The Political Report – May 19, 2023

Dan Pfeiffer: “How does one run on the platform ‘Trump is a loser’ in the Republican primary when Republican voters don’t think he lost? According to a recent CBS News/YouGov poll, 69% of Republicans do not believe that Joe Biden is the legitimate winner of the 2020 election.”

“One of the 69% of Republicans who believe the Big Lie — at least according to his public utterances — is Ron DeSantis. The Florida governor has yet to acknowledge that Trump lost in 2020; quite a dilemma when trying to paint Trump as a loser.”

Molly Jong-Fast: “The problem for DeSantis, who appears on the verge of officially entering the 2024 race, is that in order to make the case he is more electable than Trump this time around, he needs to debunk the lie that Trump actually beat Biden last time.”

“As Republican consultant Alex Conant told Politico: ‘If a candidate can’t dispose of a fake issue like who won the election, how can voters expect them to handle the real issues?’”

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will officially enter the race for president next week as his campaign donors begin a fundraising blitz,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“DeSantis’s intentions have been clear for months, but the decision to file formal paperwork with the Federal Election Commission declaring his candidacy, corresponding with the donor meeting in Miami on May 25, begins a new phase in his quest for the GOP nomination and puts him in direct competition with former President Donald Trump and a handful of other candidates.”

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will travel to the key early voting primary state of New Hampshire later this week in what appears to be another sign that the popular two-term conservative governor is moving closer to launching a Republican presidential campaign,” Fox News reports.

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is notorious for running a top-down operation, consulting on key matters with only a small, select group, including his wife,” NBC News reports.

“But as he tries to launch a presidential campaign amid weeks of bad headlines, flagging poll numbers and donors’ threatening to jump ship, his campaign-in-waiting is acknowledging that the closed-off practice isn’t working so well.”

“Behind the scenes, aides are reassuring supporters that DeSantis’ circle of advisers is expanding to add more operatives with presidential campaign experience — and that DeSantis is listening to them.”

Molly Ball: “If critics see DeSantis as a would-be authoritarian, allies see a conservative who gets things done. Many predicted that his hard-charging first term in office would provoke a backlash. Instead the opposite occurred. While Republicans across the country struggled last November, DeSantis romped to a 19-point re-election victory, the biggest win for a Florida governor in decades. What was once America’s paradigmatic swing state now pulsates bright red. For the first time in modern history, registered Republicans outnumber Democrats. The people of Florida seem to like the steady hand—even if it’s an iron fist.”

“To fans, DeSantis’ success proves that a pugilistic, big-government conservatism that promises ruthless competence instead of Trumpian chaos can win broad support, including a growing share of working-class and minority voters.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis slapped Donald Trump over the weekend for fostering a “culture of losing” in the Republican party.  But even though DeSantis wasn’t on a ballot last night, the two biggest candidates he endorsed both lost their races.

In Kentucky, DeSantis gave his support to former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft for the gubernatorial nomination, but she lost badly to Trump-endorsed Daniel Cameron (R). Cameron slapped back at DeSantis in his victory speech: “Let me just say, the Trump culture of winning is alive and well in Kentucky!”

It’s worth noting that Craft used the same political consultants as the leading DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down. In Florida, DeSantis’ candidate Daniel Davis (R) lost the mayor’s race in Jacksonville in a stunning upset to Donna Deegan (D).

Until now, Jacksonville had been the largest city in the country with a Republican mayor.

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis views Iowa as such a make-or-break state for his presidential bid that he’s considering a plan to campaign across all 99 of its counties,” The Messenger reports.

“If DeSantis loses Iowa, it could give Trump an aura of inevitability and a sense of momentum that leads to a cascade of victories that make him the de facto nominee.”

“If DeSantis prevails, however, it could set the stage for a two-man race heading into New Hampshire’s primary.”

CNN: DeSantis is angling to run to the right of Trump on abortion, guns and more.

“Republicans suffered surprising losses Tuesday in mayoral races in Jacksonville, Fla., and Colorado Springs, dealing a blow to the GOP in two longtime conservative strongholds and highlighting the limits of waging hyperpartisan campaign battles in local races,” the Washington Post reports.

“Top Democrats are scrambling for ways to avoid a catastrophe in New Hampshire in which Joe Biden may not appear on the primary ballot, ceding the first unofficial contest of 2024 to a fringe candidate,” Politico reports.

“The bizarre predicament is one of the president’s own making, after he pushed for changes to the party’s presidential nominating calendar that stripped the Granite State of its first-in-the-nation primary. The move was designed to reward South Carolina, which catapulted Biden to the nomination in 2020.”

Semafor: “Trump appears to be presiding over something new to his career in politics: A low-drama, high-functioning organization.”

“They’ve flanked Ron DeSantis early on doing the grubby political work of congressional endorsements, logistics, and messaging. And rather than just letting Trump’s day-to-day pronouncements drive their work, they seem to have an actual focused strategy for dealing with DeSantis.”

“Amid the headline-grabbing insults and name-calling, Donald Trump is pursuing a surprisingly policy-heavy strategy to damage his closest Republican rival Ron DeSantis before he enters the presidential race,” Reuters reports.

“Forty percent of Trump’s attacks on the Florida governor have targeted issues such as Social Security, the government-run Medicare health program for older Americans, foreign policy and DeSantis’ record in office.”

Julia Azari: “For years, political scientists have judged presidents on their strength as party leaders — how they’ve been able to grow a coalition and cement a majority — but Trump is changing the way we think about politics.”

“Instead, it now seems that Trump is not so much a party leader, but a movement figure. This might seem like the kind of distinction that only academics care about. But it’s key to understanding the current state of American politics, and the dilemmas now facing GOP leaders as the MAGA movement threatens to completely overtake the Republican Party itself.”

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) “is nearing a decision to launch a dark-horse bid for the White House, and has begun hiring political consultants who have advised previous Republican presidential campaigns,” CBS News reports.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) has tapped former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) as national co-chair of his soon-to-be-announced presidential campaign, Politico reports.

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley called Daniel Penny’s arrest an “injustice” and urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to pardon the former Marine charged with manslaughter over the chokehold death of Jordan Neely, the New York Post reports.

“A pro-Joe Biden super PAC is taking to the national cable airwaves with a new minute-long advertisement casting the president as a defender of key rights it says are at stake in the next election,” NBC News reports.

Politico: Democrats avoided an electoral wipeout in the 2022 midterms. One way they did so was by reassembling a history-defying coalition of young voters who turned out at rates more commonly seen in presidential elections.”

“President Biden will enter 2024 determined to reverse Democrats’ sliding support among Latino voters, in part by building on the playbook the party used with surprising success in key states during last year’s midterms,” Axios reports.

“GOP support among Latinos — a complex electorate that’s more than 14% of eligible U.S. voters — has increased by about 10 points since 2018. In the 2022 midterms, Republican congressional candidates won about 39% of Latinos’ votes.”

New York Times: “Denying the results of the 2020 election and casting doubts about the nation’s voting system cost statewide Republican candidates 2.3 to 3.7 percentage points in the midterms last year, according to a new study.”

Donald Trump is set to speak at the Georgia GOP convention in June, marking the Republican’s first event in Georgia since formally announcing a comeback bid,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) “is set to issue a third round of endorsements Thursday in Virginia legislative races, backing 19 more Republican candidates, including six who are in contested primaries,” the AP reports.

 “As the nation prepares for the 2024 presidential election, debates over changes to voting laws have once again percolated in several state legislatures,” the Washington Post reports.

“While there are ongoing efforts to make it more difficult to vote in many Republican-controlled states, a research group found there has also been a quiet countermovement to expand access to voting across the country. A new report by the Voting Rights Lab, a nonpartisan group that focuses on analysis that advances free and fair elections, found that nearly a third of legislation passed in statehouses earlier this year make it easier to vote through policies such as expanding early- and mail voting opportunities, restoring felon voting rights and providing more time to voters for fixing errors on ballots, among other things.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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