Friday, June 02, 2023


Chris Christie plans to launch his doomed presidential campaign on Tuesday -- but even though he's at 1% in the polls, we continue to be told that he'll beat up Donald Trump in the debates the way he beat up Marco Rubio in 2016. I've questioned that narrative -- in our memory, Christie felled Rubio with one punch, whereas in reality Rubio sunk himself by robotically repeating his "Barack Obama knows exactly what he's doing" talking point even after Christie called him on it. But even if you believe Christie has the skills to hurt Trump in a debate, it's now looking as if there might not be any debates:
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ rage against CNN and MSNBC — along with former President Trump’s polling lead and distrust of Fox News — has created a deadlock over who will host the rest of the 2024 GOP presidential debates, and uncertainty over whether they'll happen at all....

Trump's campaign believes his opponents need the primary debates more than he does because they're behind him in polls. And Trump — feeling slighted by Fox News' coverage of DeSantis, has indicated that he's wary of the network hosting debates, two sources told Axios.

DeSantis, running second in GOP polling, has been pushing back against the Republican National Committee sanctioning a debate with CNN or NBC News, which are both salivating over the chance to host a 2024 primary debate, sources told Axios.
If Christie could sink Trump, DeSantis would be the principal beneficiary. It would be hilarious if DeSantis's "never step out of the right-wing bubble" campaign strategy helped lead to a primary campaign with no debates, and Trump sailed to the nomination unchallenged.

As for Christie, even if there are debates, he might not be allowed to participate:
... a showdown may not come to pass because of a proposed requirement that candidates must have at least 40,000 unique donors to make the first scheduled debate in August ― a threshold Christie, who had difficulty raising small-dollar donations when he ran in 2016, may not be able to meet in just two months.

... And a failure to hit the 40,000-donor mark in time to make the August debate stage in Milwaukee could, in turn, thwart Christie’s ability to raise his profile, resulting in a failure to make the proposed 50,000-donor threshold for the September debate in California or the 60,000 threshold for the October one in Alabama.
Christie really doesn't appeal to ordinary donors:
Raising money from lots of people in small increments ... would be a dramatic change in approach for Christie. Of the $8.7 million he raised in 2016, less than $500,000 came from small-dollar donors giving $200 or less, according to Federal Election Commission filings. In an October 2015 analysis by Common Cause, Christie ranked fifth from the bottom among the two dozen 2016 candidates for small-dollar fundraising.
Yes, because the only people who actually like Christie, apart from "liberal media" journalists, are Wall Street Masters of the Universe, many of whom live in his state.

Christie and his media admirers have been telling us for months that he's the only Republican with the courage to attack Trump. But that's no longer true. DeSantis is on the attack now. Sadly for him, it's not working -- according to a new Yahoo News poll, DeSantis's numbers have been dropping since he launched his campaign.

You can't beat Trump by attacking him. You can only beat him by making a persuasive case that you can own more libs than he can. DeSantis was the best positioned to make that case, but even he's falling short. If DeSantis's brutality as governor isn't enough to unseat Trump, frontal attacks won't help, either.

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