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If Ron DeSantis is Actually Less Dangerous Than Trump...
...Maybe He Should Say So.
Recently at The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: Of Course He’s Running.
SECRET POD: A Referendum or a Choice 🔐
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There’s a weird proxy debate happening right now in the pundit class regarding the hypothetical Trump vs. DeSantis death match, a contest that is looking more and more likely following the former guy’s reveal about his intentions during an interview with Olivia Nuzzi, published yesterday.
The question at hand is whether Ron DeSantis would be less dangerous, less anti-democratic, and/or less authoritarian than Trump.
On one side of this debate you have the Trump-skeptical conservatives, ranging from good faith Never Trumpers trying to navigate this question, to not-so-good-faith Trump apologists who have spent seven years kicking and subtweeting—but who always seem to find their way back into Trump’s ample embrace. They argue that Trump is clearly more dangerous than DeSantis; some demonstrate disdain over the notion that this is even a question. (In the case of the anti-anti-Trumpers it turns out that some of them are finally willing to admit that Trump was dangerous—but only as a way to own the libs by plumping for DeSantis.)
DAVID HEAD: Ranking Presidents Is a Game, Not a Science.
The latest scholarly ranking of presidents is out, courtesy of the Siena College Research Institute’s “presidential expert poll.” Conducted periodically since 1982, the survey purports to offer a rigorous, data-driven appraisal of presidential leadership; it is one of two presidential rankings that get significant press attention nowadays when they appear, the other being C-SPAN’s survey of historians, conducted four times since 2000. This year, the Siena ranking’s highlights include Franklin D. Roosevelt coming out on top, Andrew Johnson being stuck at the bottom, Donald Trump edging out James Buchanan for the third-worst slot, and Joe Biden landing at a respectable nineteenth despite having been in office only a year when the survey was conducted this spring. (Full disclosure: I participated in the survey.)
Presidential ranking is a fun history game. People love ranking things, and discussing the merits of, say, Zachary Taylor relative to William McKinley is a good way for people who love history to connect with one another. But presidential rankings are rarely just a game. In this case, they’re presented as a sort of social science, a way to quantify leadership with expert opinion. The rankings are reported as the solemn judgment of History, the arbiter of a leader’s success or failure. They’re held out as a guide for presidents making decisions today, as if to say What would the great presidents of the past do? Here are the top five examples to follow.
Of course Trump’s grift is driving him to run again — and DeSantis is the only one who’s got a shot. Plus, the political class gets a pass on crime, and the millions of voters who don’t identify as pro-choice, but are pro-Roe. David Jolly joins Charlie Sykes for the weekend pod.
After a multi-decade project to reverse Roe, the two biggest issues right now are interstate travel and pregnancy-terminating pills. Guest host Will Saletan, guest Frances Kissling, and the panel address abortion access and the politics of it all.
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ADDISON DEL MASTRO: NIMBYism Is a Distorted Love.
Every time I visit my parents in my central New Jersey hometown, I find more and more to write about. It’s a natural result of getting to know any place more deeply. Following a recent week up there, I wrote about an old cellar with manhole access under a convenience store on Main Street in Flemington, the county seat of semirural Hunterdon County. I’ve walked past it (and over it) any number of times, and had no idea of its history.
It was so exciting to walk down the rickety stairs into that basement. Doing so helped me see my little hometown in greater perspective: I felt my view of its history expanding to cover decades, even centuries. The building is a microcosm of Flemington, and of how communities we love today came to be. It began its life in the 1800s, served as an oyster house for a time (ice for the oysters was dropped down the manhole), and it has been, in different forms and with different tenants, a part of the town’s fabric for well over a century.
Happy Friday! Did you hear about the fist bump? Don’t worry, the Saudi visit gets worse for all involved. If I were advising Biden, I would have had him wear some PGA gear, like Rob Lowe wore the NFL hat.
Here’s a wild story… When I was in Cleveland last weekend, I saw a bunch of signs for a forced auction. I assumed they were a scam. Who would buy a Picasso from an auction they saw on a yard sign? Today, I saw them in my neighborhood. Here’s the backstory.
What’s been happening in China. It’s not encouraging.
How many GOP Senators are watching the J6 hearings? Eight. That’s it. Eight.
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