumably is why DeSantis has never explicitly rejected it.
The claim that Trump can’t win will also continue to run into polls that suggest otherwise. Which leads to one last reason the electability argument is a dud: In its strongest form, it is almost certainly false. Trump might well be a riskier candidate for Republicans than DeSantis would be. Given the right national environment 18 months from now— if, say, gas prices spike again or a recession hits— Trump could win.
To have a chance of besting Trump, DeSantis has to convince Republicans that as president he would deliver better results. Voters need to believe they would get the conservative policies that Trump accomplished for them, and more, without everything they disliked about the Trump presidency.
That’s not just a matter of avoiding “mean tweets.” DeSantis would also have to make it clear that his administration would not be consumed by feuds between the president and his own appointees or the guessing games about which presidential statements were meant to be taken seriously. He would have to promise to keep nominating conservative judges as Trump did while also accomplishing the kind of reform of the immigration system or strategy to contain China that Trump merely gestured toward.
There is plenty of material for DeSantis to make this case. His governorship has been a case study in what a disciplined politician working with allies can do to change the policies and political culture of a state. Trump might talk about Republicans as the party of workers, but it’s DeSantis who has required companies to verify that the people they’re hiring are legally here.
In other words, the key argument that DeSantis has to make is that he would be a better president than Trump, at least in terms of what matters to Republican voters. He might not succeed in making that case. But if he’s not willing to try, there’s no point in his running.

This was Tucker helping Meatball make the case on Thursday:

With DeSantis tumbling in the polls, Republican senators are freaking out. They feel that Trump at the top of the ticket will lead to a donnybrook for the party on every level next year— including at their level. Many don’t want either Trump or the mini-Trump extremist from Florida. Alexander Bolton asked Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) if the GOP is looking for someone else who's neither Trump nor Meatball. She responded that she “certainly” is and that "If that is the face of the Republican Party, if that’s the contest, Republicans are doomed.” Thom Tillis (R-NC) says GOP senators are “looking for a practical conservative with a positive message. We’ll see if that emerges among the narrative in the field. I think the thing about DeSantis kind of rising and fall[ing,] let’s keep in mind that he has intentionally not entered the race. So, let’s measure what that looks like a month or two after he’s in the race.”

Wonder what a Blackish, gayish Republican looks like?

Speaking of doomed, Tim Scott, the other Republican senator from South Carolina, filed his paperwork with the FEC to run for president and will officially announce on Monday, beating Meatball by 2 days. No one knows exactly why he's running-- although his colleagues like him and one of them, Mike Rounds (R-SD) even endorsed him, the first senator to endorse someone other than Trump. “Rounds,” wrote Bolton, “says he wants the party to nominate a candidate more in the mold of former President Reagan who can unify the country, and he believes Scott could bring voters together from across the political spectrum… ‘Tim Scott can win in a general. I think he’s got a lot of the traits that Ronald Reagan had, and I think we need to move in that direction.’… One Republican senator who requested anonymity to discuss how Senate Republicans view DeSantis’s performance on the national stage since winning reelection in November said the Florida governor appears to be losing political momentum. ‘Many Republican senators who never liked Trump would take anybody [else], but I do think that DeSantis’s star has fallen, clearly, on the Hill,’ the senator said. ‘There was a time in November where I heard a lot of chatter from Republican senators about DeSantis is pretty interesting. I haven’t heard him discussed [recently].’… Only two Republican senators, Mike Lee (Utah) and John Cornyn (Texas), attended a meet-and-greet event for DeSantis in Washington last month, and neither lawmaker has made any move to endorse him.”

1 Comment

May 21, 2023

no "may be" about it. biden is "awful". but you wanted him... you got him, thanks to the nazis offering up trump.

my question is and always has been this: why do you always WANT awful? you keep voting for it.

you want "good" instead of awful? you have to actually, you know, vote for it.

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