End of Days
Snapshots from a decadent democratic republic.
Tonight is TNB: Join Tim Miller, Sarah Longwell, Mona Charen, and special guest Dave Weigel. They’re going to talk about the election, obviously.
1. Mixed Messages
We’ve talked about this subject before, but I want to hit it again.
Chris Sununu is running for reelection as New Hampshire’s governor. According to him, life in New Hampshire is great and the state’s economy is thriving.
Things sound pretty great in New Hampshire! The economy is booming, there’s a budget surplus, businesses are opening. The Granite State is the envy of America.
Also: New Hampshire has three Democrats up for reelection next week and voters must replace them with Republicans because people in New Hampshire are freezing and starving about to be homeless. American carnage!
Here are the arguments of the Republicans running for Senate and NH’s two House seats:
So which is it?
Is New Hampshire the envy of America, with businesses booming and the economy humming? Or are the people of New Hampshire huddled in the cold, foraging for berries because they can’t afford heat, food, or even an apartment?
The Republican party says: Both!
It will be revealing to see how New Hampshire voters respond to these schizophrenic messages.1
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2. Performative Governance
Remember when Ron DeSantis sent his special voter police to round up people who’d committed vote fraud in 2020?2
As was suspected at the time, those arrests aren’t holding up very well:
In August, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) held a "campaign-style event" and announced that 20 people had been arrested "for breaking Florida’s elections laws." In a press release, DeSantis' office set aside the presumption of innocence, branding the group "election criminals."
The arrests were the result of charges filed by the Office of Election Crimes and Security, a new office created by DeSantis. The announcement successfully generated headlines that would appeal to voters looking for validation of Trump's lies about the 2020 election . . .
All of those charged were previously stripped of their right to vote after being convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense but voted in the 2020 election. . . .
How were 20 ineligible people permitted to vote? We now know it was because the State of Florida failed to do its job.
A prospective voter fills out a voter registration form and submits it to their local election supervisor. The local official then transmits the application to the Florida Department of State, which is responsible for cross-checking the application against a criminal database to determine whether the voter is eligible. In all 20 cases, the Florida Department of State did not flag the voter as ineligible. Therefore, local supervisors issued voter ID cards. So DeSantis is touting the arrests of people who believed they were eligible to vote because of the DeSantis administration's failures.
Spoiler: These arrests aren’t going to hold up in court. But that’s par for DeSantis, whose governing style is heavily tilted in favor of passing performative, unconstitutional legislation that fails legals tests.
Don’t worry: He’s going to get reelected, too, because
Joe Biden’s the economy in Florida is booming and people down there are satisfied with their quality of life, but also outraged at how terrible everything is.
3. Vance 2028. Probably.
Ohioans are going to send J.D. Vance to the Senate even though they kind of hate him.
A fact that is potentially related to the palpable absence of Vance Fever: The places he has lived as an adult are occupied by the people he has made his new political career out of describing as weirdo scumbags. East Walnut Hills, the neighborhood where his family lives in Cincinnati, is dotted with Victorian houses that have been renovated in pastel colors and are often adorned with Pride flags; the coffee shop I stopped at there sold nut-free granola out of consideration for allergies and advertised that its organic ingredients are delivered in electric vehicles. . . .
Two hours away, across the street from his old apartment in Columbus, there was a house decorated with a modern liberal trifecta—the flag of Ukraine, a rainbow flag, and a Black Lives Matter poster. (The homes were in German Village, a classically “walkable” neighborhood that is Ohio’s ground zero for restaurants that serve $14 cocktails and, like, molasses-glazed Brussels sprouts.) Near the coworking space where his company had been registered, over the bar, there is a trans-inclusive club called Bloom that advertises drag performances. (Vance asserted on a February podcast with Steve Bannon that the U.S. military is allied with Ukraine because Vladimir Putin doesn’t support transgender rights.) On the wrought-iron fence outside Vance’s impressive house and lawn, there is a sign that says, “Drive like your kids live here.”
I have a theory about nat-con elites like Vance: They are motivated primarily by dislike of their neighbors and peers. They find the social and political accoutrements of upperclass life insipid. And so they have reacted by throwing in with “The People,” even though they don’t actually know (or like) The People. And would never, in a million years, allow their kids to marry one of these untermenschen.
By “interesting,” I mean “horrifying.”