Monday, November 14, 2022


On his podcast last week, Ezra Klein said this about the 2024 Republican presidential contest:
... I do think it’s a mistake right now that the narrative in the press is thinking about 2024 as this two man race, because the nature of Trump and DeSantis both being in the game, and possibly destroying each other like Godzilla and Mothra, is that it creates space for other candidates to emerge. It makes for a more multi-candidate race than it otherwise would be.

If it was just Donald Trump or it was just Ron DeSantis, they would have that lane, like, that main lane of the Republican Party right now, that post-Trump lane to themselves. But it won’t be. And they may well split that lane. And that might create space for a Nikki Haley, a Glenn Youngkin, a Tim Scott, somebody we’re not thinking of right now, to win in New Hampshire. And all of a sudden, a snowball effect happens.

And Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are doing to each other what Chris Christie and Marco Rubio did to each other — what Chris Christie did to Marco Rubio. And so things could just go in very weird ways. And I just — I would really urge people to not get too caught up in just, like, the idea that only DeSantis and Trump — Mike Pence might run. It’s going to be very weird in 2024.
This is not how fandom rivalries work.

Within the Republican Party, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis aren't Chris Christie and Marco Rubio. They're the Beatles and the Stones. They're Prince and Michael Jackson. They're Star Trek and Star Wars, or Marvel and DC.

In rivalries like that, the result is never mutual destruction. Partly that's because the rivalries are usually artificial -- many people are fans of both. But mostly it's because the two rivals are just so damn popular. Some fans disdain one or the other, but nobody wants to be denied both.

Pence, Youngkin, and Haley are like Gerry and the Pacemakers relative to the Beatles and the Stones. No one hated the Beatles and the Stones and wanted Gerry and the Pacemakers to be the dominant group of the 1960s. Or maybe they're Jack Jones, Steve Lawrence, and Eydie Gorme: perfectly fine, but only by the standards of an obsolete culture.

There's only one "lane" in the GOP that runs all the way to the finish line: the I Hate Liberals And "The Establishment" With Every Fiber Of My Being And I Devote All My Waking Hours To Owning Them lane. DeSantis has the capacity to compete in this lane, so it's merely a question of whether Trump can still keep up. But none of the people Klein mentions can compete. They are the Establishment. Most Republican voters see all of them as RINOs.

The dominant message in the Republican Party is always "no compromise." Here's Rick Scott:
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Sunday said Senate GOP leadership “caved” to Democrats on a number of legislative bills over the past year, citing that as one reason Republicans did not perform as well as projected in the midterm elections.

Scott, the chair of the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, told Maria Bartiromo on Fox News channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that Republicans “caved in on the debt ceiling, caved in on a gun bill, caved in on a fake infrastructure bill.”

“We [made] it difficult for our candidates,” the senator said. “We can’t do that.”
That's always -- by far -- the most popular message among Republican voters: Democrats are evil. The main job of the Republican Party is to prevent Democrats from exercising power, ever. Trump and DeSantis can plausibly deliver that message. They won't be defeated by anyone who can't.

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