No, DeSantis Is Not Worse Than Trump
(Because nobody is.)
There’s a lot of news to catch up with today:
Matt Gaetz got busted for relying on Chinese propaganda at a congressional yesterday.
At a hearing Tuesday, Gaetz cited, and entered into the record, an article from a newspaper which the Trump administration designated as a propaganda outlet — apparently without knowing that’s what he was doing.
Politico: Supreme Court appears skeptical of Biden’s student debt relief plan.
NYT: In an Epic Battle of Tanks, Russia Was Routed, Repeating Earlier Mistakes.
Chicago’s incumbent mayor was ousted, getting only 17.1 percent of the vote (!) in Tuesday’s primary. The issue that dominated the contest? Crime. Of course. The primary also sets up a stark ideological contrast:
The freak show known as CPAC gets underway. It is hardly breaking news that CPAC has become a carnival of cranks, crackpots, and crazies. CPAC has long been known as the Star Wars bar scene of the conservative movement, but in the Trump era, it has increasingly felt like a cult gathering. A few years ago, the conference featured a golden statue of Trump, FFS.
If anything, it’s gotten worse, which may explain why so many GOPers are giving this year’s event a pass. And it’s not just the meltdown of Matt Schlapp who faces multiple personal and professional problems.
One veteran Republican operative told NBC, “Someone said to me, ‘We all wanted an excuse not to go, and [Matt] Schlapp gave it to us’.”
And there is an alternative:
A reminder: No one is worse than Trump.
“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle,” George Orwell warned. So let’s take a moment to look at what is in front of our noses… right now.
The Demented Orange God King keeps telling us who he is:
Etc., etc., etc.
Imagine reading these on a daily basis and thinking that there is any way that this man should be restored to power, given back the nuclear codes, and control of the DOJ, FBI, CIA, IRS, and the U.S. military...
Damon Linker wrote about this in the NYT. And Mona Charen and I discussed this on our podcast (see below).
As objectionable as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may be (and he ranks remarkably high on both the authoritarian/assh*le meter), Trump continues to be a unique threat. Writes Linker:
So let’s stipulate that Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis would both try to do bad things in office. Mr. Trump still brings something distinctive and much more dangerous to the contest — or rather, several things. He’s flagrantly corrupt. He lies constantly. He’s impulsive and capricious. And he displays a lust for power combined with complete indifference to democratic laws and norms that constrain presidential power….
That makes Mr. Trump categorically more dangerous than anyone else running or likely to run for president in 2024 — including Mr. DeSantis.
Give us a listen
A quick heads-up about Wednesday’s podcast, which will be posted this afternoon. I had an exceptionally delightful (and quite personal) conversation with the Atlantic’s Pulitzer-winning staff writer Jennifer Senior about several of her recent pieces:
“The Puzzling Gap Between How Old You Are and How Old You Think You Are. There are good reasons you always feel 20 percent younger than your actual age.”
“John Fetterman and the Performance of Wellness. The particular challenge of enduring depression as a public figure.”
It’s a bit different than our usual fare, but definitely worth your time.
ICYMI, Tuesday’s podcast was my conversation with Paul Ryan.
You can listen to the whole thing here.
Plus, a bonus: Mona Charen and I discuss Fox News, CPAC, the lab leak theory, and whether DeSantis is worse than Trump.
To listen to the full version of “Just Between Us,” please consider joining Bulwark +.
1. Ron DeSantis’s Illiberal Education Crusade
In today’s Bulwark, Cathy Young deconstructs the illiberalism of DeSantis’s anti-woke jihad.
The “War on Woke” waged by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues with a new bill introduced in the Florida House of Representatives last week, House Bill 999, based on proposals introduced by DeSantis at the end of January. While DeSantis’s office said the proposal would elevate “intellectual freedom,” such language can be seen as Orwellian considering that the bill restricts or bans the teaching of a number of ideas and concepts at public colleges and universities in the Sunshine State.
2. Exposed: Fox’s Pander-for-Profit Business Model
Amanda Carpenter on how the Dominion lawsuit reveals the way Fox truckles for ratings.
There’s a big market for media that lies to its audience under the guise of reporting the news. This case will decide, in part, whether those media put themselves at risk by embracing contempt and deception as a ratings strategy. Regardless of the outcome, the filings show how cynical the model is.
3. How ‘Final Five Voting’ Can Help Save Democracy
In today’s Bulwark, Katherine Gehl writes that by eliminating party primaries and using an instant runoff process, this reform would help reduce the scourge of negative partisanship.
Polarization and gridlock will continue to dominate—and many critical national challenges will remain unaddressed—until we make serious structural changes. The good news is that FFV is both achievable and powerful. It has proven its popularity at the polls. It potential is immense. As Americans become more frustrated with our system of government, it becomes more urgent that we think creatively about how to make it more representative, more responsive, and more accountable. FFV does all three.
When I look at Donald Trump, I see a stupid, spoiled man who wants to disassemble democracy for his own enrichment and vanity.
When I look at Ron DeSantis, I see a smart, determined man who wants to disassemble American democracy motivated by a sense of ideological certainty. Who has at every step used power to punish his perceived adversaries.
The only reason DeSantis is preferable to Trump is that he has the mental capacity to understand the ramifications of nuclear war. That is it, there is nothing else that makes me think DeSantis would be preferable to Trump.
Famous last words. You do not know whether DeSantis is worse than Trump or not. But for certain, the evidence shows that both are so bad that neither should ever be President of the U.S.