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Lies, Losing, and Low Energy: Trump Runs Again

Will DeSantis lie low?
November 17, 2022
Trump's Running Again, But This Time It Feels Different | Not My Party with Tim Miller

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Tim Miller: We warned you it was gonna happen. The biggest loser, the classified Hamburglar, the burnt-sienna-faced fascist is running for president again.

George Costanzo (Jason Alexander on Seinfeld): I—I’m shocked. I, I’m shocked.

Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. On Tuesday, in his Mar-a-Lago cougar lair, the attention-starved former president demanded that all eyes be on him once again.

Bender (from Futurama): Pay attention to me!

Miller: And his performance was pure, uncut Trump.

Donald Trump Jr.: It seems like a real lot of crack.

Miller: There were lies.

Donald Trump: We built the wall, we completed the wall.

Miller: Insults.

Trump: The country’s a laughingstock right now.

Miller: Nonsense.

Trump: Angela, remember Angela? Do you remember Angela? Nobody’s remembering her now.

Miller: Grievance.

Trump: And I’m a victim, I will tell you.

Miller: More lies.

Trump: It’s 10 million people coming in, not 3 or 4 million people, they’re pouring into our country.

Miller: And oh so much pettiness.

Trump: I didn’t need this, I had a very nice, easy life.

Miller: And of course—

Trump: I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.

Miller: But one thing is different.

Jason Selvig: This is boring.

Davram Stiefler: Boring.

Selvig and Stiefler: Boring.

Dan O’Donnell: You know who he sounded like? Low-energy Jeb Bush.

Jeb Bush: Please clap.

Miller: I’m starting to think he might just be fumbling his grasp on the cult—I mean party, that he took over back when I was a sweet little Republican boy.

Nick Ganz (Maxwell Simkins on The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers): Adorable.

Miller: And it’s not because I’m all that impressed with Ron DeSantis as a foil (though we’ll get to him in a second) but for two other reasons Trump brought on himself. First, eventually MAGAs were gonna get sick of all the losing. Back in 2020 the Big Lie worked because the zealot base believed that he didn’t really lose.

Trump supporter: They stole the votes. And Sleepy Joe Poopypants been dead since 2019.

Renter of the Simpsons’ former apartment (from The Simpsons): Wow, just, uh, wow.

Miller: And the cowardly less extreme factions of his coalition were willing to stomach the face-saving bullsh**.

Lindsey Graham: President Trump’s team, they deserve a chance to make that case regarding voting irregularities.

Miller: But here’s the thing. In 2022, he lost again. Badly. And repeatedly. And it’s his fault for choosing to put his stamp of approval on all these fail whales, with his top prize, Kari Lake, finally fading away this week.

Carol Malloon (Irene White on Superstore): Bye, bitch.

Miller: But now he’s a double loser and people are getting bored with it. So they might start lookin’ around for an actual winner. Which brings us to the second reason he might be losing his party: There’s an off-ramp now. Ever since 2016, anytime a Never Trumper like me called a Republican friend to try to get them to come into the light, the alternative was a Democrat. For a moderate squish, Joey Corvette Biden wasn’t that bad of an alternative—but for a lot of big conservatives, any Democrat was a bridge too far.

Waylon Smithers (on phone, from The Simpsons): Never, never, never!

Miller: But now the alternative to Trump might be a Republican, most likely Ron DeSantis. And that’s a much softer landing for GOP voters. The question then becomes, can DeSantis be a worthy adversary? Withstand the Trump onslaught, the nicknames, the mockery, the national bright lights.

Trump: No! get those lights off.

Miller: And on that count, I’m a little skeptical—especially because there are a lot of Trump-related sand traps in front of him. For example what exactly is Ron DeSantis’s opinion about January 6th? Is he an election denier or not? We don’t really know. DeSantis did dabble in a little coup talk in 2020. Here he is on Fox discussing alternate electors.

Ron DeSantis: Call your state representatives and your state senators. Presidential electors are done by the legislatures and the schemes they create.

Arnie Klein (Alan Arkin in Marley & Me): He’s walking a very thin line.

Miller: But nada since then. Because the answer to a lot of Trump-related questions are a lose-lose for him. Criticize Trump for lying and a lot of Republican base voters get mad at you—just ask Mike Pence.

Frank the Pug (from Men in Black II): Ouch.

Miller: Or stick with voter fraud BS, and you piss off the normie voters that just routed every election denier in America this midterm. Dance around it and the Trump shark will smell blood and circle you until you give in. For the next few months at least, I expect DeSantis will lay low on the Trump question. Try to avoid all this. He’ll hope the crazed former president keeps digging his own grave. But at some point, I think he’s gonna have to confront the madman head on, for a stiff-armed mano a mano. And well, you better believe we’ll be watching that.

Crowd from American Dad: Fight, fight, fight, fight.

Miller: We’re taking a one-week break for Thanksgiving. We’ll see you in two weeks for more “Not My Party.” Go democracy!

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.