January 25, 2023

"By this time four years ago, the Democratic presidential campaign was in full swing, with Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and Kirsten Gillibrand..."

"...  all having opened exploratory committees or announced runs. This go around, the Republican field is frozen in place. Those preparing to challenge Donald Trump in the GOP’s presidential primary are taking their time.... An adviser to one potential presidential candidate has discussed with members of at least two other potential candidates’ teams the advantage of multiple candidates announcing around the same time, according to one Republican strategist briefed on those talks...."

From "Frozen: Trump’s primary challengers balk at jumping into the unknown" (Politico).

That makes it sound as though they're intimidated by Trump's strength — a strategist uses the phrase "safety in numbers" — but the piece goes on to say Trump is doing a good enough job defeating himself on his own:

“When you see Trump in a free fall, why get in the middle of that?” said a Republican strategist who has discussed the early primary calendar with several potential candidates.

And why help him by giving him somebody to fight:

[A]s another prominent GOP strategist put it: “Trump’s best when he’s got an opponent, so don’t give him one.”

Why be his “low-energy Jeb”/“little Marco Rubio”/“lyin’ Ted Cruz”?

Once one upper-tier candidate announces, others will be compelled to compete, lest they lose time to recruit staff, fundraisers, online support and exposure.... But with the exception of Republicans like former Rep. Liz Cheney or former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who may run primarily as anti-Trump candidates, there is almost no imperative to jump first....

Dave Carney, the veteran Republican strategist who advises Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who hasn’t ruled out a presidential run, said it’s so early in the election cycle that “no one’s paying attention.” If a candidate announces today, he said, “what are they going to be asked about? Debt ceiling, Biden’s papers. You’re not going to be on message.” 

And even if they otherwise could stay on message, they would have Trump to knock them off. “As soon as someone pops their head up, Trump will be whacking on them,” Carney said.

44 comments:

Dave Begley said...

Trump has promised to trash Ron with “stuff even his wife doesn’t know.”

I don’t believe him.

RideSpaceMountain said...

"Trump is doing a good enough job defeating himself on his own"

This. And it hurts to say that.

- the superhero card thing
- the personal pridefest party
- throwing pro-lifers under the bus for the midterms
- support for McCarthy

All in the span of 60 days. So Donald, what's next? Swooping in with support for Manchin? Walking back comments on China's lack of fair play? Or something outrageous and Biff-like aimed at DeSantis that further divides conservatives?

That's the real problem. 99% of voters won't remember the last 60 days, but what new unforced errors are on the horizon?

Temujin said...

All good points. Trump will play 'whack-a-mole' when the candidates start popping their heads up. But he'll have a fight with DeSantis. DeSantis and his team are very sharp and he seems to be a strategic thinker. Not so much an emotional doer, like Trump. When DeSantis comes out with a policy, it seems as though they've already run through the scenarios of how it'll be portrayed, and how to stay the plan and win out. I think they'll approach the candidacy, running against Trump, similarly. Strategically and not just reactively. And he won't have that 'deer-in-the-headlights' look that JEB! made so famous.

Now, the other question: When will those Democrats itching to be President start making noises about jumping in? Does anybody seriously think Joe Biden will be around by July, let alone next election? Does anybody seriously think Kamala is going to be the standard bearer for all things on the far left? No. Elizabeth Warren is thinking about it. Petey Buttigieg wants to, though he's even more laughable now. Who dey got? Seriously. Who do the Dems have?

tim in vermont said...

Both Trump and DeSantis are beating Biden in early polls. I don't even know that DeSantis is running.

Mrs. X said...

Or maybe the potential Republican candidates are thinking, “When you see Biden in free fall, why get in the middle of that?”

MadTownGuy said...

I've made the claim before, which i can substantiate with precedent (Todd Akin) and circumstantial evidence (in 2016, when Trump announced his candidacy, the RNC didn't want him, he stank up the discourse in the debates) - the claim is that Donald Trump was supposed to be a straw candidate, easily defeated by Her Majesty HRC. That time, the DNC underestimated her unpopularity and he won.

What I wonder is, what is the RNC doing to manage this situation? I believe they could have done something about it then; can they do something about it now?

tim in vermont said...

The Democrats are spending hundreds of millions today electorate proofing PA, WI, AZ... It's why it doesn't bother then that Biden is doing so badly with voters. Voters don't matter, we are post democratic now. I wish somebody could explain to me how the "stakeholder capitalism" that the WEF is pushing is meaningfully different than fascism. Is it the lack of Hugo Boss uniforms?

Robert Marshall said...

I think DeSantis believes it best at this point not to "run" for President, but to audition instead. Show what successful governance looks like, running Florida.

Sure, the issues aren't the same in DC as in Tallahassee, but the skill set required is very similar for the executive. Showing that skill set is the best campaign strategy for now.

Gusty Winds said...

But with the exception of Republicans like former Rep. Liz Cheney or former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who may run primarily as anti-Trump candidates, there is almost no imperative to jump first....

And when these Deep State RINO clowns jump in the race things will get really fun. At least Bill Kristol and Charlie Sykes will have someone to support besides McMuffin.

Everyone is just waiting on DeSantis. Every other potential GOP primary candidate is just window dressing. It's Trump or DeSantis. Why hurry to jump into a race you're not going to win?

Does anybody REALLY give a shit about Mike Pence? Pompeo?

MikeR said...

DeSantis is running, and I don't know who else is running or why they would.

Bob Boyd said...

Who dey got? Seriously

The American Trudeau, Gavin Newsome?

Michelle?

Iman said...

Politico needs to distract from the current nightmare in the White House. As does most of the legacy (read corporate) media.

This is a strategy pulled out of their dog-eared comic books.

Roger Sweeny said...

Not that long ago, the presidential campaign did not begin until the calendar year of the election. I would be thrilled if nobody announced before January 1, 2024. I suspect I am not the only one.

Yancey Ward said...

The party elite are probably trying to avoid the situation in 2015 where the field was too large to defeat Trump in the primaries. They are trying to do what the Democrats actually did in 2020- clear the field for the chosen candidate.

Yancey Ward said...

My prediction holds- DeSantis does run, and when he makes that decision around September (what was the normal date for starting a run up until around 2003), the party will try to convince everyone else to stand down. Not sure it will work, but I still expect DeSantis to win the nomination.

Yancey Ward said...

Temujin asked:

"Who dey got? Seriously. Who do the Dems have?"

Newsom is who wants it and has the support of the huge California money interests. He has taken the correct tact, too- announce he will not oppose Biden if Biden runs again, but he is counting on Biden being convinced to not run again some time this year.

There was this hilarious tweet from last week.

Mr Wibble said...

"Republican strategists" are who led the party to disaster.

Sebastian said...

"Trump is doing a good enough job defeating himself on his own"

Good, but not yet good enough. But the anti-evangelical vibes will hurt.

Drago said...

MikeR: "DeSantis is running, and I don't know who else is running or why they would."

Because they can climb on the dem/left/GOPe (but I repeat myself) Anti-Trump Campaign Cash Train and keep a large portion of that for later personal use, plus keep getting their egos stroked on LLR Chuck's favorite networks: MSNBC and CNN.

What's not to like?

Big Mike said...

That's the real problem. 99% of voters won't remember the last 60 days, but what new unforced errors are on the horizon?

And that unforced errors will definitely come is something you can count on. Damn it!

Tom T. said...

The problem for many of the candidates is not that Trump might run, it's that Trump's success in 2016 showed that the party doesn't want them. There's no conceivable basis for a run by Rubio or Kasich or anyone like them, for instance.

DeSantis this far seems quite disciplined, and he has a very competent team working for him. My guess is that he will try to campaign as if he's the de facto consensus choice and avoid getting pulled into pissing matches with Trump. This didn't work for Jeb (who was also a Florida governor) in 2016, but Jeb was a squish and was obviously intimidated by Trump. We'll just have to see if DeSantis can hold up stronger.

Wince said...

The RNC chair will be decided on Friday.

iowan2 said...

, according to one Republican strategist briefed on those talks...."

Republican strategist are professional grifters, not knowledgeable election consultants. They have been wrong for at least 40 years.
Gains by Republican Politicians almost exclusively come from those Republicans going against the advice of the "inner" circle. Gains by Republicans came from local and district wins, by Republicans listening to the Voter. Republican Consultants listen to donors.

Jamie said...

That time, the DNC underestimated her unpopularity and he won.

OVERestimated.

Her appeal had become more... selective.

Bob Boyd said...

Who dey got? Seriously.

Joe Manchin?

Drago said...

Mr Wibble: ""Republican strategists" are who led the party to disaster."

But the McConnellites got very wealthy doing it. So it was only a disaster for the republican base voters and the American people. The dems and their GOPe allies made out like bandits.

That's why its so important to this GOPe consultant class that Ronna Romney continue in her role to lead the republicans down the road to more profitable disaster.

What's always surprising is how many GOP voters see all that and still want to blame the outsiders for the condition of today's republican party.

It's pretty amazing.

A very typical example of how the GOPe self-sabotages its own candidates

Lurker21 said...

Two weeks ago the media was complaining about how divided and disorganized the Republicans were. Now the story is why aren't they more divided and why aren't they already squabbling over who will get the nomination. Should we really take the 2020 Democrat candidates who all quickly fell into line behind Biden as any model of a lively, contentious democracy?
_

DeSantis has to worry about the fundraising clock. Sure, he can raise money, but the longer he does it and the more he has the better it will be for a DeSantis campaign. He also has to worry about the bigger clock. He's popular now. Will he be so popular in 5 years?
_

Kamala should have had kids of her own. That would have made it easier for her to back out and say she needs to spend more time with her family. Adult stepchildren aren't as good, even if they are very messed up.

Michael K said...

Republican strategist are professional grifters, not knowledgeable election consultants. They have been wrong for at least 40 years.

Yup and Trump's son-in-law hired one for 2020 and they spent all the money by September.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

Trump should get out of the way and let a real winner... win.

Trump will sink us all in 2024.

I prefer Trump to crook Biden - OF COURSE, But odds are with Trump - we get more Crook Biden.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

Trump doesn't compete with better ideas at this point - he competes with slime and immature name-calling.
We shall see if that gets swing voters and females to support him.

BUMBLE BEE said...

OOOOH! More Pow Wow Chow comin right up! Thrilling.
Repeat "No Borders, No Wall - No U.S.A. At All".

Mark said...

Nikki Haley is running. So is Kristi Noem.

Big Mike said...

Admit it, guys. The only point of saving Splash Mountain is the young women who lift their tops to flash the camera on the ride down.

Lem Former Twitter Aficionado said...

If Trump is responsible for pushing political campaigns closer to election day... he should get a medal of freedom. Or whatever the civilian highest honor.

Readering said...

Sounds like Haley has raised a bunch of money and will be first to announce. Those with security clearances I assume are cleaning out their vacation homes and boats about now.

hawkeyedjb said...

"Who do the Dems have?"

Does it matter? If they can get Joe Biden elected, they can probably get anyone elected.

mccullough said...

It’s either DeSantis or Trump. Abbott is an old man in a wheel chair. Pence is a pussy.

The GOP women — Haley and Noem — are going nowhere. The GOP won’t vote for a woman. Even the Dems won’t do it after the Hillary debacle.

MadTownGuy said...

Jamie said...

"[That time, the DNC underestimated her unpopularity and he won.]

OVERestimated.

Her appeal had become more... selective.


That misses my point. I think a lot of people who would have otherwise voted (D) went independent, or held their nose and voted for Trump.

Achilles said...

The 2024 primary wont be between Trump and Desantis.

It will be between the oligarchs and murdoch family and political sniffers in blog chats vs. the working and middle class.

Desantis and Trump will be the face of the struggle.

I am assuming that the GOPe will close access to the primaries to only allow "real republicans" to participate because they want to keep power in the hands of lifetime politicians like Desantis.

The political sniffers will all cheer.

The Republican party will never come close to 75 million votes again. It will have no chance in any general again.

The GOP will be a minority party forever because of the people that were wrong about Trump in 2016.

I am also looking forward to the millions in ads against Trump by "3rd party" PAC's that are supporting Desantis just like they attacked Mitt Romney's opponents in 2012.

Desantis will be Mitt Romney 2.0.

Drago said...

HBTPFH: :Trump should get out of the way and let a real winner... win.

Trump will sink us all in 2024."

How can that be when you spend each and every day "detailing" all the ways Trump has already lost all support and is washed up?

Its like you dont believe the things you yourself are claiming.

narciso said...

What happened to their campaigns they went nowhere

Mr Wibble said...

Desantis won't get blue collar Trump voters, and he won't win back suburban women.

veni vidi vici said...

2016 Dem party primary was wide open; 2024 GOP is not, since Trump (the last Republican president) is running again. That matters re. being "in full swing".

My guess is most of the GOP potentials are standing by, waiting to see whether the deepstate and Garland/Wray Dems are going to do Biden's work for him and make it impossible for Trump to run. Once they have some idea of how the wind's blowing, they'll either jump into the race or stand down until 2028.

veni vidi vici said...

The "Republican strategist" talking about Trump defeating himself is probably one of those chinless weasels under the Lincoln Project banner, or that Schmidt loser that ran McCain in '08 and in defeat never stopped talking about how great a job he did. IOW, "Republican strategists" tend to be Democrats. Trump didn't use any of the usual suspects and he won; what a coincidence!

Also, b/c of that, no wonder the consultancy class all hates him the prospect of his candidacy. Always follow the self-interest.