Wednesday, August 02, 2023

ANNALS OF DeSANTISTAN: Trump and DeSantis Collide for First Time in Iowa, as Fortunes Diverge. (NY Times)

The DeSANTIS-TRUMP 2024 Republican Presidential Primary horse race is between two political prostitutes -- mean misanthropic mendacious servants of the ruling classes.  

The De$ANTI$-TRUMP race reminds me of then Lincoln story about the abusive husband attacked by a bear.  Tte wife-beater's wife called out, "Go, husband! Go bear!"  

People don't like DeSANTIS, who returns the favor -- he doesn't like people unless they're major donors.

Neither TRUMP nor DeSANTIS have a moral compass.  

Delighted to read that DeSANTIS will visit all 99 Iowa counties.  Will Iowa be his Waterloo?

My late college roommate, Ed McElwain, managed fifteen Iowa counties for the 1984 Presidential campaign of Senator Gary Warren Hart; Ed explained to me after the primary that Iowans are good people, with common sense. 

Iowans expect to meet candidates personally, and appreciate volunteers, especially local.  

Using paid staff, DeSANTIS plan was a "money bomb" of the sort dropped by crooked developers here in St. Johns County.  

I can't imagine snooty snobby DeSANTIS turning Iowa.

The more Iowans  see and hear this louche lackey loony-tune, the better.

What do you reckon?

From The New York Times:

Trump and DeSantis Collide for First Time in Iowa, as Fortunes Diverge

A contest once viewed as a two-man race between Donald J. Trump and Ron DeSantis has settled into a new dynamic: Mr. Trump versus everyone else.

Donald Trump posing in a blue suit and red tie with supporters in front of a campaign backdrop in Des Moines.
Former President Donald J. Trump with supporters at the Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines on Friday.Credit...Jordan Gale for The New York Times
Donald Trump posing in a blue suit and red tie with supporters in front of a campaign backdrop in Des Moines.

Reporting from Des Moines and Osceola, Iowa.

When former President Donald J. Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida shared the same stage at an Iowa Republican Party dinner on Friday, their appearances seemed to capture the basic dynamics of the 2024 presidential primary.

Mr. Trump played headliner. Mr. DeSantis was reduced to an opening act.

Even as Mr. Trump has been hit with two criminal indictments, with more possibly coming, he has only consolidated support in recent months, flashing the same resilience in Iowa that he has nationally.

Mr. Trump’s rivals have long circled Iowa as the early state where Mr. Trump, who finished a disappointing second in the 2016 Iowa caucuses, might be most vulnerable in 2024. But although some influential leaders have signaled their eagerness for an alternative, Mr. Trump arrived on Friday for one of his episodic visits as the undisputed front-runner, as Republicans look past his political and legal liabilities.

His mere appearance generated some of the evening’s loudest applause. Like the 12 other candidates who spoke, he entered to snippets of “Only in America” by Brooks & Dunn. The lyrics that blared as he took the stage were:

One could end up going to prison. One just might be president.

Mr. DeSantis arrived in Des Moines after a two-day bus tour that was aimed at stabilizing his campaign amid two successive rounds of staff cutbacks and demonstrating his investment in the state, which comes first on the nominating calendar. There were public displays of humility — small-town stops, shopping for snacks at a gas station (he bought a protein bar), taking questions from voters and reporters — that were previously missing from the governor’s once higher-flying campaign.

Ron DeSantis in a dark suit and silver tie, speaking in front of an American flag.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, Republican of Florida, speaking at the dinner on Friday night after a more humble bus tour of Iowa.Credit...Jordan Gale for The New York Times
Ron DeSantis in a dark suit and silver tie, speaking in front of an American flag.

“Six months ago, you would have said there were two tiers: Trump and DeSantis, and then everyone else,” Craig Robinson, an Iowa Republican strategist, said. Now, he said, “you have Donald Trump in a tier by himself and you have everyone else trying to be the alternative to Trump.”

While Mr. DeSantis is stuck trying to reset his campaign, former Vice President Mike Pence is facing the possibility of not even qualifying for the first debate next month. The rest of the field is straining for voters to pay any attention at all.

Mr. Trump has certainly provided openings for his rivals in Iowa. Against his own team’s wishes, he criticized the popular Republican governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, this month. (He did not mention her on Friday.) And in a state that has often rewarded frequent visits, Mr. Trump has campaigned only sporadically.

Mr. Trump’s growing strength in national polling — he has surged above 50 percent in many surveys — has reinforced an emerging dynamic in which he is being treated as the de facto incumbent, both by party insiders with years of reluctantly falling into line under their belt and by risk-averse donors, according to interviews with numerous Republican strategists and officials.

Mr. Trump greeting supporters who are waving mobile phones and red MAGA hats. He is wearing a blue suit.
Mr. Trump greeting supporters at his new Iowa campaign headquarters on Friday.Credit...Christopher Smith for The New York Times
Mr. Trump greeting supporters who are waving mobile phones and red MAGA hats. He is wearing a blue suit.

The first primary debate, scheduled for late August, is widely viewed as the critical next date for Mr. DeSantis or anyone else to upend the current dynamic, even if Mr. Trump does not attend.

For now, outside groups looking to slow down Mr. Trump have focused on Iowa. The new political action committee Win It Back, which is tied to the Club for Growth, has run negative television ads worth $3.5 million this month in Iowa and South Carolina.

The ads themselves reveal much about the current state of the race. Each features testimonials from Republican voters describing both their affection for the former president and their interest in moving on.

“I love what he did,” the narrator in one ad says. “He definitely was the right man in 2016,” the narrator in another says, before pivoting, “It’s just time for new blood.”

Sign up for the Tilt newsletter, for Times subscribers only.  Nate Cohn, The Times’s chief political analyst, makes sense of the latest political data.

Mr. Trump’s enduring popularity with the Republican base has meant that even his competitors often sandwich the gentlest of criticism with praise. Few of his rivals mentioned his name on Friday, while Mr. Trump repeatedly used a derisive nickname for Mr. DeSantis. “I wouldn’t take a chance on that one,” he said.

One rival who addressed Mr. Trump directly was Will Hurd, a former Texas congressman running a long-shot campaign. He declared that Mr. Trump was running for president again to avoid prison. He was booed as he exited the stage.

Will Hurd in a dark suit, walking off the stage.
Former Representative Will Hurd was booed as he left the stage for suggesting that Mr. Trump was running for president again just to avoid prison.Credit...Jordan Gale for The New York Times
Will Hurd in a dark suit, walking off the stage.

Mr. DeSantis himself has generally avoided direct criticism of Mr. Trump.

He did not say the former president’s name on Friday, and when he was asked about the criminal charges facing Mr. Trump in an interview with CBS News on Thursday, Mr. DeSantis answered with only a vague generality: “I think voters have to make this decision on that.”

Some prominent Trump critics have questioned such a delicate approach, especially as his criminal problems have mounted.

“If you’re down 20 points in the polls to anybody, you’ve got to be able to hit them,” said Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, who decided against a 2024 run for president but attended the dinner in Iowa.

Mr. Trump has been indicted by the Manhattan district attorney and a Justice Department special counsel already this year, and he may face another special counsel indictment for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. A separate investigation into efforts to interfere with the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia could result in yet another charge.

Many Republicans who are leery of entering another turbulent cycle with Mr. Trump atop the ticket remain intrigued by the Florida governor but not yet sold.

“I think people are just waiting for DeSantis to close the deal for them,” said David Kerr, a DeSantis supporter who attended an event in Osceola with the governor at a distillery this week.

Ron DeSantis listening to a wheelchair user speaking at a center for wounded and disabled veterans. Mr. DeSantis is wearing jeans and a dark blue shirt.
Mr. DeSantis during a stop at a center for wounded and disabled veterans in Albia, Iowa, on his bus tour on Friday.Credit...Christopher Smith for The New York Times
Ron DeSantis listening to a wheelchair user speaking at a center for wounded and disabled veterans. Mr. DeSantis is wearing jeans and a dark blue shirt.

Mr. DeSantis has now committed to visiting all 99 of Iowa’s counties (he is at 17, according to a campaign aide), an arduous task for a candidate who is trying to compete across all the early states and must travel the country to fund-raise for a campaign supported heavily by big-money bundlers.

“This caucus demands that you earn it,” Mr. DeSantis said on Friday. Mr. Trump has mostly focused on visiting more populous areas rather than every county.

For Mr. DeSantis, the goal is to come in first — or a strong enough second to prove that Mr. Trump can be beat and narrow the contest to a two-person race. But some of Mr. DeSantis’s allies worry that the heavy emphasis on Iowa could prove a self-inflicted knockout punch — that after investing so much, his campaign will have a less than compelling case to carry on if he falters badly in the opening state.

Kathy Kooiker, a Republican activist in Clark County, Iowa, had a Trump flag in her yard for years but said she had folded it up and put it away. She is trying to explore the other candidates to decide whom to support instead of Mr. Trump, and she went to the DeSantis event in Osceola.

“He hasn’t been in Iowa as much as the other candidates, so I’m glad to see — I think it’s a mistake not to do that,” Ms. Kooiker said.

Republicans in Iowa, both those who support Mr. Trump and those who oppose him, see the race there as at least slightly more competitive than national polls would suggest.

Amy Sinclair, the president of the Iowa State Senate, who has endorsed Mr. DeSantis, acknowledged, “it’s a tough uphill battle to fight against a machine like Donald Trump.”

But she said Mr. Trump’s swipe at Ms. Reynolds had damaged him. “He’s not doing himself any favors if he wants to win Iowa behaving that way,” she said. “You don’t insult our family.”

Ryan Rhodes, who served as Iowa state director for Ben Carson’s presidential campaign in 2016, agreed that the episode had broken through among conservative activists.

A correction was made on 
July 29, 2023

An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to security arrangements at the Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner. It was not the case that security screening equipment was diverted to a Trump campaign event, according to Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung and Josie Albrecht, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Republican Party.

When we learn of a mistake, we acknowledge it with a correction. If you spot an error, please let us know at more

Shane Goldmacher is a national political reporter and was previously the chief political correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times, he worked at Politico, where he covered national Republican politics and the 2016 presidential campaign.More about Shane Goldmacher

A version of this article appears in print on July 30, 2023, Section A, Page 19 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump and DeSantis Share Stage for the First Time in IowaOrder Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He called Ron every name in the book. Neither will win 2024 so it's all for entertainment. That's too bad that the GOP is a group of individuals who can't influence who runs and who doesn't or they might just have better luck. They let anyone claw their way to the presidency regardless of appeal or fitness.