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.
Marcus and Jeff (Jeff, not sure if you were responding in part to my comment): Just would like to clarify. My point was that the National Guard stuff is competing with what K/E are trying to say now. To the extent the National Guard coverage is being driven by 527s K/E cannot directly rein that in even if they would very much like to do so. If they did as you suggested, Marcus–make a public statement expressing their desire or intention to focus for the duration of this campaign on the issues voters are concerned about today–perhaps any 527s, with whom they cannot directly communicate, and other K/E supporters who are pushing more National Guard coverage would get the message and back off. Which of course guarantees nothing in terms of what the media decide to focus on.
I’m not aware of K/E voluntarily discussing Vietnam era events of late. This may be a situation where K/E’s efforts to get back control of the debate are being hurt by well-meaning pro-Kerry 527 groups and/or others.
Rasmussen polls daily and uses a three day rolling average for his daily numbers. Here is what they show:
***The Bush approval and disapproval numbers are exactly where they were before the Republican convention.
***The Bush v. Kerry numbers for voters are exactly where they were before the Republican convention.
Fox Dynamic poll
Fox reported RVs until after their August 4th poll showed Kerry gaining the lead. Once the RVs showed Bush losing the lead, Fox quit reporting their RV results and switched to the LV distinction. This is akin to discovering that Kerry is 6’3 and Bush is 5’9, so the Fox Pollster backs away until Bush APPEARS to be taller from this angle. Yeah, it is that BAD.
Fox shows Bush with only a two point lead TODAY, among LVs.
***Fox has Bush v. Kerry at two point race among LVs, clearly within the margin of error.
Tony makes a good point. As Ruy pointed out (trackback to http://www.emergingdemocraticmajorityweblog.com/donkeyrising/archives/000642.php) Kerry actually got a bump in the battleground. So the fact that ABC shows the race essentially tied in those states should mollify the hand-wringers.
And the ABC/Post poll shows the two tied among all voters in the battleground states. How much of what Bush did was to increase his strength in states he was going to win anyway?
OK, ABC is out. Taking a count again, for polls held at least in part after the convention, using RV’s when available, LV’s when not, we have:
CBS Bush +7 (Sept 6-8)
ABC Bush +6 (Sept 6-8)
Fox Bush +4% (LV, Sept 7-8)
Gallup Bush +1% (Sept 3-5)
ICR Kerry +1% (Sept 1-5)
There’s the question of what Labor Day is doing to all of this. And of whether the LV list (which favors Bush more) is better than the RV list. But this set has a median of Bush up by 4%. Hardly insurmountable.
I look forward to Ruy giving us a lot more insight on all of this.
Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. That’s most likely the election. And the debates.
Logan, I don’t think Inside politics is all that bad. I always found Judy Woodruff pretty fair and Bill Snider usually tilts to the left. Of course I think it is a little to early to say we have a front runner. If two weeks after the convention ALL the polls show a more than 5 point lead, than that could be true. Even then we have the debates. I heard that when Regan Ran against Carter that Carter had a double didget lead going into the debates then after the debates Carter was toast.
As far as the media declaring Bush the “frontrunner.” I knew this would happen.
I mean, didn’t we all?
When Kerry is ahead by 5 or 6% it is a virtual tie.
When Bush is ahead by 5 or 6% he is the “clear front runner.”
Truth is, Kerry should embrace his new “underdog status.” Let it be how he connects with people.
He can claim that, like the people, he is the underdog against corporate interests, et al.
He then should say, there are more of us then them.
P.S. I agree that he should stop talking about Vietnam. Christ Almighty. I wish he had never brought up fucking Vietnam.
Think about the irony. That pitiful country cost us the 1968 and 1972 elections. Imagine if it costs us 2004 as well.
P.P.S. I’m beginning to think that Kerry is a dipshit.
ABC poll includes “leaners.”
Well someone’s wrong. Either Zogby, Rasmussen Economist and Fox or CBS, ABC, Newsweek and Time.
I understand how you can spin maybe one or two polls, but almost every mainstream poll coming out lately has Bush up. ABC and CBS came out today. both have Bush up by seven and nine respectively. Can all these polls be wrong at the moment?
> Just a followup comment. When the Republicans were
> trying to run Clinton out of town on a rail Carville
> used to say that the public wants to know what the
> politicians are going to do about their problems and
> has little use for politicians who want all the talk to be
> about themselves and who did what to whom when.
Precisely why Kerry needs to stop talking about Vietnam already… Sure, he is justifiably proud of his medals, but that’s no substitute for real policies and ideas. If he can present those to the American public (and avoid “Kerrymeandering” by giving simple, clear answers to questions) during the debates, he still has a good chance.
Fortunately, “Shrub” also has offered little but cliches and tired rhetoric for his political base.
Just a followup comment. When the Republicans were trying to run Clinton out of town on a rail Carville used to say that the public wants to know what the politicians are going to do about their problems and has little use for politicians who want all the talk to be about themselves and who did what to whom when. Something along those lines.
This sort of mindset says: when you come right down to it, our side just has better ideas about what to do to improve the lives of ordinary citizens. The public has for decades agreed. It continues to agree. When we offer our ideas in straightforward, digestible language that frames the choice clearly, we usually win.
Why is Bill Schneider of CNN allowed to lie about the polls on their little Inside Politics right wing biased show? All the legitimate polls show a close race, yet Mr. Schneider claimed, “Well, we can now say that Bush is the clear front runner.” Say what? Just recently Kerry was in the lead, by about the same margins as Bush is supposedly now, yet Mr. S. nor anyone at CNN ever called Kerry the front runner. The Bush crowd and their media mininons are obvioulsy trying to use fake polls to influence a “band waggon” effort to sway voters, which seems really crass and clearly based on fake data.
Marcus, likewise I am hoping this campaign will move to, and stay in, the 21st century from this point forward. The National Guard stuff that is being reported is competing with what K/E are trying to get out there. If it’s about the distant past we are way off message. Yes, Bush and his surrogates continue to deceive about the distant past. But they have been both deceitful and wildly incorrect in what they have said to the public on matters of much more pressing concern to the voters.
Not really related to the Subject, but I think Kerry needs to do the smart but high-minded thing by urging _EVERYONE_ to stop talking about the supposed inconsistencies regarding a) “Shrub’s” national guard service in the early 70’s, b) his own Vietnam record. As some pundit pointed out, this discussion will not bring a single U.S. serviceman home from Iraq and nor will it be very helpful when trying to figure out how to shrink the annual $0.5-trillion federal deficit.
Let’s face it: the likelihood of another four years of “Shrub” will decrease if the election debate is focused on factual issues like the federal economy, jobs, Iraq and the role the current President’s decisions has played in all that. Conversely, an angry mud-slinging debate will only divert attention away from this Administration’s many failures while discouraging independents from voting for anybody. This will make it easier for Karl Rove to win by simply bringing the committed GOP base to the voting booths.
Interesting that Fox News has a poll that shows Kerry doing better than CBS’ poll.
And to answer some of JDC’s questions, I think Kerry has some ground to make up, but not really a lot. I don’t think Bush holds that “strong” a lead; to me strong indicates a wide margin that has held up for a long time, not a few points gained over the last couple of weeks. I
If Bush gets PA and FL, then I think he wins. But I personally wouldn’t bet too heavily on him winning Pennsylvania. With the GOP convention just last week, and with all the “Kerry is tanking/can’t do anything right” coverage we’ve been subjected to lately, this may be Bush’s highwater mark (barring external events, of course) and they’re still tied there.
Does anyone know what has happened to coldheartedtruth.com?
Ruy or anyone,
At this site:
…the ECV map seems to indicate Bush is holding a strong lead in the state polls and the national map. Aside from the Gallup fallacies you’ve been discussing, are there other fallacies internal to it, or is it accurate that Kerrry has alot of ground to make up? Is Zogby worth following or not?
If Pennsylvania and Florida break for Bush, is the election over?