There are some of us out here that are NeverTrump but cautiously DeSantis. There's a lot of disinformation about him in the media, often ridiculously off track. One example is Rebekah Jones, still a heroine of anti DeSantis sentiment. The key person she accused of criminal and even murderous behavior was/is Deputy Secretary of Health Dr. Shamarial Roberson, a very accomplished black woman. Jones was only able to get away with that by making DeSantis the target even though he didn't tell Roberson to remove the data Jones stuck into the dashboard.

I find it amusing that, after two years of claiming DeSantis was doing nothing to counter COVID during the early days, with photos of beaches accompanied by gasps of horror, now the media is saying "You did TOO shut down Florida, Ron DeSantis!" I'm waiting on them to drag out his Executive Orders that I lived under while arguing with people who declared Florida people were playing in the sun while the world died around it. You're darn straight I got angry and defensive.

We social distanced, isolated and stayed home, losing jobs and businesses but we indeed, "flattened the curve", all while being told we were irresponsible monsters. If you want to know why DeSantis is so popular with his constituents, start there. By attacking him, the media attacked all of us living under his edicts.

I am wondering if DeSantis is setting up the media, not Trump; or in addition to Trump. I'm cautiously optimistic but watching carefully. I won't ever vote for Trump but if the choice is someone who had to bow to the golden Cheeto god to stay/get into a position to defeat him, I'll be behind him/her 100% over another Biden making empty promises of listening to my point of view at least a little.

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Two things: 1) Trump is just as phony as DeSantis. Obviously, that's not disqualifying. I am a frequent visitor to the Sunshine State and he has fooled a whole lot of people, Trump-style. They even think he did a good job with the pandemic. (correction: thought--not so much, anymore).

2) Trump got vaccinated.

DeSantis is smarter than you think he is. You are right about 4)--he will not challenge Trump, but stands ready to pick up the flamethrower when Trump finally and definitively self-destructs. I'm hoping it will be in a courtroom.

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It will probably be a good idea for Liz Cheney to run as an independent. It would be so satisfying to see that woman bury her foot between those orange marshmallow buttocks.

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I continue to search for the modern experience we can learn from to describe why so many believe and are loyal to the words of an autocrat, such as: Hitler, Stalin, Milosevic.

I think Yuval Harari: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century captures the essence of submission to the leader facilitated by rally dynamics and the 24/7 catechism of the right-wing media "To gauge group loyalty, requiring people to believe an absurdity is a far better test than asking them to believe the truth."

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I don't see John Jr. getting the nod to be Trumpy's successor. The wise money should be on Ivanka, and since Trump no longer calls New York home, having decamped to Florida, and Ivanka continues to claim NYC as her state of residence, there is nothing in the Constitution forbidding Trump from naming one of his spawn as 2nd in command. Ivanka has the edge over her older brother by reason of expected bump in female votes Trump believes Ivanka's coattails would provide. By the same token, DeSantis is now Constitutionally prohibited from running as Trump's VP because the two top elected American politicians cannot be citizens of the same state.

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It warms my cold, black heart to see Trump coming after DeSantis for being two-faced about vaccines. I hope DeSantis is dumb enough not to back down. The Schadenfreude Bowl would be must-see TV.

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Trump has been a whining loser ever since he was shut out of Manhattan society when he crossed over from Queens and knocked down Bonwit-Teller. He's been the kid with his nose pressed against the glass since he was a kid, rejected by his "betters"everywhere. And on a level too deep for most of them to realize, that's his appeal to his base, who are all the same kind of neverwillbe's he is - the "geniuses" whose greatness is never recognized. And they see his "crashing through" in 2016 as their "crash through" - he "got even" and then he had his victory stolen from him by those people who always do that to people like him and his base. And that is why they love him in a way they'll never be able to let go of. That's why policy and everything else mean nothing to them. They want to be "seen" and then "get even" with everyone who ever looked down on them.

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Jan 17, 2022·edited Jan 17, 2022

DeSantis is Trump's Ernst Rhome. Rhome thought himself the true National Socialist flag-bearer. But he was fatally mistaken. As will be the case with the honorable [sic] governor, the would-be Leader but actually weaker within-the-Party pretender will meet the ultimate fate, namely, Doom [Not execution as with Rhome, but the political crushing of DeSantis. By the true strong man, one Donald Trump.].

Lesson: authoritarian movements invariably eat their own. [See Night of the Long Knives.]

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Jan 17, 2022·edited Jan 17, 2022Liked by Jonathan V. Last

Seeing the word authentic used to describe Trump set me back for a hot second. How could that word possibly be used in relation to anything about this guy? But of course, you are right. I briefly forgot that JVL is always right. Mea culpa.

Trump is indeed the real deal, the walking talking embodiment of Willie Stark, though I think R.P.W. gave that character a few more human traits than The Donald possesses. DeSantis and the rest really are no more than pretenders. At least for now.

I owned a Quarter Horse gelding for many years that, looking back on it, I should have probably named Donald or something similar. He was a smallish horse, typical foundation confirmation for the breed...an inch short of 15 hands, 875 / 900 pounds. Over nearly 30 years I watched that horse dominate every other horse he ever came into contact with, regardless of how much larger or younger and fit they were, either in my own string or the horses of others. Any equine pecking order he was inserted into always ended up with him at the top. He was an absolute master of intimidation. My vet once laughingly noted, while watching him thoroughly cow two of my other geldings, that although the other two nags had at least a couple of hundred pounds each on him and were much younger, he had a couple of tons of attitude on them. And that that was all that was really required to be the boss in the equine world. And the world of Republican politics doesn't appear much different.

Trump has that tonnage of attitude because he truly believes in no other possibility other than him being the boss, just like my little gelding did. DeSantis and those other nefarious schmoes ain't got that, fortunately. Dealing with more than one real deal at a time may be more than all of us are up for.

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Thank you for posting the link to King's letter from the Birmingham jail. As familiar as I am with some of its oft-cited quotes, I am ashamed to admit I'd never read it in its entirety before. Quite a compelling document.

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With regards to the letter from a Birmingham Jail, I'm starting to wonder if the country's educational problem isn't that we're learning enough, rather that we're overlearning and forgetting the important stuff to make room.

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I don't think that there has been an exception yet to "Everything Trump touches dies." Maybe DeSantis can pull it off, but I am betting against it.

There is something grotesque about all of this playing out as his wife is being treated for breast cancer.

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All sublime. I recalled the Birmingham letter as filled with self evident facts and inarguable reasoning. The emergence of Khruschev after the death of Stalin was unsurprising . . .As others have said "best prediction."

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I think I'm just a touch more bullish on DeSantis' prospects than some.

(Not bullish on the man himself, he's self-serving scum with the blood of thousands on his hands.)

Trump, I think, is more vulnerable than most realize. There's a mindset sunk in around any sort of opposition to Trump because he drew the inside straight in 2016, combined with his incessant bluster that converts any loss into a win in his mind and the minds of his adherents and sycophants.

DeSantis has certain advantages that none of the other prospective challengers possess right now.

He's got his own record to run on. I expect most of us find that record utterly abysmal, but in the information silo of his target audience, it's a brilliant record of theatrical defiance and actual achievement.

He's been vax-defiant enough to siphon a percentage of anti-vaxxers who are upset at Trump.

That he's not a publicly crass slob on a Trumpian scale but essentially delivers on the red meat of the Trump agenda appeals to the sliver of the electorate that wants Trumpism without Trump.

He's not been directly cowed by Trump the way the others have- there's no Cruz photo of glumly working the phone banks, the endless Graham sycophancy, etc. DeSantis is the closest thing Trump actually has to a peer in the party, in the minds of a good part of the base.

He has a good leader look. Shallow as it is, the aesthetics are there and they do matter.

He has the chance to move forward and establish a positive agenda. I mentioned to JVL last year that Trump's big problem going forward was that his campaign for '24 would boil down to 'I was robbed' and how even if that were true, it still becomes whining after a while. Trump is largely oblivious to this not being a winning position because as far as he's concerned the '20 election is the single most important thing in all reality because it's the most important thing in his reality.

Trump was elected on a positive platform. Build the wall (translating to 'protect your families/country from the invasion of other'), lock her up (end the criminal corruption that plagues the system and directly assaults/condescends to the GOP base), drain the swamp (same).

'Build the wall' isn't going to drive things this time, and 'finish the wall' just doesn't have the same ring. Maybe somebody comes up with a clever anti-CRT chant, but I'm skeptical.

This all isn't to say that Trump can't coast back to the nom on the residuals of his complete dominance from '16 to '20, but that's exactly what he's on right now- a glide path. DeSantis has the chance to actually energize things and pry away portions of the base, especially if he moves early to link up with another relatively undamaged MAGA adherent- MTG brings unimpeachable MAGA street cred to the table. Noem's a bit damaged right now by her own issues, but we're talking the primaries in '24, not current events in '22. The main issue with Noem I would think is that her own obvious ambition is to lead a ticket.

On the other hand, DeSantis could also easily evaporate under the glare of greater public scrutiny once he reaches the point where more people start knowing he exists than the political junkies who actually pay attention to things between elections.

I don't think Don Jr. has a chance at all, he lacks Trump's capacity for earnest bluster, and the prominence of Guilfoyle in his life and politics makes him look weak. The Proud Boy types want the women in their leaders' lives decorative and humble, not screaming at speeches and chastising Groypers when they're chasing her and Jr. out of public events.

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Every word of this rings totally true. If the GOP gets the real Trump, it will lose. If it gets a Trump-wannabe it will lose both the non-crazy right AND the dedicated Trumpers. Could't happen to a more deserving crew.

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In terms of personal traits (character, judgement, self-servitude..but minus the ability to galvanize a base), the straight line progression from Trump is Lin Wood. I'm not saying Lin Wood is the heir apparent. But Lin Wood is the functional equivalent.

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