Friday, March 24, 2023

Invisible Primary: Visible -- National Scrutiny has Arrived for DeSantis

Thoughts on the invisible primary and links to the goings on of the moment as 2024 approaches...

There have been hints of this nestled in all the changing tides stories about Donald Trump's fortunes in the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race, but it has come into clearer focus of late. Governor Ron DeSantis is "trending downward." After riding high as the clearest and best-positioned alternative to the  former president, DeSantis was due for an inevitable down cycle in coverage. 

And those types of stories are starting to trickle out as indictment watch whips itself into a froth. 

Again, all of this was inevitable. Recall that, until now, there was a steady stream of caveats to DeSantis' top challenger status. And they all collectively warned that the Florida governor had not been tested on the national stage. He had not been scrutinized. Well, that was going to come and this may be the first clear wave of it. The crux of it all is that it was going to happen, but how DeSantis responds -- or probably more accurately weathers -- this and subsequent waves of scrutiny and/or the slumping news cycle or two will likely define whether he is able to maintain his perceived positioning as the invisible primary marches on. 

What is difficult for DeSantis and others vying for the Republican nomination is that the indictment circus is likely to take up a lot of the oxygen in the near term, keeping the focus on Trump and less on those seeking to challenge him. It is tougher to counter flagging coverage when most eyes are elsewhere.

Actions not words in New Hampshire. Focus less on the repetition of the same tired lines from the Granite state governor and more to what the New Hampshire Democratic Party is now doing as 2024 -- and a likely rogue New Hampshire primary -- approaches. 

It has been one of those mid-session weeks in state capitals across the country. Legislation, generally, is moving, but presidential primary legislation is moving in particular. Hawaii, Idaho and Kansas have been active this week in shifting or establishing presidential primaries. 

On this date... 1992, Jerry Brown narrowly beat Bill Clinton in the Connecticut primary, starting a short streak of small state victories to end March and start April (the last of his wins that cycle). President George H.W. Bush coasted to victory on the Republican side. 2012, Rick Santorum scored the last of his victories before dropping out in early April with a win in the Louisiana primary. The delegate allocation Pelican state Republicans used that cycle was (and is) a good reminder of the variation that can and does exist across states in the Republican allocation rules. 2020, it was to have been the date of the Georgia primary, a departure from what had become a string of Super Tuesday primaries. But the coronavirus pushed the election in the Peach state back to June 2020. This was also the date on which the Delaware presidential primary was delayed due to the pandemic.

No comments: