The Political Report – June 5, 2023

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) “has signed a law requiring the Iowa caucuses to take place in person, potentially escalating a fight with Democrats who plan to offer a mail-in caucusing option in 2024,” the Des Moines Register reports.

“Reynolds signed the law Thursday. It passed the Iowa Legislature last month with only Republican support.”

“Iowa GOP leaders have said the in-person requirement is essential to protect Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status. Democrats say Republicans are undermining decades of bipartisan efforts to protect the caucuses by acting unilaterally.”

“It has become a bit. In these early days of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ bid for president, Casey DeSantis joins her husband onstage, and the stories start to roll,” NBC News reports.

“The couple fires off all the indicators of wholesome family values to a conservative evangelical-heavy GOP audience. And even without mentioning Donald Trump’s name, they set up an inescapable antithesis to the former president, who faces charges related to a porn star payoff and was found liable for sexual abuse and who, when he landed in Iowa on Thursday, wasn’t accompanied by his wife.”

“At a stop on his first trip to New Hampshire as a presidential candidate, Gov. Ron DeSantis mentioned his efforts to provide tax relief for Florida families. He mentioned defunding diversity programs at public colleges. He mentioned his fight with Disney,” the New York Times reports.

“But what he did not mention was the six-week abortion ban he signed in Florida this year.”

New York Times: “At his events, Mr. DeSantis has paused his stump speech to invite Ms. DeSantis onto the stage to deliver her own remarks. As she speaks, he usually stands smiling behind her before returning to the lectern to close out his speech. At one stop in New Hampshire, he kissed her temple after she had finished.”

“These intermissions — not unprecedented, but unusual as a routine at presidential campaign events — underscore the high-profile role Ms. DeSantis is expected to play her in husband’s bid, after acting as an important adviser in his political rise.”

“If this first tour is anything to go by, she is likely to be one of the most prominent and politically active spouses of a major presidential candidate in several election cycles, perhaps since Bill Clinton in 2008.”

“The Republican National Committee released its first presidential debate’s criteria Friday that require candidates to have at least 40,000 unique donors, earn at least 1 percent in certain polls and sign a loyalty oath that requires them to support the eventual nominee in the process,” The Messenger reports.

Associated Press: “That requirement could keep some candidates off the stage, including former President Donald Trump, who hasn’t committed to supporting the nominee if he doesn’t emerge from the primary. Trump also has questioned why he would participate since he holds a commanding lead in GOP primary polls.”

“President Joe Biden has tentative plans to travel to the West Coast this month, kick starting in earnest the process of raising the vast sums of money he will need for his reelection bid,” The Messenger reports.

Puck also reported that Biden was possibly headed to the Bay Area for events.

Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail Thursday with a torrent of attacks on Ron DeSantis, mocking his rival’s repeated reminders that he can serve two terms to Trump’s one; belittling DeSantis’s alternating pronunciations of his own last name; and criticizing use of the word ‘woke,’ a cornerstone of DeSantis’s stump speeches,” the Washington Post reports.

“DeSantis renewed his sharpened criticism of Trump, accusing the former president of being ‘petty’ and dismissing Trump’s vow to turn the country around within six months of taking office.”

“The dueling offensives reflected the state of open warfare between Trump, the clear polling leader in the Republican presidential primary, and DeSantis, who is running a distant second but well ahead of every other contender. Since kicking off his campaign in Iowa this week, the Florida governor has stepped up his aggressions against Trump after mostly ignoring him in recent months. He is seeking to counter his rival’s relentless attacks and launch his own, spanning policy and personal fronts.”

“In a reversal of its election integrity policy, YouTube will leave up content that says fraud, errors or glitches occurred in the 2020 presidential election and other U.S. elections,” Axios reports.

“Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio is telling GOP donors that it’s a ‘myth’ that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is more electable than the former president,” Axios reports.

“Fabrizio’s memo suggests that DeSantis is viewed as less electable than Trump in swing states after voters learn his positions on certain issues, and that voters have ‘very limited knowledge’ of the Florida governor right now.”

Axios: “CNN boss Chris Licht has told the RNC that CNN would air the debate not just on its linear feed, but also potentially on the linear networks of other Warner Bros. Discovery channels, two sources told Axios. By including those channels, Licht has argued, CNN could reach more conservatives than Fox, as well as independent voters.”

“Licht also has offered to partner with a conservative-leaning outlet on the debates. That partnership, two sources told Axios, could include giving a journalist from the partner outlet a co-moderator spot.”

The Orlando Sentinel catches up with Ronald DeSantis, father of the Florida governor.

“He says he doesn’t talk to his son often, maybe every couple of months or so when he goes to Tallahassee to see him and the family. His wife, and the governor’s mom, Karen DeSantis, 75, sees the governor more frequently, he says. Every three weeks or so. For the grandkids, mainly.”

“When asked if she’d be willing to give an interview, he said she would be even less cooperative.”

“This is how it typically goes whenever one tries to dig deeper into the roots of Ron DeSantis’ political ambitions and beliefs, the people and events that molded him into the person he is today.”

“Every attempt to reach out to the people closest to him has been rebuffed or ignored, leaving many questions unanswered about who the intensely private Ron DeSantis really is…”

CNN: “Nearly the entire field of 2024 Republican candidates and likely contenders will flip pork chops and mingle with a crowd of politically plugged-in caucus-goers Saturday in Iowa as they participate in GOP Sen. Joni Ernst’s annual ‘Roast and Ride’ event.”

Donald Trump “is skipping the get-together.”

Peggy Noonan: “If Trump Republicans propel Donald Trump over the top in the primaries, they will be doing and will have done two things. They will have made him their nominee for the presidency, and they will have ended the Republican Party.”

“I don’t mean this rhetorically, in the way of people walking around the past eight years crying, ‘The party as I knew it is gone.’  I mean it literally: The GOP will disappear as a party. Meaning the primary national vehicle of conservative thought and policy will disappear…”

“If the party chooses Trump in 2024 it will mean it has changed its essential nature and meaning, and that it is split in a way that can’t be resolved by time.”

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