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Does Trump Agree With Putative Running-Mate, Marjorie Traitor Greene, That Red States Should Secede?

Does Kevin McCarthy Agree Too? She Said "Everybody She Talks To" Does

Yesterday was President’s Day and since Trump was an illegitimate resident of the White House, installed by the Kremlin, he shouldn’t be counted as a president. But if he were, he would certainly be the worst president ever— worse than James Buchanan, worse than Andrew Johnson, worse than John Tyler, worst than Herbert Hoover, Nixon, Reagan, either Bush or Harding.

Yesterday, the Washington Post published a look at some focus groups of New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa and South Carolina Republicans who backed Trump in 2020. But they’re not sure if they would support him to be the GOP nominee again, “with most saying they would vote for someone else in the GOP primary. Half of the group said they would vote for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.” Many of them really seem to see DeSantis as the bigger, badder fascist— just what they want.

Meanwhile, Meridith McGraw wrote that “Trump faces a dilemma just months into his third run for president: Two of his most important achievements from the White House have become politically complicated or just plain too hot to touch”— Operation Warp Speed which developed and deployed the COVID vaccine and which is widely vilified in MAGA-world and the toppling of Roe v Wade was is destroying the GOP’s electoral prospects in all but the states his ally and prospective running-mate Marjorie Traitor Greene is advocating secede from the Union.

“The tension over how and whether or not to lean into vaccines or abortion,” wrote McGraw, “has been on display since Trump kicked off his presidential campaign… The more complicated issue, Trump allies say, will be how he navigates his role in the Covid-19 pandemic. Privately, Trump has expressed pride in the historic efforts to produce a vaccine. But he is also quite aware that the far-right has made vaccinations and especially mandates a toxic issue. He was personally booed for telling a crowd he had gotten a booster shot.”

Since launching his campaign, Trump has attacked another likely 2024 political foe, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for trying to “rewrite history” on his coronavirus response. Trump’s campaign has built up an arsenal of video clips showing DeSantis as supportive of the Covid vaccine even as he has become favored by the anti-vaccine right. The video moments include DeSantis personally greeting a FedEx truck with the first batch of Pfizer vaccines arriving in Florida.
And one person close to the campaign suggested trying to turn former Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner into the faces of Operation Warp Speed, noting that they had leadership roles in the vaccine’s development. But it’s unclear just how effective those lines of attack would be as time passes since the pandemic.

Chris Sununu seems to have a higher opinion of himself than anyone outside of New Hampshire does. Yesterday Matt Flegenheimer reported that “Sununu— a Seinfeld-quoting, Covid booster-boosting son of a governor who supported Trump’s first two campaigns— is offering himself up as a walking referendum on the direction of his party. ‘I don’t like losers,’ Sununu has said, edging toward a Trump echo. ‘I’m not anti-Trump, I’m not pro-Trump. We’re just moving on.’ As Sununu, 48, considers a White House run, conferring with advisers and road-testing a message of de-MAGA-fied conservatism, the case against him as a national Republican force is straightforward: He calls himself ‘pro-choice’ and is far lesser known than several would-be rivals.”

But the case for Sununu, and against Trumpism given recent electoral history, is even simpler, in his telling: Check the scoreboard.
Last November, Sununu won re-election by more than 15 points in a state that has awarded Democrats each of its federal offices, the sort of big-tent showing he says his party will require in 2024. (Some other double-digit Republican standouts, including DeSantis, scored their midterm landslides in states that tilted broadly red.)
…For now, his pre-candidacy— his role as a national player at all— represents an early experiment for the party, a real-time barometer for abortion politics, Republican media strategy and the durability of ‌what he sees as a dead-end Trumpian campaign mentality in general elections.‌
“I’m conservative, I’m just not an extremist,” Mr. Sununu said. “Sometimes people confuse conservative with extremist.”

That could cost the GOP the kind of turnout they need in a general election to win Texas, Georgia, Arizona, maybe even Florida and Ohio. Sununu is a dead end by the national media. He’s not going anywhere in a MAGA-dominated GOP. DeSantis, on the other hand, has a shot at taking out Trump (and Biden). But just a shot. MAGAt propagandists are emphasizing that conservatives can’t trust DeSantis’ instincts. They claim he’s more of an authoritarian than Trump is. “Some conservatives have become skeptical of how liberally the Republican leader is using government power to impose his will.” That’s exactly what the GOP base likes about him. But the line the anti-DeSantis figures on the right are pushing is that “Among GOP donors, leading conservative voices and even some supporters, there is a growing concern that DeSantis has overstepped in his fight against ‘wokeness’ as he seeks to shore up conservative support ahead of a highly anticipated 2024 campaign for president. Several potential rivals for the GOP nomination have seized on DeSantis’ brash approach and top-heavy governing style to draw sharp contrasts with the popular Republican.”

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a right-of-center First Amendment group that argued for White nationalist Richard Spencer’s right to speak on a Florida campus, has joined DeSantis in opposing diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, programs. Nevertheless, the group has repeatedly criticized Florida’s heavy-handed approach to forcing conservative beliefs on universities and is suing the state over the Stop WOKE Act, a DeSantis-backed measure that legislated how professors teach certain topics.
“You cannot censor your way to freedom of expression,” said Will Creeley, FIRE’s legal director. “You cannot trade one orthodoxy for another. What we’ve seen recently in Florida is a troubling willingness to do just that.”
…While the record DeSantis is building is almost sure to play well with many GOP primary voters, a sense of concern is palpable, particularly on matters of race, among some Republicans who are supportive of the governor.
“Being perceived as racially insensitive is not a good place for him to be in the long term,” a Republican supporter of DeSantis said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly about an area of rising worry.
The supporter pointed directly to the fight over an Advanced Placement course on African American studies and DeSantis’ quarrel with the College Board, saying the governor could alienate some voters who would otherwise be supportive.
…Frayda Levin, a member of the Club for Growth’s board of directors, said there is great interest in DeSantis but she is increasingly concerned that he has become “too heavy-handed” in his pursuit of hot-button social issues. DeSantis is one of six Republicans invited to a Club for Growth donor summit in Florida as the conservative organization distances itself further from Trump. Former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley are also invited.
“I’m a genuine libertarian; I’m kind of a live-and-let-live kind of girl,” Levin told CNN. She said she has no problem with candidates espousing strongly held personal beliefs on social issues but said she objects to DeSantis “putting the power of his state behind his socially conservative views.”
DeSantis’ pugilistic style has become a frequent topic of debate among free-market conservatives who believe the government shouldn’t interfere with businesses. DeSantis has often intervened if he accuses a business of running afoul of his vision of freedom. He instigated a standoff with the cruise line industry during the pandemic over their vaccine policies, banned businesses from requiring masks and vaccines, and championed a bill that restricted how businesses train workers around topics such as race and gender.


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