The Political Report – May 29, 2023

A Republican polling memo obtained by Roll Call finds “the generic ballot has shifted toward Democrats, with Republicans losing ground among independents on the abortion issue.”

The memo found “a 6 point swing in the last year on the Generic Senate ballot from R+3 to D+3” led overwhelmingly “by independent and new voters that identify abortion as one of their top issues.”

The poll had similar findings on the House side with “a 10 point swing in the last year on the Generic House Ballot from R+6 to D+4.”

It’s true that very few people actually listened to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) launch his presidential campaign on Twitter. But quite a few will people read these headlines:

Daily Beast: “Very Online and Very Glitchy: DeSantis Announces for President.”

The Telegraph: “Crackling voices that sounded like a pre-war wireless: DeSantis launch marred by Twitter shambles.”

CNN: “Glitches, echoes and ‘melting the servers’ crash DeSantis’ campaign launch on Twitter.”

Yahoo: “DeSantis debacle: Twitter Spaces presidential announcement marred by technical problems.”

Reuters: “Ron DeSantis joins White House race, tripped up by chaotic Twitter launch.”

National Review: “In theory, one advantage of an unconventional announcement in a Twitter Spaces conversation is its informality — it’s more like a live, interactive podcast. Because one of the knocks on DeSantis is that he’s too rehearsed and calculating, it could have offered DeSantis the opportunity to show his lighter side and in an unscripted environment — to joke and banter with the other participants. Instead, when called on at first, he launched into a standard stump speech.”

“This had me thinking, if he was just going to give a stump speech, what is the point of doing a Twitter Spaces? How is it better to deliver that announcement via audio to silence as opposed to doing so in front of a massive crowd of thousands of supporters against a great backdrop in Florida? Put another way, the event had all of the disadvantages of an informal forum with none of the advantages.”

The Platformer: “Perhaps the most important thing to know about Spaces’ technical problems: over the past several months Musk cut the Spaces team, which once numbered as many as 100 employees, down to roughly three people.”

“For months now, the Spaces team has been operating without most of the institutional knowledge it accumulated since Twitter added live audio conversations in 2021 to compete with then-hot Clubhouse.”

Susan Glasser: “I’ve long been of the view that Donald Trump is something akin to a horror-movie monster—a Godzilla or a T. Rex, say—for the American political system. In such movies, it’s often not the puny humans who take out the monster; it’s another monster.”

“And in such a scenario it would seem to make perfect sense that only a Republican specifically engineered and optimized for the bizarre cult of GOP politics in 2024 would be the right candidate to do the job on Trump. But if that’s the theory of the case for Ron DeSantis, the forty-four-year-old governor of Florida, the events of Wednesday evening showed it’s still very much an unproven theory.”

“The super PAC supporting Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign altered footage to include the sound and sight of fighter jets flying over the Florida governor in its video promoting his campaign launch,” Axios reports.

“It’s the latest instance of political ads including digitally altered videos to promote or attack candidates, making it difficult for viewers to discern what’s real.”

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano unexpectedly announced Thursday evening that he’d stay out of the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, a move that will come as a huge relief to national Republicans. The QAnon ally last year suffered a blowout 56-42 loss to now-Gov. Josh Shapiro after waging an underfunded and chaotic campaign, and Senate Republicans made it quite clear that they dreaded the idea of having him as their nominee.

The person that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies actually want to take on Casey is wealthy businessman Dave McCormick, and he’ll likely also be happy that Mastriano is giving the race a pass. Several unnamed sources told Bloomberg’s Jonathan Tamari earlier in the week that McCormick was afraid that a primary could be an expensive endeavor that could leave him weakened ahead of the general election. Some McCormick allies saw things otherwise and argued that a win over a far-right figure like Mastriano would help him appear less extreme by comparison, but they won’t get to test that hypothesis now.

Mastriano, for his part, had previously insisted he’d already reached a decision about his plans, and he sounded likely to run into this week. “Of any of the detractors, none have had the cojones to look me in the eye and have a conversation,” he told reports on Monday. He added of the intra-party criticism, “It’s irrelevant to me. It’s the tree falling in the forest, nobody hears it.” Despite GOP fears to the contrary, though, it’s Mastriano that no one will be hearing from in next year’s Senate race.

New York Times: “He is telling Republicans that, unlike the mercurial Mr. Trump, he can be trusted to adhere to conservative principles; that Mr. Trump is too distractible and undisciplined to deliver conservative policy victories such as completing his much-hyped border wall; and that any policy promises Mr. Trump makes to conservatives are worthless because he is incapable of defeating President Biden.”

“Mr. DeSantis’s challenge is obvious to anyone who has seen a recent poll: Mr. Trump maintains a deep psychological hold over many Republican voters who appear immune to reasoned arguments against him.”

David Frum: “DeSantis’s message is ‘I won’t back down. I am so tough.’ But every time we encounter him in the presidential campaign context, we see him flinching and cowering a little bit. Turning to Elon Musk for protection, refusing to engage with Donald Trump…”

“At every turn, Donald Trump is displaying dominance. And Ron DeSantis is displaying dominance aversion. And so are the others.”

Leaked audio from Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) donor strategy meeting in Miami has strategists telling big donors that the Florida governor will shift to the middle during the general election — assuming he wins the Republican nomination.

Gov. Ron DeSantis hit Donald Trump over his handling of the pandemic, Semafor reports. Said DeSantis: “He did great for three years, but when he turned the country over to Fauci in March of 2020, that destroyed millions of people’s lives.”

“Former President Donald Trump’s campaign staff released a lengthy tirade against GOP challenger Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Twitter on Friday, highlighting similarities in campaigns between the governor and former president and painting DeSantis as having stolen Trump’s main campaign points,” the Washington Examiner reprots.

“The account posted tweets that compared the two Republican contenders, with Trump’s team saying DeSantis ‘plagiarized’ and stole ideas from the former president, claiming it was the ‘greatest political plagiarism scandal in American history.’”

Washington Post: “Christie is expected to announce a campaign as soon as the coming days after concluding that none of the other Republicans in the race are willing to take on Trump forcefully… He and his allies have concluded that there are no ‘lanes’ in the Republican primary, and that the only way to win is ‘through Trump,’ not around him.”

“North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is poised to enter the Republican presidential nomination race and is planning a June 7 event in Fargo, N.D., to make a major announcement,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The wealthy former software entrepreneur from a heavily Republican state is expected to join a rapidly expanding GOP field that added two entrants, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, this week.”

Dan Balz: “The field of Republican presidential candidates is now nearly complete, and surprises are likely between now and the first caucuses and primaries early next year. But one thing is clear as the summer season of campaigning begins: The nomination is Donald Trump’s to lose.”

Daily Beast: “While Trump was previously fixated on picking a woman for his VP candidate, a little-known congressman from Florida has apparently caught the former president’s eye.”

“The chatter started the night of Trump’s CNN town hall, when second-term Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) sat in on the network’s post-game coverage. Donalds wasn’t just overly effusive about Trump’s performance; he skillfully chastised CNN and the town hall moderator, Kaitlan Collins, for repeatedly interrupting the former president.”

“In the 2022 midterms, a number of far-right candidates cruised to primary victories with former President Donald Trump’s backing — only to blow key races with a general electorate who viewed them as too extreme,” NBC News reports.

“And now, Republicans are nervously bracing for many of them to run again.”

“At least four of these candidates who ran, and lost, in 2022 are making it known that they’re interested in running again in 2024 — or have already announced bids.”

“A lot of names in politics are hard to say. Pete Buttigieg sold T-shirts to supporters of his 2020 presidential campaign that had instructions on how to pronounce his Maltese surname. This year in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election, Janet Protasiewicz ran ads showing people mangling her Polish name,” the New York Times reports.

“But it’s hard to recall a prominent American politician who has offered alternate pronunciations of his or her own name before Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.”

“When he was sworn in for a second term as governor in January, he said, ‘I, Ron Deh-Santis.’ This month, he began a video for the National Day of Prayer by saying, ‘I’m Gov. Ron Dee-Santis.’”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) “is sending mixed signals about a potential 2024 presidential bid as questions surface about the viability of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the GOP primary,” The Hill reports.

“Youngkin raised eyebrows last week when his political arm rolled out a video that had all the trappings of a presidential campaign spot. And on Monday, Axios reported the governor was considering a 2024 bid amid encouragement from donors after he said last month he would not get on the presidential campaign trail in 2023.”

NBC News: “Schadenfreude — the German word for taking pleasure in another’s failure — might understate the glee Trump and his team felt… Trump allies shared images to represent their excitement: a glass of wine and a laughing-to-tears emoji among them.”

“I’d like to say there was like an audible voice, but I didn’t have one. But there was this impression on my heart that was really about peace.”— Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), in an interview with CBN, on whether God called him to run for president.

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

1 comment on “The Political Report – May 29, 2023

  1. cassandram

    On Tiny D “shifting to the middle” — how will that happen since his entire schtick is about taking MAGA grievances as policy directives on all of us? This should be a pretty big question for the media now — especially since the frontrunner is promising no such moderation.

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