NEWS AND OPINION:
Some say that former President Donald Trump has changed his approach to campaigning. Could this strategy repel his loyal fans who like the straightforward political style of yore? That remains to be seen. Meanwhile, observers think a new and improved candidate could be on the way.
The Associated Press noted on Monday that while Mr. Trump is seeking to “project supreme confidence,” he is also now “aiming for a more disciplined campaign.”
“The bombastic, rambling speeches are still there. So are the insults and grievances. But there’s something different about former President Trump’s 2024 run: The underlying machinery is more organized than in past campaigns,” advises an Axios analysis.
“As Trump ramps up for ‘24 amid multiple investigations — and possible indictment — his team is no longer dominated by family members and hangers-on. It’s staffed with political veterans who are building turnout engines in key states, starting with Iowa,” the analysis said.
“What’s happening: Trump’s team is led by two longtime GOP operatives — Susie Wiles, who helped [Gov. Ron] DeSantis win the Florida governor’s race in 2018, and Chris LaCivita, a longtime operative and former political director for the National Republican Senate Committee. They’re focused on building ground operations in early primary states — and on having Trump attack Ron DeSantis before the Florida governor enters the race,” the analysis continued,
There are some familiar faces.
“Other senior advisers include three aides who were involved in the 2016 and 2020 efforts — Jason Miller, a longtime adviser; Steven Cheung, who heads communications; and Brian Jack, who was Trump’s White House political director,” the analysis noted.
THE TRUMP PRESS
The aforementioned Donald Trump has predicted he could be arrested Tuesday over an alleged “hush money” matter, too complex to go into here. But we can at least scan a few headlines from the last 24 hours:
“Why a Trump indictment would have huge political and national implications” (CNN); “NYPD erects steel barricades around courthouse ahead of expected Trump indictment” (National Review); “Legal analyst Gregg Jarrett on possible Trump indictment: This is the most cockamamie legal theory I’ve ever heard of” (Fox News); and “[Ron] DeSantis, breaking silence on Trump, criticizes Manhattan prosecutor” (The New York Times).
A FEISTY GOP
One event has prompted a distinct reaction among Republican lawmakers.
“With Chinese President Xi Jinping in Russia this week, the House Republican commitment to confronting the Chinese Communist Party — the CCP — is more important than ever,” said Tommy Pigott, rapid response director for the Republican National Committee, in a statement to Inside the Beltway.
“Under the leadership of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, House Republicans have already voted to protect our strategic oil reserves from going to the CCP, voted to declassify the evidence around COVID’s origins in China, and established the House Select Committee on the CCP,” Mr. Pigott said.
“This committee has already held its first hearing and more are already planned, and held hearings at the border to confront the fentanyl crisis, which the CCP fuels with synthetic fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances. This is just the beginning. For too long, the Biden administration has prioritized getting solar panels from China over confronting the CCP’s growing belligerence. House Republicans are not going to make Biden’s mistake,” Mr. Pigott concluded.
WEIGHT AND SEE
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has come under scrutiny these days for political reasons. His every appearance is now sparking speculation.
“The Florida governor was spotted in Iowa last week looking leaner than he has in recent years, even since his January inauguration. DeSantis is making all the moves one would to launch a White House bid later this year. He just released a book, ‘The Courage to Be Free,’ which is taking him to early primary states. And potential presidential hopefuls also tend to lose weight,” noted the Daily Mail in an analysis which included six before-and-after photos to prove the point.
“Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stoked speculation he would jump in the 2024 GOP primary after becoming noticeably thinner since leaving office,” the news organization said.
“Word on the street is that Ronnie D. has dropped the carbs — no bread, no desserts,” writes Peter Schorsch, publisher of the news site FloridaPolitics.com.
2024 IS CALLING
Speaking of Florida, there is already a poll gauging the potential outcome of a presidential match between the aforementioned Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump. Who would win?
“In a hypothetical 2024 Republican Primary, former President Donald Trump leads Governor DeSantis by three percentage points, 47% to 44%,” an Emerson College survey of Florida voters reported.
“Nearly one year out from the Florida Presidential Primary, DeSantis and Trump are in a two-way race for the Republican nomination, statistically even with one another. While 90% of Republican voters approve of DeSantis, that does not translate into a firewall of support over the former president for the nomination in their home state,” said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, in a statement.
“In a potential 2024 presidential matchup between Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, Biden and Trump both hold 44% of the vote, while 9% support someone else and 3% are undecided. Between Biden and DeSantis, DeSantis leads 46% to 43%; 7% support someone else and 4% are undecided,” the survey analysis said.
The survey of 1,153 registered Florida voters was conducted March 13-15.
POLL DU JOUR
• 44% of U.S. adults expect the United States to be the world’s leading economic power in 20 years.
• 37% expect China will be the leading economic power in 20 years.
• 5% think India will be the leading economic power in 20 years.
• 5% expect the European Union will be the leading oncoming power by then.
• 4% expect Japan will be the leading economic power.
• 3% think Russia will be leading economic power.
SOURCE: A Gallup Poll of 1,008 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 1-23 and released Monday.
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