86 Comments

I think there's an alternate universe where Clinton beat Trump in 2016 but in this one she was just the wrong candidate for that political cycle. Trump is the American expression of a global populist movement and he succeeded because of his outsider status. Clinton of course was perceived as the ultimate insider.

Desantis may have declared war on "wokism" but at core he seems like a conventional politician. I think there's an argument to be made that there is something in the water that is propelling candidates like Milei in Argentina and Wilders in the Netherlands to victory. The norms shattering candidate (Trump) versus politics as usual (Desantis/Haley)? They were the wrong candidates for the times.

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The Detroit Lions made the NFC Championship game in 1991-92, against the Washington Redskins. It didn't go well for them:

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/199201120was.htm

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Trump completely changed the paradigm of the Republican party. He showed that it could win with audiences that it never thought it had a chance with, but who connect with a style of low IQ leadership. Additionally, he freed many people from the chains of political correctness, especially when society is trying to tighten them more than ever. In this sense, he is a giant historical figure, and expecting the Republicans to oust him is like expecting the Conservatives in Britain to oust Churchill in the elections after World War II.

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'Trump’s various criminal trials helped him with the GOP base.' - This is stated so matter-of-factly, and we all know it, but still. What would this have looked like to someone at literally any other time in American history? What will this look like to future generations when it is history? I suppose history is written by the winners so it depends on what happens next. But none of this is anywhere remotely near 'normal'.

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What no amount of data regression and analysis can clarify is the Revolutionary Spirit. The FiveThirtyEight of Weimar could not have seen it coming. Unless our radars are picking up humanity’s cyclical discontent with the world order status quo - ala The Fourth Turning - we are doomed to continue our premise errors. Past is, indeed, prologue. Left + Right extremism gripped the world in the 1930s - roiling the globe with violence. And who in the Great Gatsby Roaring 20’s saw THAT coming? Nobody. Every 80-100 years - a Trump shows up. And a Milei. And a LePen. And a Modi. Correctives to prior cycle overreach. Which is what “Progressivism” has become. A globalist fait accompli from the smug Davos set of neo-Woodrow Wilsons. Who long for a single world order that erases unique cultures, traditions, and antiquated relics like religion. So, of course those who cherish these things - rise up. Choosing political and cultural champions who fight this assault. All this - all of it - is a cultural backlash to progressive overreach. And, of course, progressives despise those who stand athwart history screaming STOP! Trump has no currency or legitimacy save this. We have created this febrile swamp from which this emerges. If we were wise enough to stop - he would be rendered pointless. But - Progressives won’t - so it will advance to its logical conclusion. And down deep, we all know it. And feel powerless to stop it.

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Was it always a publicity stunt for 2028?

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The timing of the drop-out coupled with the immediate Trump endorsement did feel weird to me. The only thing I could think of was that Trump has offered him some position in the administration, like you said -- though, like you also said, it would appear uncharacteristically generous of the former president toward a Republican who started to criticize him. Time will tell.

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I think that there is a basis on which DeSantis could have attacked Trump and not appeared as a "party traitor" (or whatever) and so been able to challenge him.

He could have said that the election in 2020 was stolen, but the Democrats tried to steal 2018 and 2022 from him in Florida and he stopped them, and as the candidate, he knows how to do that in 2024, but Trump would be cheated out of the win again.

He doesn't have the sort of personality that would mean that he could actually make that stick against Trump, but it would have worked with the policy case that he was making - that he had the same policy objectives as Trump, but he understood how things worked and could deliver on them, while Trump had struggled to get things done because the deep state had worked against him.

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It seems the qualities that make a good President are antithetical to those which make a good presidential candidate.

I though DeSantis made a clear case: "if you like Trump's policies but don't like Trump, vote for me." I believe he would have made a great president , but unfortunately for him, the American people still do like (or at least believe in) Donald Trump. We'll see Ron again in 2028 as part of the next generation: Hawley, Vance, Christie, Youngkin... We'll see Nikki Haley then too, as the Bush/Cheney wing of the GOP refuses to exit stage-left gracefully.

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IMHO, Donald winning the Republican Presidential Nomination in 2016 does not demonstrate any particular political skill on his part of any kind.

Donald got >>more than double<< the media coverage of all the other 16 candidates combined.

If a bunch of Nannies pushing baby carriages decide to have a baby cart race, whoever wins, you can’t really attribute the victory to any one particular baby’s driving skill.

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RIP Meatball Ron, the Berenstein* Bears of political flameouts.

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This has been a very depressing time in US politics.

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Nate (and anyone else interested in risks to humanity's fate):

In the event you are not already aware of it, I give my highest recommendation to a podcast called "The End of the World with Josh Clark." Link below.

(Josh is best known in the podcasting world as a long-time co-host of the "Stuff You Should Know" podcast.)

https://podcasts.apple.com/bg/podcast/the-end-of-the-world-with-josh-clark/id1437682381

"We humans could have a bright future ahead of us that lasts billions of years. But we have to survive the next 200 years first. Join Josh Clark of Stuff You Should Know for a 10-episode deep dive that explores the future of humanity and finds dangers we have never encountered before lurking just ahead. And if we humans are alone in the universe, if we don't survive intelligent life dies out with us too."

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Why don't you like the name “538”?

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I agree ! Endurance is the key to life. Resistance and resilience.

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Never forget that Trump got elected in 2016 because the media has a giant boner to see him as President since the day he first road down that escalator.

When he ran for the Republican nomination he was one of 17 potential Republican candidates. Democrats never saw it until it was too late but they all knew Hillary was very beatable and they all wanted to be the one who did it.

But Trump ultimately got the nomination because the media gave him >>more than double<< the media coverage as all of the other 16 candidates combined.

He disses one of the pack and 67+% of the country hears all about it. His opponent responds and less than 2% of the echo chamber even carries it.

And people are surprised he won? When he wins they’re saying what a sharp campaigner he is?

What a load of garbage.

The only thing the media loves more than building up icons is tearing them down. We’ll see what direction they ultimately go this year.

But to date there is no indication of any direction change, and so far quite a lot that indicates they never got off that 2016 track.

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