A Time magazine poll reported on August 6th concluded “Just as the Democratic Party convention gave the Kerry campaign very little “bounce” in the polls, so have last week’s elevated terror alerts had only limited impact on an electorate already largely decided, according to the latest TIME poll. Senator John Kerry leads President Bush among likely voters by a margin of 48% to 43%, with Ralph Nader running at 4%.”
TDS Strategy Memos
Latest Research from:
By Ed Kilgore
May 26: DeSantis Stumbles Out of the Gate
Like everyone else, I listened to DeSantis’s botched Twitter Spaces launch, but then reached some conclusions about the trajectory of his campaign at New York:
Before long, the laughter over the technical glitches that marred Ron DeSantis’s official presidential campaign launch with Elon Musk on Twitter Spaces will fade. We’ll all probably look back and place this moment in better perspective. Political-media folk (not to mention DeSantis’s Republican rivals and Democratic enemies) tend to overreact to “game changing” moments in campaigns when fundamentals and long-term trends matter infinitely more. Relatively few actual voters were tuned in to Twitter to watch the botched launch, and even fewer will think less of DeSantis as a potential president because of this incident.
It mattered in one respect, however: The screwed-up launch stepped all over a DeSantis campaign reset designed to depict the Florida governor as a political Death Star with unlimited funds and an unbeatable strategy for winning the GOP nomination. The reset was important to rebut the prevailing story line that DeSantis had lost an extraordinary amount of ground since the salad days following his landslide reelection last year, when he briefly looked to be consolidating partywide support as a more electable and less erratic replacement for Donald Trump. For reasons both within and beyond his control, he missed two critical strategic objectives going into the 2024 race: keeping the presidential field small enough to give him a one-on-one shot at Trump and keeping Trump from reestablishing himself as the front-runner with an air of inevitability about a third straight nomination.
To dissipate growing concerns about the DeSantis candidacy, the top chieftains of his Never Back Down super-PAC let it be known earlier this week that they had a plan that would shock and awe the political world, based on their extraordinary financial resources (fed by an $80 million surplus DeSantis transferred from his Florida reelection campaign account). The New York Times wrote up the scheme without questioning its connection to reality:
“A key political group supporting Ron DeSantis’s presidential run is preparing a $100 million voter-outreach push so big it plans to knock on the door of every possible DeSantis voter at least four times in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — and five times in the kickoff Iowa caucuses.
“The effort is part of an on-the-ground organizing operation that intends to hire more than 2,600 field organizers by Labor Day, an extraordinary number of people for even the best-funded campaigns….
“The group said it expected to have an overall budget of at least $200 million.”
In case the numbers didn’t properly document the audacity of this plan, Team DeSantis made it explicit. The Times report continues:
“‘No one has ever contemplated the scale of this organization or operation, let alone done it,’ said Chris Jankowski, the group’s chief executive. ‘This has just never even been dreamed up.’” …
At the helm of the DeSantis super PAC is Jeff Roe, a veteran Republican strategist who was Mr. [Ted] Cruz’s campaign manager in 2016. In an interview, Mr. Roe described an ambitious political apparatus whose 2,600 field organizers by the fall would be roughly double the peak of Senator Bernie Sanders’s entire 2020 primary campaign staff.
Clearly opening up the thesaurus to find metaphors for the extraordinary power and glory of their plans, one DeSantis operative told the Dispatch they were “light speed and light years ahead of any campaign out there, including Trump’s.”
Now more than ever, DeSantis’s campaign will have to prove its grand plans aren’t just fantasies. Those doors in Iowa really will have to be knocked. Thanks to Trump’s current lead, DeSantis will absolutely have to beat expectations there and do just as well in New Hampshire and South Carolina before facing an existential challenge in his and Trump’s home state of Florida. And while DeSantis had a good weekend in Iowa recently, picking up a lot of state legislative endorsements even as Trump canceled a rally due to bad weather that never arrived, he’s got a ways to go. A new Emerson poll of the first-in-the-nation-caucuses state shows Trump leading by an astonishing margin of 62 percent to 20 percent. And obviously enough, Iowa is where DeSantis will likely face the largest number of rivals aside from Trump; he’s a sudden surge from Tim Scott or Mike Pence or Nikki Haley or even Vivek Ramaswamy away from a real Iowa crisis.
Door knocking aside, a focus on Iowa, with its base-dominated caucus system and its large and powerful conservative Evangelical population, will likely force DeSantis to run to Trump’s right even more than he already has. The newly official candidate did not mention abortion policy during his launch event on Twitter; that will have to change, since he has a crucial opportunity to tell Iowa Evangelicals about the six-week ban he recently signed (similar, in fact, to the law Iowa governor Kim Reynolds enacted), in contrast to Trump’s scolding of the anti-abortion movement for extremism. DeSantis also failed once again to talk about his own religious faith, whatever it is; that will probably have to change in Iowa too. He did, however, talk a lot during the launch about his battle against the COVID-19 restrictions the federal government sought to impose on Florida even during the Trump administration. That will very likely continue.
The glitchy launch basically cost DeSantis whatever room for maneuvering he might have enjoyed as the 2024 competition begins to get very real — less than eight months before Iowa Republicans caucus (the exact date remains TBD). He’d better get used to spending a lot of time in Iowa’s churches and Pizza Ranches, and he also needs to begin winning more of the exchanges of potshots with Trump, which will only accelerate from here on out. All the money he has and all the hype and spin his campaign puts out won’t win the nomination now that Trump is fully engaged, and it sure doesn’t look like the 45th president’s legal problems will represent anything other than rocket fuel for his jaunt through the primaries. So for DeSantis, it’s time to put up or shut up.
Well, I won’t be satisfied unless his numbers go back up to the 92% he registered just after 911.
So How to do it. Well, he should lead the whole Republican Convention down to the Hole at Ground Zero, prostrate themselves on the cold ground, and beg forgiveness (Fundi Style) for his failure to take care of his responsibilities after the August 6th warning from the CIA memo. If they beat their breasts long and loud enough, sing lots of songs about how they’ve been forgiven and made whole and all that, raise their arms to the heavens — and then produce bin Laden and burn him at the stake down in the hole — I think that would turn the trick on jacking up their numbers again.
Rove should make sure he acquires a really grand pipe organ for this scene, plus lots of red and orange lights for a massive light show. We are taling about the lord really speaking through the mouths of the Republican Party here, and it’s got to have massive production values.
Don’t!! Don’t you raise those debate expectations again! That was the single most stupid thing the Gore campaign did in 2000: They practically declared their candidate Plato reborn. And then Gore gave his ghastly performance. I still believe he lost it right there, within 1 1/2 hours on October 3rd 2000. (“Can I have the last question?”) He recovered until election day, but as we all know it wasn’t enough.
So please, please let’s all presume Kerry will be a stiff, boring, sad figure, no match for this amiable, charming chap that is the President. Shall we?
Bounce!!!!…. me thinks that this elections aint about bounce. Dont be too surprised if the market isnt too concerned with what Bush has to say.
Lets face it, what can he say? what can say that he has not yet said? If Bush brought new policies to the table, who would believe him?
I think that those who are going to vite for Bush have alrewady been counted. In this regard, I would be surprised to see any significant bounce.
If significant bounce does occur, it would be an indictment on the peoples of america. My mom have ofter said that I should never let the same dog bite me twice. How many times would we allow Bush to promise and never deliver? How many times would we allow him to speak in abstracts with nothing definitive to say? How many times would we allow him to spew rhetoric with a smirk?
I am keen to hear his proposals for his next term in office. I am not even interested in hearing how to plans to handle the iraq situation, or Iran or north Korea. I dont want to hear anything about foregn affairs or any such subject. I just want to hear these great and glowing and powerful proposals to heal America and get the economy on a proper footing.
His current proposals have the economy going like a car with a shaky spark plug. One minute its going, next its chugging along, next its smoking.. you just cant ever sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. So I am waiting and listening with both ears to hear his new plans for 2005 and beyond. I know it will be a plethora of jokes and lies.
I agree that his jab at Kerry did place Kerry between a rock and hard place but I thought to myself that kerry handled that issue many times before and hence it wasnt worth the energy. However, I hope kerry will learn something from Bush’ ploy and that is… “Set the Agenda”. That exactly what Bush is attempting to do. He is seeking to keep Kerry defending and hence never having a chance to attack and make Bush defend.
Its not rocket science, so I hope his handlers recognise the ploy and do everything to diffuse it. Personally, Bush has enough on his plate for Kerry to keep attacking, literally everyday. I dont think he is doing it tho.. but if he thinks that he needs to, he has enough issues on which to push Bush back on the defensive.
In any event, I hope that Kerry never allows this to happen again in this season. I hope that the simply pushes Bush all the way back to Texas..
If Bush gets less than a 15 point bounce he’s dead. Typically, the bounce fritters away in a week or two anyway, and then we’re into debates. Even taking into account the lowered expectations for Bush’s performance, I’m still thinking he won’t unravel, but Kerry will be very impressive. The rest of the bounce will turn take a nose dive and Kerry will be going into the election in very good shape.
Bush should get AT LEAST a 15 point bounce coming out of the Republican Convention. After the convention it will obviously become clear that George Bush’s outstanding leadership should be apparent to most americans. If he doen’t get this bounce which is of course the usual it will mean he is in trouble. (Fellow Dems, I am of course kidding).
Allow me to be the first to predict that George Bush will get a 15% bounce from the Republican National Convention. This is based on historical data involving incumbent Republican presidents who did not win the popular vote in their first election for president. If he does not get the historically predicted 15% bounce, consider the convention a failure for all involved.
I have to agree that responding to Bush’s “question” wasn’t strategically a good idea. Effectively, Kerry validated Bush’s decision to go to war, removing one of the major potential criticisms of the administration. But dodging a question that the Bush campaign would have continued to ask – and more importantly continued to point out that Kerry wasn’t answering would have been just as bad, if not worse.
Maybe we misunderstood, and he really said “we’ve turned to the coroner…”
the question is… where on earth is the corner… any reasons why kerry responded to Bush’s question on Iraq? I thought he had given that response many moons ago… why did he allow Bush to lead him into that question?
Is anyone thinking that Kerry is getting ahead of Bush too fast? Does anyone think that he might soon find his peek and then start to tumble back down the other side?
Of course we have the convention comming up with a week of listening how great the economy is and getting better. His choir got quite a jolt last week with the news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I think Georgie is taking a page from Herbert Hoover who promised a “Chicken in Every Pot” just before the depressiion of the 30’s. “Vote For Me Everything Is Just Around The Corner”.
All the Kings horses and all the Kings men can’t seem to put “Humpty Dumpty” together . Most of the news media have become shills for GW. Maybe the electorat isn’t so dumb after all.
The website 2.004K.com lists national and state polls. Of the most recent 32 polls listed, Bush leads in two, one (Arkansas) is a tie, and Kerry leads in the other 29. Moreover, the two in which Bush led (one poll each in Florida and Ohio) have since been supersed by polls which show Kerry leading in both states.