Tuesday, January 24, 2023


Reporting from Davos, Semafor's Steve Clemons writes:
One more note about last night’s gathering, which was hosted by Atlantic Council Executive Vice Chair Adrienne Arsht. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who was in attendance, sounded enthusiastic about a 2024 White House run, a possibility he’s been teasing in recent months. He thought his “authenticity” could break through and his record in Miami on crime and the economy as a rare Republican running a major city would stand out.
Many people who don't have a chance in hell of becoming president run for the office anyway. Some do it because they're delusional -- they don't know they can't win. Others do it because they're trying to position themselves for the #2 slot on the ticket.

Suarez can't win -- if Rick Scott gets in the race as well as Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, Suarez will struggle to be among the top three vote-getters from his own state. I suspect he knows that. Suarez is unlikely to be picked as a running mate, for the simple reason that he's from the same state as the top two candidates. The GOP is allowed to run an all-Florida ticket but, constitutionally, it would then have to forgo all of Florida's electoral votes. Suarez might think someone other than Trump or DeSantis can win the nomination -- a lot of otherwise smart people believe that -- but I suspect he knows better. (And if he really wants to be the presidential nominee of a party full of voters who hate "globalists," why is he saying so at Davos?)

I think Suarez plans to enter the race (a) to raise his profile and (b) to be the model Hispanic the GOP wants on the debate stage to show that it's a really diverse party and that the evil Democrat Party is the party of the real racists (and also to send the message that's it's fine to parrot Fox and Koch boilerplate even if your skin isn't white, a message some non-whites, especially male ones, find comforting).

Since 1996, the GOP has usually managed to have a Black presidential candidate on the debate stage in years when there were contested primaries -- Alan Keyes, Herman Cain, Ben Carson. In 2024, it will be Tim Scott, who clearly is running for vice president, and is also running as a "Look! Our party isn't racist!" candidate. But the GOP thinks it's making more inroads with Latin voters, so the party wants someone Hispanic on that stage too. Suarez has agreed to oblige.

We can assume that the GOP wants to pretend it's a welcoming, big-tent party in its 2024 debates. Despite the fact that Republicans routinely bash the "liberal" media as "fake news," the party has been reaching out to non-conservative news outlets in an effort to schedule primary debates. Among the outlets the party is speaking to are CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC -- and Telemundo. I assumed from Republicans' expressions of hostility last year toward the Commission on Presidential Debates that they had rejected the notion of trying to use debates to reach swing voters, but clearly not. So they'll want Suarez there.

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