ZMan has a look in on all this Trump/DeSantis nonsense.
Ron Versus Don
The basic argument from the DeSantis partisans is that he has a chance to win the general election, while Trump has no chance. More important, DeSantis knows how to govern, which he has proven in Florida. There is no doubt that he has been a great governor for Florida. He also has a very friendly state legislature, which makes it simple for him to get things done. There is no data to suggest he has a better shot against Biden than Trump, but that is the claim.
The truth is electability has never been a factor in these races. Most voters are not like most Republican politicians in that they do not negotiate with themselves. They vote for the candidate they like, not the candidate that a conservative commentator swears will be acceptable to the Democrats. Even if their preferred option has no chance in the general, most voters will go for the guy who speaks to them. It turns out that most people are decent and honest, not scheming weasels.
That is the argument for Trump. Despite his faults, and he has many, he represents those decent and honest people. He is a symbol, more than a candidate. Supporting Trump is about opposing the people who rule over us. It is as close as we get in America to class warfare. Trump’s voters are the great unwashed, the forgotten Americans who hate what has happened to their country. Trump is not the solution, but he makes noise on their behalf. That is enough.
Both camps are right in the same way that two people who have different favorite ice creams are right, even though they disagree. There is no empirical argument in favor of either guy as it is purely a matter of opinion. Pedro Gonzales is mad at Trump for not being the savior he hoped for in 2016, so he is has jumped on the DeSantis side, while Scott Greer still loves Trump and now hates DeSantis. Their arguments in favor of their guy are cognitively meaningless.
That said, we can assess the electability claim. The place to start is the 2020 election broken out by electoral votes. All of those national polls that people wave around are meaningless as we pick presidents by indirect election. In the last election, Biden won 303 electoral votes, while Trump got 235. The threshold to win is 270. There were a lot of shenanigans in the 2020 election, but they were repeated in 2022, so we have to treat them as a feature, rather than a bug.
He goes on to do some juggling with the state-by-state math of the thing, and the sum of the equation is necessarily neither pretty nor reassuring.
What this tells us is the odds for a Republican win are awfully long. They have to win states that are mostly in the other camp by default. Then they have to defend their own states, some of which are trending the wrong way. The Yankee invasion of North Carolina is turning the state into Virginia. Texas is slowly becoming California as those weirdos arrive in droves. Barring some sort of black swan event, Joe Biden will cruise to victory in 2024 no matter his opponent.
What this says is that the choice for Republicans is not centered on electability, but who they prefer to see lose in 2024. The neocons and conservatives prefer to see Trump lose, but they are so full of hatred of white people now, they will root against him in the primary, even if it works against their interests. The DeSantis fans are coming around to the same view, thinking that Trump is some sort of bad juju that must be exorcised in order to return to the 1980’s.
For dissidents, it is a different question. DeSantis is a good governor and it would be better if he finished the job and set an example for others. We do not need another too nice to win loser presidential candidate. Trump is a crazy man who sends the bad guys into paroxysms of vengeful hysteria. He was a lousy president, but he has proven to be a great wrecking ball. His revenge tour, especially if he is indicted, will be the mother of all crap shows. A good time will be had by all.
I’m with him on that. Read on to the very end; Z’s conclusion—“there is no path forward in the current system”—is dead accurate, as well as damned unsettling. I wish there was a credible counterargument to be made, but honestly, there isn’t. No honest, genuine candidate intent on real reform will ever again be “elected” President. Should one somehow manage an end-run against the rigged process and prevail, against all odds, he will be thwarted by the Shadow State apparat entire right from Day One. If you want Unity, well, you’ll certainly see some then—all you ever wanted to see of it, and then some.
Update! Bill is slightly more optimistic—at least, this is what passes for optimism in these dark, parlous days.
I think this is probably right, at least for America right now. But I don’t think the current situation will maintain for that much longer. There are too many systemic, technological, and generational forces at work reshaping our nation, and it is by no means certain that the nation as presently constituted will survive them, especially since they will be coming to a head over the next six years or so.
Which means that we may have only one more “normal” election cycle before all hell breaks loose. So don’t place any long-term bets on what that red and blue map says today. It may not even exist for the 2026 and 2028 elections. And although we can’t see them clearly (yet), I have to assume there is a whole flock of black swans flapping around out there, looking for places to come home to roost.
Yep. In times like this, the one and only thing we can know for sure is that we won’t know for sure until we find ourselves right smack in the middle of it. Not a particularly cheering thought, but it’s the best we’re going to get. As all the cool kids like to say nowadays, it is what it is.
If that isn’t what the cool kids say, please don’t tell me, aiight? Ahem.