So Long DeSantis and the Rest

Elections Politicians

            New Orleans       The dead bodies of pretenders to the Republican throne are piling up like cordwood now on the eve of the first direct primary in New Hampshire, as former President Trump continues to move in for the kill.  The latest was Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who threw in the towel and endorsed Trump in recent days, leaving only Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and UN representative, remaining as a viable candidate.  Her days are likely numbered as well with the most recent polls showing Trump at 52% and Haley at 34%, taken before the DeSantis dropout, where he was at 8%, which hardly positions her for an upset with hours before the primary.

I will say this about DeSantis though, he was more candid and appealing as a loser than he was as a putative winner.  For almost the first time, he seemed to be conceding that he had made some mistakes.  For those with a long memory, which is not always an asset in watching political campaigns, you may remember six months ago when DeSantis was the “it” Republican candidate who was going to unseat Trump.  He was supposedly Trumpish in his political stance without the drama, scandal, and court cases.  Furthermore, his supporters claimed that he might bring competence of a sort to government, rather than the standard issue Trump chaos.  He raised a pile of money.  He rejiggered the Florida legislature so far right that it was unrecognizable.  He went hard on door knocking in Iowa in his chances for an upset for naught.  He played pattycake with Trump, trying to appeal to his base.  He had the charisma of a doorknob.  He ran as far away from his Ivy League pedigree as he could, but no matter how much shapeshifting he did, he couldn’t dislodge Trump’s base or create one of his own.  Unsurprisingly, he went to his knees and endorsed Trump, trying to leave the door open a crack for another race in 2028 against someone or another.  He won’t be missed.

On the other hand, Haley is hardly a port in this storm.  Times’ columnist Ross Douthat pointed out, likely correctly, that she might be more dangerous that Trump, if she were to beat Biden, because she is so over-the-top hawkish that she could put us in a war with China and who knows how many other countries, where there would be no clear exit strategy other than breaking the US like a twig.  In perhaps his worse insult, he compared her to George W. Bush and his escapades in the Middle East.

Not that it matters.  Jamie Dimon, the chameleon chief of JPMorgan Chase, has gone from trying to raise money from corporates and even Democrats for Haley as the only chance to block Trump to almost completely endorsing his candidacy in what most of us would see as a humiliating attempt to suck up.  When the last of the Republican Wall Streeters start lining up with Trump, you know this is all over and done.