Friday, November 04, 2022


America is on the verge of becoming an autocracy, while the world is on fire in multiple ways -- how is our political press rising (or failing to rise) to the occasion?

Portions of the press are responding by being shills and stenographers for the campaigns of the two credible contenders for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. First, on Wednesday, we had this from Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman:

... For much of the past year, DeSantis has acted like a presidential candidate-in-waiting, leading many to believe he would take on Trump if the former president, as expected, gets in the race.

... But according to four prominent Republicans, DeSantis appears to be reconsidering his plans to run. Sources told me DeSantis recently indicated to donors that he would not challenge Trump for the Republican nomination. “He’s led them to believe he will not run if Trump does,” a Republican briefed on the donor conversations told me. Another source told me DeSantis’s calculus is that, at age 44, he can easily wait until the next presidential cycle, so why risk a brutal primary fight against a pugilist like Trump? “He can walk into the presidency in 2028 without pissing off Trump or Florida,” the source said. “What would you rather do? Be the governor of Florida for certain or go run for president?”
That's not a news story -- it's a Trump '24 press release. And this article from Politico's Matt Dixon, which followed yesterday, is a DeSantis '24 press release:
‘De facto frontrunner’: DeSantis’ $200 million haul positions him for 2024 run

... Between his direct campaign and the aligned political committee, donors big and small have given DeSantis more than $200 million for his reelection bid, a staggering sum that is likely the most raised by any gubernatorial candidate in American history.

... DeSantis has more than $90 million remaining in the bank after spending about $100 million total this election cycle on his reelection bid via his aligned committee and campaign. That huge sum is fueling speculation that the Florida governor, who cannot run for a third term, will use it to seed the early stages of a potential 2024 bid for the White House.

“If you look at where the money is coming from, it’s indicative of Gov. DeSantis being seen by national donors as the de facto frontrunner for president,” said Slater Bayliss, a longtime Florida Republican lobbyist who supports DeSantis.
Both of these stories can't be true, obviously, but each one is presented as the straight dope from a savvy insider.

DeSantis wins this battle because the Politico story is longer and gushier. See Dixon swoon as he describes DeSantis's awesomeness:
DeSantis’ politics and get-it-done governing style, coupled with national donors starting to gravitate toward DeSantis over former President Donald Trump, has sparked national interest from both large GOP donors and grassroots-type small-dollar contributors to give to the Republican governor, Bayliss said.

... “It has long been said that ‘money is the mother’s milk of politics,’” said longtime Florida Republican consultant David Johnson, a former executive director for the Republican Party of Florida. “The DeSantis team has built a national dairy farm to table operation in just four years. We have seen large networked donor operations on a grand scale operate in the past, to some great effect.”

“Team DeSantis is more notable because it is small, fierce and reaping such huge amounts,” he added.

DeSantis ... has at least one contribution from all 50 states....
The media's obsession with horserace coverage is bad enough, but this isn't even objective horserace coverage -- Sherman and Dixon are offering pure spin from rival campaigns. But making nice will undoubtedly lead to a sweet book deal for one of these stenographers if Trump or DeSantis wins in November 2024. And I guess that's all that matters.

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