Moments after Señor Trumpanzee bragged at one of his super-spreader rallies about his deteriorating mental health-- aced my cognitive test-- he claimed to have endorsed JP... correcting himself quickly and coming up with JD, but not JD Vance but JD Mandel, an amalgam of 2 extreme right candidates in the Ohio Senate primary.
Unfortunately, if Republicans decide they're had their fill of entertainment from an increasingly senile Trump, they can always opt for... Ron DeSantis, a younger, less charismatic version. Last night/this morning, Marc Caputo reported for NBC News that DeSantis has convinced himself that a resounding victory in November would strengthen his national bona fides as a top GOP presidential contender-- even if his political benefactor, Señor Trumpanzee, decides to ignore the cognitive dysfunction and run again.
“My goal would be, if we win the election really big, people like you who analyze these things are going to say: ‘The days of Florida being a swing state are over. Florida is a red state.’ And I think that’s because of a lot of what we’ve done,” DeSantis said when Boothe, a Fox News contributor, specifically pressed him about his White House ambitions. Boothe didn't ask whether he would want to run in two years if Trump runs or wait for six years.
DeSantis didn’t specify what a “really big” win would look like. But in battleground Florida-- where he won his office by less than half a percentage point in 2018-- even a few points can look like a landslide. And two sources in DeSantis’ orbit say he would like to best Trump’s unexpectedly high margin of 3.3 percentage points from two years ago.
...DeSantis has become a magnet for controversy and national headlines, starting with his staunch opposition to Covid mandates and restrictions. He remained relevant through the just-ended legislative session, when he engaged in a political feud with LGBTQ activists and the Walt Disney Co., one of the state’s largest employers.
DeSantis, who is likely to remain in the headlines as a top Republican culture warrior, told Boothe he would be interested in banning transgender children from receiving hormones or surgery as part of "gender affirming care," which the state Health Department is examining
There's been a lot of talk lately about Democrats getting off their asses and fighting back against GOP culture war attacks. One of teh smartest takes on this I ever saw came from Columbus, Georgia mayor Teresa Tomlinson a few years ago in a gesticulates post, Crippling Political Fear. "It’s fear that cripples the Democratic Party. Fear of our policies, fear of who we are, and fear of the Republicans. Yes, fear is what has politically cost us in the last many election cycles. One cannot lead if one is afraid. The thing about leadership is that people want their leaders to be brave. They care less about what you think on the issues than whether you have the moxie to fight for them and the strength of conviction to tell them what you really think."
She went on to say that "That’s what the Right can’t stand about The Squad. Those women are fearless about their beliefs. They refuse to be bullied, and that is dangerous to the Republican playbook of shaming scared Democrats into milk toast, mealy-mouthed, baby-splitting positions that are equivocal and stand for nothing. American voters revile those who won’t tell the people what they think. Even if you don’t support the policies-- or certainly some of the statements-- of The Squad, you can’t deny that you appreciate that they unabashedly tell the world what they think. A classic example of this crippling Democratic political plague of fear is 2014 Democratic Senate candidate Alison Grimes, who refused to say whether she voted for the leader of her party, the two-term first black president, Barack Obama. And, the legion of Democratic candidates that year who refused to say they supported the Affordable Care Act (ACA), because the polling showed it was unpopular. Did we think any voter believed that a Democrat running for federal office didn’t fundamentally support the notion of providing healthcare coverage for millions of previously uninsured constituents? Our citizens could have used a little leadership from Democratic candidates during that cycle. Our president would have benefitted from the leadership of those Democratic candidates because fear begets disrespect and that disrespect spilled throughout the party and weakened Obama as its leader. Maybe if we had all spoken out and pushed back against the Republican political propaganda machine, we would not have allowed the bell-curve to slide so far right. The nation has had its share of politically lukewarm Democratic candidates-- structured by the national party for perceived winnability not leadership. Even if they had a tagline of-- 'Fighting for you'-- no one believed it. How could they if they didn’t fight for the ACA or weren’t willing to admit America has a gun violence problem?"
Last night, Alexi McCammond and Andrew Solender, reported that Democrats are starting to fight back against the bludgeoning they've taken since the Republicans seized on socially charged issues to help win this fall's midterms. "Recent research has shown the barrage of "culture war" messaging-- on everything from critical race theory to bashing LGBTQ communities-- is working, and Democrats now realize they can't ignore it any longer. They want to make 2022 a referendum on MAGA nation and its agenda... Democrats have often shied away from the emotional appeal of such issues-- even with abortion rights-- frequently dismissing Republican attacks as unworthy of a response."
Pramila Jayapal: "There's a lot of us that are extremely frustrated with Republicans for doing this but also want our colleagues to be comfortable enough to stand up and defend our values rather than running to some other message or running away from it. I think that's starting to happen."
Democrats now have a lodestar to emulate: Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow's floor speech rebuking a Republican colleague for labeling her a "groomer" over her support of LGBTQ kids' rights. Congressional Democrats are all talking about her "backbone and passion." Do congressional Democrats have the will-- AND the talent-- to turn the narrative on its head and make the midterms about "America vs MAGA?" The progressive challengers already are-- but the DCCC and the Democratic establishment rejects them in favor of mealy mouthed, GOP-light careerists, generally without backbone or talent. So... I'm not optimistic that the Democrats will be able to process what Tomlinson and Jayapal are saying and turn it into a viable winning strategy for the midterms, not while Biden is endorsing reactionaries like Kurt Schrader and even the Progressive Caucus is opposing progressive icons like Nina Turner and Cristina Garcia to favor establishment cream-puffs. I wonder what "lessons" the Democrats will learn from the red wave that's going to crash down on them in November. Judging by history, it will be to behave even worse than they have been.