Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with ISRAEL; fight against those who fight against ISRAEL!
Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for ISRAEL'S help! Draw the spear and javelin against ISRAEL'S pursuers!
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
The Horse Race: After Scott's Exit, DeSantis and Haley Take the Gloves Off
With Senator Tim Scott (R., S.C.) out of the 2024 presidential race, voters can expect the battle between Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley to heat up, strategists say, with the former South Carolina governor well positioned to win over Scott's supporters.
The two are expected to duke it out to become the leading non-Trump candidate. DeSantis came out swinging this week, going after Haley over everything from her response to the riots in the wake of George Floyd's death to her views on immigration to her recent comments about the need for verification for social-media users.
The Florida governor accused Haley of caving to the Left's narrative on the Black Lives Matter riots.
"She has never fought any big fight on our behalf as conservatives and won any big fight. Anytime the guns come out, anytime the Left does, she cuts and runs," he said during an appearance on a South Carolina radio show.
In the days after Floyd's murder, Haley tweeted: "It's important to understand that the death of George Floyd was personal and painful for many. In order to heal, it needs to be personal and painful for everyone."
"I called out the National Guard," DeSantis said. "I said I'm standing with police. She was tweeting that it needed to be personal and painful for every single person. And I'm thinking to myself, why does that need to be personal and painful for you or me, we had nothing to do with it? It just shows an example of her adopting this left-wing mindset and accepting the narrative."
He also took aim at Haley for dismissing a bill, while she was serving as South Carolina governor, to prevent biological boys from using girls' restrooms. She called the bill "unnecessary" when it was introduced in 2016.
"In Florida, we said girls and women should be protected in bathrooms and locker rooms," DeSantis said. "You should not have boys barging in, men going in there. It's not appropriate. And so we did that without any question. Of course, we're going to do that."
The Florida governor also fired shots at Haley over her reaction to his feud with Disney.
"She criticized me for standing up for kids and the innocence of their curriculum against Disney where they wanted the sexualized curriculum in elementary school. So I stood up for parents, I stood up for kids, she sided with a woke corporation. So that is just I think what you see in terms of that, it's just par for the course," he said. "She will kowtow to elite opinions, the media, and big corporations. That is how she falls down. You can pretty much set your clock to it."
Later on Tuesday, the DeSantis campaign called Haley "a Democrat in sheep's clothing" on immigration, claiming she "opposed the border wall" and that she "supports unlimited immigration into the United States — or at least until big corporations tell her otherwise."
The statement came in response to a New York Post article that noted Haley said in 2015 that a border wall alone would not address illegal immigration and that other measures like drones and in-person surveillance would be needed. It also noted that, in a 2019 podcast appearance, she said, "Immigrants are the fabric of America. It's what makes us great. We need as many immigrants as we can. We need the skills, we need the talent, we need the culture. We need all of that."
Haley was widely panned for suggesting on Tuesday that "every person on social media should be verified, by their name."
"That's, first of all, it's a national-security threat. When you do that, all of a sudden, people have to stand by what they say," she said. "And it gets rid of the Russian bots, the Iranian bots and the Chinese bots. And then you're gonna get some civility, when people know their name is next to what they say."
DeSantis blasted the comments in a post on X: "You know who were anonymous writers back in the day? Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison when they wrote the Federalist Papers. They were not 'national security threats,' nor are the many conservative Americans across the country who exercise their Constitutional right to voice their opinions without fear of being harassed or canceled by the school they go to or the company they work for. Haley's proposal to ban anonymous speech online — similar to what China recently did — is dangerous and unconstitutional. It will be dead on arrival in my administration."
After Haley received widespread criticism over her remarks, her campaign appeared to walk them back.
"Russia, China, and Iran are engaging in wide-scale information warfare. Ignoring this national security threat is dangerous and naive," the campaign told me on Wednesday. "Social media companies need to do a better job of verifying users as human in order to crack down on anonymous foreign bots. We can do this while protecting America's right to free speech and Americans who post anonymously."
The campaign added that Haley's main concern is "cracking down on Chinese, Russian, Iranian, etc. bots that engage in massive online information warfare," leaving out any mention of her vow to combat online incivility by forcing social-media companies to eliminate anonymity.
DeSantis's onslaught comes as strategists say the Florida governor will need to step up his attacks against Haley as she shows sustained momentum in the race and stands to benefit even more from Scott's exit.
"I think that DeSantis has to be aggressive against Haley," GOP strategist John Feehery told me.
"I think DeSantis largely ignored Haley, but I think that comes at his peril, I don't think he can ignore her anymore," he said, adding that, while it isn't a "done deal" for Haley to become the leading non-Trump candidate, she'll likely become the chosen horse of the party's establishment wing from now on.
"Scott's well-liked in South Carolina, so I think that that's good for Haley and gives her a stronger rationale to donors that [she] can beat Trump in South Carolina," Feehery said. "I'm not sure if that's true, but that's what she's going to say, and it makes it a lot easier for her to make that case if Scott's out of the race."
Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio told donors that Haley is the most likely candidate to benefit from Scott's exit, specifically in Iowa, according to a memo obtained by Axios.
"Despite the narrative that the DeSantis team is trying to push, it's clear that other candidates dropping out is not causing voters to consolidate around him," the memo says.
The poll, conducted among a sample of 600 likely Republican caucus-goers from November 9 to 12 and commissioned by Trump's MAGA INC. super PAC, found that 43 percent of Scott supporters picked Haley as their second choice. Twenty-two percent chose Trump and 16 percent chose DeSantis. Still, Scott was polling in the single digits, meaning he did not have significant support to pick up.
With Scott and former vice president Mike Pence having left the race, the big question remains who will the Evangelicals be looking toward, said South Carolina–based strategist Dave Wilson.
"Nikki Haley has very strong momentum going in her favor right now," he said, but he suggested that DeSantis could deploy his wife, Casey DeSantis, who has a "great ability to speak to that audience, much better than he does on the campaign trail."
"I think Tim Scott dropping out is enough of a momentum to make people potentially revisit their appreciation for Nikki Haley one more time" he said, noting she has been pulling the "never-Trumper"-style Republican voters.
"Nikki Haley has an ability to come back to her home state and woo those Tim Scott voters back, keeping in mind she was the person who appointed Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate," he said, adding that DeSantis, for his part, should get out to South Carolina more often.
The Haley campaign plans to spend $10 million on TV, radio, and digital ads in Iowa and New Hampshire beginning in December.
• Audrey Fahlberg revealed that the 2018 U.S.-China biopharma summit in Shanghai at which Vivek Ramaswamy delivered a keynote address was also attended by CEOs from multiple Chinese biopharmaceutical companies directly affiliated with a controversial Chinese-government-sponsored program (the Thousand Talents Plan). The candidate's wife, Apoorva Tewari Ramaswamy, speaking to Fahlberg, claimed that her husband's previous business associations make him better equipped than other Republican presidential candidates to combat the Chinese Communist Party:
He's the reason why people understand the economic risks about China. He is the one who wrote the book because of his experiences," Ramaswamy said in reference to her husband's 2021 book Woke, Inc., which argues for U.S. economic independence from China. "Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis were going around with his book because they learned from his experience. So for them to call him out on it is just saying that they resent someone who taught them something. It's hypocritical.
• Charles C. W. Cooke says Republicans have two albatrosses — and they can only afford one. Speaking on The Editors podcast last Friday, Cooke said:
At the moment, the Republicans have two problems. One is abortion — I think the degree to which abortion is a problem is overstated, but it is a problem — and the other is Donald Trump.
• Charlie wonders who will drop out of the 2024 race next but worries that no one will until it's too late.
Tim Scott and Mike Pence dropped out because they were actually running for president, and so, when they realized they were not going to be president, they had no reason to stay in. The two candidates who should clearly go away now — Vivek Ramaswamy and Chris Christie — are not running for president, and thus have no great incentive to get out of the race. So they won't — which, in turn, will make it tougher for the remaining two candidates who really are running for president — that's Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley — to get separation.
• Rich Lowry says Tim Scott's decision to drop out of the 2024 race was the right thing to do.
The temptation is always to hang on too long, in the hopes of a miracle turnaround that never happens. By dropping two months before Iowa, Scott spares himself embarrassment, and, more important, avoids being any kind of spoiler. If the race stays like it is now, it won't matter, but if it eventually gets closer, his 7 percent in Iowa could matter.
• On the topic of who is dropping out next, Dan McLaughlin argues that Christie and Doug Burgum are prime candidates.
The other candidate besides Christie who has exhausted his rationale for running is Burgum. Burgum's a fine governor who has been a useful voice on energy issues, but he clearly is not ready to be a national figure. His money, however, has kept him at (in the current polling) 2.7 percent in Iowa and 2 percent in New Hampshire. To all appearances, however delusional it may seem, Burgum has been running with the actual hope of winning. After all, he has nowhere else to go in North Dakota, no need to make money, and no particular opportunity to advance into the national conversation.