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S4 Ep2: “I Prefer Male Presidents” (with Tim Miller)

September 30, 2023
Notes
Transcript
One of our focus group participants really prefers that the president be a man. And most of the Republican voters we talked to have only one man in mind: Donald Trump. The Bulwark‘s own Tim Miller joins Sarah for part two of our season premiere to break down the sorry state of the non-Trump candidates in the Republican presidential primary.

show notes:
https://plus.thebulwark.com/p/there-are-two-gop-primaries-only-one-is-real?utm_source=profile&utm_medium=reader2

https://plus.thebulwark.com/p/super-pacs-worthless-donors-stop-torching-cash

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:00

    Hey, everyone. Welcome to the focus group podcast. I’m Sarah Longwell hear with my buddy, Tim Miller, and we are taping a quick little topper over today’s episode, which is all about the also Rands, the other people in the Republican primary, and the focus groups that you’re gonna hear from today, that sound was gathered after the first debate, but we are gonna do a little update because we just had the second debate and our assessments of where the race stands and how people are performing was neither enhanced nor changed other than what Nikki Haley said about all of us getting a little dumber, which I think is a good kinda wrap for the whole thing. But Tim, I know you went to the Beyonce concert instead of watching the debate, but I assume you caught some clips this morning or something.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:45

    I watched the rerun. I woke up. I cuddled up under the covers, and I just I watched the rerun, and I gotta tell you I made the right choice. Beyonce, it was much much better. And this is the focus group podcast.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:57

    So I have the humility to say there’s a possibility. That we’ll all gather together in two weeks, and, you know, you’ll be talking to some people in Dubuque, and they’ll be like, man, that Tim Scott curtains comment. That really was it for me. I’m a single issue voter on window treatments, and I’ve I’m giving him a second look now. You know, I guess it’s anything is possible.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:17

    But, boy, The thing that struck me is that none of their strategies changed. You know, the first debate happened. Nikki went up two points. Everyone else stayed flat. And they went to the second debate, and they all did the same thing, basically.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:30

    I I mean, I guess Ron DeSantis criticized Donald Trump what? Like, one hour and fifty nine minutes in to the debate, something to that effect. You know, very late into it. I mean, that you have a whole hour where Chris Christie’s the only one that mentions Trump. Who’s watching this that long?
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:46

    I don’t know. I don’t know why anybody stuck with it until the end. When they got the survivor question of who they would vote off the island.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:54

    It seemed like a fair question, by the way. People on Twitter were, like, dogging that question, but I was like, Dana’s point maybe it was a little sticky or whatever, but Dana’s point is right. Dana Perino. There are too many of them. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:05

    Way too many.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:06

    Yeah. But also Ron DeSantis Instead of taking the opportunity as ultimately Chris Christie did to say Donald Trump. Yeah. He was like, I will not dignify this. I won’t answer this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:18

    Mean, it was a better question than a UFO question they closed on last time, but this is an absolute clown show. You know what? And sometimes the Republicans will do this thing where they say. Any of us up on this stage would be a huge improvement over Joe Biden. Nobody can say that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:33

    Nobody can say that. You are all terrible except for look, I’ll be honest. Nikki Haley continues. There’s a part of me, my old republic image, whatever, when she’s saying things, and I’m like, that was a substantive answer. That was not idiotic.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:52

    She’s saying it a little fast and frantic. She’s trying to, like, get things in time, but, like, they’re answers that are coherent and make sense. Not all of them. Yeah. Sure.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:00

    She’s the best one up there by a mile. And I think that the only thing that even remotely changed or, like, had any impact whatsoever is that I think there’s a bunch of donor, national review world remorse for going all in Ron DeSantis and not taking Nikki as the alternative because she’s a better all around politician.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:19

    Yeah. She’s certainly a better performer. It’s funny. So before I even watch the debate, I had several messages from people saying what you just said. I liked Nikki.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:28

    And some of them are Democratic friends. Some of them are former Republicans. Like, some of them are still Republicans. I’m like, well, that means she probably lost. You know?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:38

    I mean, sure. I I think what you said is right. Like, it also probably means that there’s some remorse and that she’s she’ll consolidate the college ed vote more, but it’s just like, that’s not the median primary voter. And so median primary voter is different. And it’s not that there’s nobody Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:53

    I mean, sure. If she consolidated all those votes and got half of the DeSantis vote, this college ad, and scooped up the Christie vote, you know, you get up to twenty percent or so, maybe even twenty five. That’s not nothing, but it’s not forty five. Right. You know, and and that’s the fundamental problem.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:07

    It is the fundamental problem. Mike Pence, when he talks, it’s like time stops for me. Like, I’m just like, are we gonna get through this? The other ones are, like, Viveache talks really fast. Nikki talks really fast.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:22

    DeSantis talks kind of fast and angry And so Mike Pence is just on a different tempo than the rest of them. Yeah. Can’t say he’s doing much to help his cause, though.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:33

    No. And the applause lines Does anybody have more, like, pauses for me? That’s just how he talks, but it seems like he’s pausing for a pause where there’s no applause. No applause. Often.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:43

    Yeah. You know, like, he was really building up, like, he got asked about Obamacare, and instead gave an answer about how he wants an expedited death penalty for mass shooters. Yeah. Because, like, he doesn’t have a health care policy. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:57

    And and he thought and this, again, this goes like, cosplay, Magaism. You know, like these guys think they’re like, I’ll say, you know, extreme stuff like trump, and that’s what people like, you know, and he’s like, and these mass shooters,
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:10

    they will be killed in months. And it’s like Baws and the crowds
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:15

    I Okay. I guess. Alright. I don’t know. Just isn’t just isn’t happening for me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:21

    Tim Scott, Nikki Haley. Getting in whatever that weird fight was about curtains. It’s like, it’s so stupid.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:30

    Window treatments are expensive. Though. The render treatments are shockingly expensive. It’s the one that you learned about in your house. There is something to that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:37

    But Tim Scott, I had a little bit of Jeb PTSU with Tim Scott, because I I can explain what he was trying to do or what his team was trying to do. He disappeared in the first debate. And so this happened to us. Right? And so it’s like, you know, you’re talking too much of a policy, you know, Jeb’s better at the policy stuff than Tim Scott.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:51

    Tim Scott’s not good at anything. But, you know, I was like, you’re doing the policy answers, but you weren’t getting in on any of the exchanges. So you gotta do the thing that’s not natural to you. Right, which is to argue on stage. Like, that was not Jeb’s strength.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:01

    That’s not Tim Scott’s strength. And so you’re the team, like, gives them, like, here are four things. If you get a chance with Nikki, you can go at her on curtains. And if you get a chance with Vivache, you can let them on the on the hunter biden chime you know, he had four prepared things. That he couldn’t execute.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:17

    You know what I mean? He issued the attack clunkily. And then when the other person rebutted it, he, like, didn’t have anything to do except for, like, you’re wrong. No. Gervins.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:27

    You too. He just isn’t made for them. This is, like, goes to show you the rich people are not all smart Like, there was a rich man that met Tim Scott and was like, I believe so much that you are gonna be the one to take out Trump. I’m gonna give you sixty million dollars. Of my own money.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:43

    Yeah. Crazy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:45

    Crazy. I wonder, can they get refunds? I mean, he doesn’t spend all that money. You should give that money back. And you know what, Jeff Rowe should give back the ninety seven million from never back down pack, and all of them should go home.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:56

    You know, when I was thinking about There’s a real gonna be a real issue for Republican Ron DeSantis. Like, because there’s really now only two kinds of consultants. The incompetent ones, who work for people like Tim Scott and really Ron DeSantis. Like, DeSantis World should be humiliated by the campaign that they’ve run. Then there’s like Tony Fabrizio and Chris, what’s his name?
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:20

    Rossavide. I am.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:21

    Yeah. Who are working for Trump, who are soulless horrible people who shouldn’t be able to
  • Speaker 4
    0:07:26

    sleep at night.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:27

    Yeah. It’s pretty bleak.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:28

    And the people who can tell themselves, like, I work for Nikki Haley, and also we have no future in this part.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:33

    Yeah. Right. Yeah. I mean, this is why the past at the top of Republican politics is a lot quicker these days. You know?
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:40

    Also, there’s a supply and demand thing where it’s appealing like sociopaths look at this. They’re like, oh, yeah. These people will not care that I’m so less, and they’re so incompetent. Yeah. That the path to the top is a lot quicker than having to grind it out as a democrat.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:55

    Yeah. Well, Tim, thanks for watching it so that we could do this little topper. But, I think that the show’s gonna hold up. We taped it about a week ago, but I think it’s gonna hold up perfectly well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:06

    Just fine.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:07

    Just fine. So Go enjoy the show, guys. Thanks, Tim.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:11

    Yep.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:17

    Hello, everyone. And welcome to the Focus Group podcast. I’m Sarah Longwell, publisher of the Bulwark, and I hope all of you, groupies, are excited for part two of our season premiere, palooza. Like that groupies, focus groupies. As I think we demonstrated on last show, you can kind of put this Republican primary into two categories, before Trump’s indictments and after.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:42

    Today, we’re checking in on how the rest of the field has been faring. Or not, they’ve become more and more of a lost cause since Trump started getting indicted. Now, to be clear, and as many of you may remember from season, a critical piece of Republican voters were at one time considering moving on from Trump. But there’s a key problem. Republican voters think Trump was a pretty great president.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:04

    And Ron DeSantis, who once looked attractive and electable as an alternative, has fallen off in a major way. Vivek Ramaswani is capturing some of that Ron DeSantis attention currently. Then there’s Mike Pence, two South Sarah Longwell trying to get attention. Or spot on Trump’s ticket, who can say, and the likes of Chris Christie and Acea Hutchenson kicking around. Now my guest today to talk about the undercard or the also Rams as the bulwark zone, Tim Miller.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:32

    Ten, thanks for being here, buddy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:34

    Happy to be here. You know, right on the heels of Jake Tapper. Just a little handsome, handsome duo to get started. I know a theme when I see one.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:43

    Yeah. I will say speaking of just physical appearances, I forgot that we were doing this for video and went on a run right forehand, so I do look a shade tomato y. A little flush.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:56

    A little flush. That’s okay. At least it’s not a sunburn. We’ve got such loyal listeners, and it’s cute. Sometimes it gets a little annoying, but it’s so cute.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:04

    So I’ll come on after a weekend outside of the pool. Of listeners be like, did you put on your sunscreen, young man? For listeners who are worried that you might be burnt. No. That’s not it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:16

    Just a little flush.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:18

    That’s what happens if I do any exercise whatsoever. What do you think of groupies? Do we like groupies?
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:23

    I I cackled. Yeah. I cackled. I like it. This
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:26

    is see, running is good. It clears my head. Mhmm. Because you know what? I gotta say speaking of our listeners, they were, like, hostile about the focus group podcast being off like, our longish hiatus, which I just wanna explain, you know, it was painful for me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:41

    It’s more painful for me than it was for you. But I wanna be able to go through the twenty twenty four election without stopping. And that’s a lot of shows between now and twenty twenty four. And so
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:52

    You’re committing to that. You’re not even taking Christmas off?
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:55

    I mean, I might take Christmas off, but, like, it is hard for me not to communicate the focus groups to people. We’ve noticed. I mean, this summer was tough. But also what was great is, like, the level of annoyance from people that we were off, like, people were, like, yell at me. Like, Longwell.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:11

    What are you doing? Are you lazy? Like, where’s the focus group podcast? And I wanna tell you, that makes me very happy. I like being yelled at.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:18

    By the groupies. The focus groupies.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:20

    Groupies. I love it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:22

    Alright, Tim. So you have this thesis about this particular Republican primary that you wrote about in the bulwark a couple months ago. And you said there are two Republican primaries going on, and only one is real. Please explain.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:35

    Yeah. My thesis is essentially that there’s a real primary that’s taking place among the voters that will decide who the Republican nominee is. Many of the voters in these focus groups They have strong views about where the party should go while we’re shouting out each other’s articles in the bulwark. You wrote one a little while back about the fact that there is a before trump element to the party and an after trump, and and no matter what actually happens to Trump, most of the voters of the Republican Party are happy with that switch to the more mega, more populist, more punchy, whatever you wanna call they like the trumpian version of the Republican Party. And so those voters, you know, were looking at this field.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:16

    They liked Trump Like you said in that intro, some of them were in the Trump culture. We’re never gonna leave them. There was another group. I think that was the key group in this primary that like Trump but was looking around. But they were only looking around for people that represented that post trump party.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:33

    Right? And so They were interested in Ron DeSantis. They want to take him for a walk around the block. Vivic was gonna be appealing to them. After that, the rest of this field isn’t really doing that much to appeal to that group with maybe one exception we can get it to.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:48

    And so, the real primary was taking place among those voters, voters that like Trump and were deciding whether they wanted to re up with him or look around. There is then another group of people know, maybe about twenty percent of the Republican primary elector, it’s not enough to win, but a huge majority of donors and and political strategists and commentators on the Republican side who don’t like trump and want to go back to the pre trump party in some form or another. And they have been participating in a fantasy primary that’s very well financed and has a lot of money in it with a lot of TV ads on discussion and podcasts and and cable news hits where they talk about what might happen. If the person, you know, that emerges from that fantasy primary wins, but they don’t actually have a plan to win. And most of the people participating the real primary, the Magavoders Like, barely even know that it’s happening.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:35

    Like, they don’t they don’t know anything about Tim Scott. They know they don’t like bike pence that they’re not paying attention to the jockeying. And so, you know, we’ve had this kind of weird bifurcated primary that, like, one of which that takes place among Candace Owens, listeners, and, you know, newsmax watchers and another one that takes place among a kind of DC political class. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:54

    You know, I saw a news story in which a reporter was hypothesizing who might Mike Pence choose as his vice president? Pausiting Mike Pence was open to choosing a woman, but he, like, can’t alone with her because mother disapproves. Right? And I was just like, this whole thing is just not even a real conversation. Mike Pence will never choose a vice president.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:16

    Mike Pence can’t, as JBL likes to point out all the time, our colleague, he can’t walk through a Trump rally without security for his physical safety. This guy’s not gonna be choosing a vice president anytime soon.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:28

    Tim Scott was also asked us. Did you see who he positive on his short list?
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:31

    This is a is Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:32

    This is fun. Fantasy. It’s like risk. You know, I’ve taken over Africa. In model presidency, Tim Scott threw out Mike Pompeo Trey gowdy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:40

    Oh, trey gowdy. Yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:41

    Yeah. I forget the third one. Those three white guys. That’s a fun little thing to imagine. If you’re Tim Scott
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:46

    Sure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:47

    Who you might pick.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:48

    Mike Pompeo, who clearly ran the numbers on whether or not he had any purchase from the Republican party and opted out of running his own campaign. Okay. So before we get into the clips, I wanna make something clear. You’re hearing this show after the second GOP debate, but all the focus groups sound in today’s show is referring to the debates back in August. So the first of me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:10

    Now I know we just did a whole episode on Trump, but I feel like we can’t start this show without giving you case of what we’ve heard in recent months about why Republican voters don’t wanna move on from Trump. So let’s listen.
  • Speaker 5
    0:15:21

    We need to stand back, look at his record, see what he’s done. It was the best four years that we have all had in the last ten. It was a great time. None of us can say it is now. We need a man that is strong as hell, a a brick house, and he is that man.
  • Speaker 5
    0:15:39

    And we need him back. And and let him continue to poke at him. Let him continue to persecute. It’ll only work in their disfavor. Believe me.
  • Speaker 6
    0:15:50

    I know how trump is. I know he says a lot. He gets the job done, and that’s that’s kind of where my stance. It could take a little bit to move me off that stance.
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:59

    He deserves paid for all the bullshit they put it through. And the best way would be to win the presidency back. And if he doesn’t get in, nobody else is gonna hit the ground running
  • Speaker 7
    0:16:11

    I think it’s another opportunity for him to try to finish what he started.
  • Speaker 8
    0:16:16

    Similar to her saying he can finish what he started. I feel like he got undercut from the time that he could have and that there’s more that he wanted to do and more that he could do or that he’s willing to do that he should be given the chance to.
  • Speaker 7
    0:16:29

    I feel like he got short changed last time around with the whole COVID business.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:34

    He’s a brick house. Yeah. He’s so strong. The athletic challenge between Biden and Trump, I feel like, is what the country needs at this point. I wanna see Donald Trump shirtless.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:43

    Maybe a triathlon. Let’s see him swimming and just see that brick house body that he’s got underneath there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:48

    So I think there’s a lot of sort of people in consultant land, and we argue this from time to time that we think that there’s a world where people could really be attacking Trump on sort of competency. Right? Like, he didn’t build the wall. The ballooning national debt.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:04

    Mhmm.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:05

    But what I am struck by, these little selections here that we just played, they are. So consistent across the groups. Like, that is just like a little taste. This idea that Trump did a great job is just replete through the groups. And so how can somebody credibly attack his competence with Republican voters when they think he’s like the greatest president of their lifetimes?
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:26

    And these guys all did this to themselves, the Trump challengers. They they bound themselves in this little trap rhetorically. Is this not what every Fox host said? What every Republican politician said for all four years. You know, I don’t love all the tweets.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:41

    You know, I don’t love the mean tweets but really the policies. He’s doing a great job. He’s a strong leader. That lands with people. That that resonated with people.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:49

    And I do think the first three years of his presidency. We talked about this lot in real time. We got kinda lucky. Like, there weren’t crises. The economy was slowly but surely on the same in improving track.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:00

    It had been on for a decade. It was getting gradually better and better ever since the great recession. And so I I think that that resonated with people. They’re like, all the people that I respect trust that he was doing a good job and that all the people that criticized him had TDS, my economic position was getting gradually better until the pandemic happened. And then when they had the opportunities to kind of point out his failures, none of them did.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:23

    They all made excuses them throughout the entire presidency. So I do think then it becomes very challenging in twenty twenty three. To come on the scene and talk about the guy who you ran an ad talking about how you wanna teach your kids to be like him because he’s such a strong leader. And now say, well, actually, he wasn’t that great. I mean, you know, the wall didn’t quite get built.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:42

    And, you know, that becomes very challenging to do that at that later date. You seem like the disingenuous one. You know, you’re not paying with Trump as a professional liar. It makes you like, you’re the liar. Because you were lying.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:52

    You’re telling the truth now, but you’ve been lying for, you know, seven years.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:55

    So let me ask you. So, obviously, we talk about this a lot. There’s sort of the collective action problem of Republicans. The one thing I wonder about, I that I genuinely don’t know the answer to is, like, was it definitely always gonna go this way? Or if Ron DeSantis had been a different human
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:13

    A human.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:14

    And made different choices about which constituency he was going to try to appeal to the natural one of people who wanted to move on through Trump as opposed to sort of wrestling Trump for the always trumpers, if all of them had acted like Chris Christie. If Pence, Christie, DeSantis, Haley, if they’d all trained their fire on Trump and talked about electability, moving on. Would that have worked if they were competent
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:42

    at it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:42

    Right? They’re not all doing this weird. No. He was a great president, but I just disagree with him. Like, if they all went hard,
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:49

    Yeah. I’d love to rerun and see it. I think that it’s possible. I think the both sides are possible. I don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:54

    This might have been fait accompli.
  • Speaker 9
    0:19:55

    Yeah. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:55

    I just think that after the election in the midterms, That moment was so stark where people were moving on from you were seeing it in the focus groups. It was showing up in the quantitative data. It’s showing up everywhere. Roooper to say he’s ready to move on. Even more Ingram was starting to say this right, like, not just the candidates.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:12

    And the entire Triangle of doom, or the two thirds of your Triangle of doom. All said, guys, come on. Like, we can’t do this again. We just lost every one of the trump endorse candidates. In the midterms, let’s talk about how he’s a loser.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:26

    Let’s talk about how he’s delusional in the election. Could that have worked and had the person here, you know, putting all their eggs in one basket not been Ron DeSantis, you know, and that’s a lot of ifs. I don’t think it was fate accompli. I think that there was a window to do it, and they were just too cowardly to attempt it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:45

    Yeah. So I agree with this. This is also my assessment, and you’re right. We can’t run this counter factual for real, but one thing I can be really sure of is that everybody decided from Sununu to Paul Ryan Trump can’t win. He won’t win, and he can’t win.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:00

    Well, you know what? If that’s your only argument, not that it was immoral, not that he tried to stage a coup, not that he’s incompetence. And not that he actually didn’t do a good job. Like, if if it’s only that he can’t win, the second he starts pulling even with Biden or anywhere in the range, your argument’s gone. And that’s all they did.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:17

    They all chose this incredibly safe route that was just look, I’m on side. I’m on the team, but, you know, he can’t win. He won’t be the nominee. So wrong. So wrong.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:29

    I wanna talk about DeSantis because that’s where you were going with this. Ron DeSantis is also sort of not the great electable white night he used to be. He was really riding high. As you just noted, after the twenty twenty two elections, you know, he just won by nineteen points. And Trump’s favorite candidates at Boston.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:45

    But now today, the real clear politics average for the Biden DeSantis matchup is Biden plus two point eight, and the Biden trump average is trump plus point five.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:59

    I’m following
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:59

    Biden is outperforming DeSantis Trump’s outperforming Biden.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:03

    Heck of a job, Jeff Rowe.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:05

    Yeah. Jeff Rowe. I hope he never works in politics again. The day before we take the show, we just got a new hampshire poll, that saw DeSantis fall from a high point of forty three percent in that same poll in January. He’s now down to ten percent in the latest poll.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:21

    And he is in fifth place. Fifth place. So to be clear, DeSantis is still in national pulling in the upper Echelon of the field. And with voters in the groups. But I think a lot more negativity is creeped in since we last talked about him on the show.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:35

    And I think that explains a lot of his fade. So let’s listen.
  • Speaker 10
    0:22:42

    When DeSantis said he was running, I was pretty happy about that, but his gift gotten killed to the polls. I mean, he’s kind of action weird. It just seems like he lost all his confidence that he used to have when he was a governor.
  • Speaker 11
    0:22:54

    Now he is too polarizing even more so than Trump in certain fashions. But I like him. I mean, I I think, I think he’s a good leader. People love him in Florida.
  • Speaker 9
    0:23:09

    He’s fine. He’s, less aggressive than Trump. And he is a policy wonk so he knows how to sort of pull the levers of government. There might be a couple things about his personality that seem a little wooden You might need to work on that.
  • Speaker 12
    0:23:24

    DeSantis was a great governor. I submitted Acegate. I don’t know, but something’s weird. Something weird is going on.
  • Speaker 4
    0:23:32

    Why do you think he’s weird?
  • Speaker 12
    0:23:33

    He’s gone quiet. It’s like somebody is paying him to stay quiet. Yeah. His whole personality has changed. He’s not as mouthy as he used to be.
  • Speaker 12
    0:23:42

    He’s not as, like, you know, let’s let’s beat him up. Let’s go. This is stupid as he used to be. And, you know, if I thought
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:50

    Got him soft. Yeah.
  • Speaker 12
    0:23:52

    I think he’s gotten soft. I think he’s gone quiet. He’s gotten soft, and he’s accepted some money. Somewhere along the line.
  • Speaker 13
    0:23:58

    He stood a certain way with Trump, and now he’s kind of starting to twist things and turn things into the opposite direction. And I think he’s great for Florida. I think he’s great at running a state. I just don’t think that I would trust him to run a country. He is very much one of those political swampy guys, I think that he’s very wishy washy.
  • Speaker 13
    0:24:29

    He comes off a certain way But when you really watch him, just some of his facial expressions,
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:37

    I just feel like he’s kinda like a trump mini, but I like trump, so not really in a good way. Like, if you’re gonna have a trump type personality, which I feel like the same design, just get Trump. She’s making great points.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:52

    Some really compelling complaints from those groups. Except for the one lady that seemed to be maybe implying that there was a a second DeSantis. I don’t know why all the maggots immediately go to the doppelganger theory. I don’t know what it is. Can we blame the Marvel movies about that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:05

    I don’t know. It’s very popular. There are two Federiments. They’re two DeSantis. Is.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:08

    I’m not sure if it was body double, but, like, she was suggesting that maybe someone’s paying him. Like, he’s been bought off. Like, there’s definitely a conspiracy in there somewhere. It just isn’t clear what the conspiracy is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:20

    I thought the woman that talked about the mini Trump why not just have Trump, that was right on brand, but equally on brand was the woman right before her. Who was saying basically that I thought he was making some great points when he was talking about how good Trump was, but now he’s starting to get all squirrelly and wishy washy. This goes back to what I was saying in intro. Right? Just about this notion that, like, you can’t say Trump’s the best for seven years.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:40

    And then all of a sudden, start criticizing him. People listen to that, and and it to make things sound like something’s wrong with you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:46

    That’s right. And, you know, if you read some of the stories right now about the Santos’s campaign, The extent of the hedging now, right, they’re not winning Iowa. Their expectation setting is all about, like, well, if we come in a close ish seconds, then we get it down to a two man race by South Carolina. And I’m like, in what world Do the two South Carolivians drop out before their home state to make it a two man race for you, Rob. I just Second
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:16

    third third second. Question mark. Republican nomination. I don’t know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:24

    Super Tuesday with states such as Texas. AM, California. We’re trucking.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:29

    Louisiana where where trump’s running like seventy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:34

    Yeah. That’s right. So, no offense, but, as part of the campaign, that’s been you have worked on some campaigns in which You went from high expectations, people thinking you’re the guy, establishment favorite, and suddenly voters don’t like you anymore.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:53

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:53

    Do you think the cake’s baked Ron DeSantis at this point, or does he get a second look at all?
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:58

    Think it’s pretty close. I the ones that think that he does have better than Jeb did, and I don’t think anything is better about Ron DeSantis than Jeb, but about his political prospects. Is that the Iowa electorate does kind of line up with DeSantis much more than it did with Jeb. Right? And so he does still have this kind of emergency break glass thing that you just, you know, I think that it’s close to dead, but he can at least do this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:23

    So you’re saying there’s a chance thing. Where I don’t think that we could. At this point, it was about October that I knew Jeb’s campaign was over. And maybe other people might have known by September. I always said and I think I said this on next level.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:36

    In the joke campaign, I was like, if we dip below Trump and Marco, it’s over. Because people don’t really give you a second look. I was saying to, like Murphy, I couldn’t talk to Mike Murphy, but I was saying to people that talked to Mike Murphy was working on the Jeb Super PAC I know Mike Murphy from Hacks on Tap Pod, Cas, or Sarah was on recently. You know, he was running the super pack, and they have the more money over there. And I was like, we need to spend money to lift Jev up so that he doesn’t drop so far in the polls that you get this loser stink.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:04

    And Designitas has the loser stink on him. And now he’s obviously way below trump But in these polls, as you mentioned, he’s dipping below Vivic in a couple, below Haley in a couple. If that becomes consistent, it’s hard to see why people give them a second look. Makes much more sense for them to give Haley and Vivek a look.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:23

    So you mentioned Vivek, and that’s DeSantis’ other problem. Right? For the people willing to move on from Trump in his primary, there’s another hotter candidate, that’s capturing their imaginations. And that’s Vive Agramaswamy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:35

    We’re great on a curve here on hotness.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:37

    Let’s listen to some of the Ramaswamy love from recent months.
  • Speaker 12
    0:28:42

    On the high level, government needs to be run like a business. On the low level of the state level, take care of your people. You know, a little bit more take care of your people, but on on the high level, it needs to be run like a business. And I like that, Vivec has that kind of a mindset versus a career politician mindset. Nicki Haley was really quick to jump on him about him not knowing foreign policy.
  • Speaker 12
    0:29:06

    You know what? No. Presidential candidate. And I don’t care who they are. I don’t care what side they’re on, knows everything about all the different divisions that a president has to, you know, touch and get involved in.
  • Speaker 12
    0:29:17

    That’s why they have people they appoint to those positions advisors to advise them.
  • Speaker 14
    0:29:22

    Ramaswamy has a lot of good responses and comments, and I think he has a very polished message. But my problem with him is that if you look at some of his previous dances, he has flip flopped on a lot of issues.
  • Speaker 4
    0:29:35

    From what I’ve heard, like, he’s staunchly pro life. He’s, you know, where I am with the gender issues. And I just feel like he’s level headed feel like he’s a loose cannon. I feel like he’s articulate. And he seems like he’d be a good leader.
  • Speaker 4
    0:29:49

    So I know he’s only pulling third, so thought a great chance to make it, but I’m I’m interested in, you know, hearing more from him and seeing if he can make it, you Jonathan Last
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:00

    woman said DeSantis was her first choice when we eventually asked, which demonstrates a dynamic I’ve seen play out among a lot of these move on from trumpers. Which is even if people’s heads are telling them to go with DeSantis, their hearts are often with Rahaswami, but people are just worried he doesn’t have a chance. For many, though, he’s taken over as the Trump without the baggage that DeSantis used to be. Tim, you, I think, early said if DeSantis fades that the person who would replace him is vivinc. You know, why do you think he’s doing so well with base voters?
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:35

    Two things. Just he doesn’t feel like a politician, and he certainly doesn’t feel like a politician for the Bush era. And this is what these folks want. You know, you play the clip of the moment giving this lengthy excuse for, like, how you don’t need to know anything about foreign policy to be president. And, you know, when I watched that entire focus group that you did and there was a lot more along that same vein.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:54

    Right? They like that they’re not a and they will come up with any post hoc excuses that they can for anything that he says that feels like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about or whatever. It’s like, you can bring in people. Thought the people the expert should bring in with a deep state. I don’t they don’t really think about that though.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:09

    So anyway, they like that he is not like a Bush politician. And then the other thing I’m just gonna give you this little scoop from another, story I’ve been working on, I don’t know that people have really made this connection, but Vivic and Elise Defonic, like, were pals. At Harvard. And I, you know, I’ve heard they’ve been talking. And once that really clicked with me, at least gave him, like, a road map for how you do this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:32

    Like, how you just feed people the maggast stuff they want. I mean, she’s been like this test case almost, like, in Congress, of somebody that, like, wasn’t Magga, but just put on the costume and embraced it and did it wholeheartedly. And in a lot of ways, I think that he was able to watch that and learn from that where these other folks were all politicians, you know, already. And so he was able to kind of jump in here and give the dogs, the dog food that they like, so to speak.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:58

    Yeah. So two things on this. One, I knew that DeSantis was starting to crater with these voters when they started saying, He seems like a regular politician. The not a regular politician thing, the extent to which that runs so deep in the Republican Party and presents, I think, a real challenge for Republican politicians in the future can’t be overstated. The second thing about Robaswami is like, this guy, he was on like a Sorrow scholarship.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:28

    He definitely voted for Obama. He was like, it’s not just least defined. Like, he was a young Democrat. Like, not just Main Street Republican moderate, like Elise. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:36

    He was kind of shaping up to be a dem.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:38

    Yeah. I think he was more like just making money. He did go to a Democratic fundraiser. Right? But, yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:42

    And I think he was like a non political striving kit.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:47

    What does this mean going forward for the Republican Party that, like, These are the kinds of people that can break out. And, like, if you are good on foreign policy as Nikki Haley is that actually voters are like, get out of here with all your knowledge and experience. We don’t want any of that here. Hate it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:10

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:11

    Give me this weird guy who ran some tech company that built people out of money and raps to M and M and loves Trump. That’s what I’m looking for.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:19

    Yeah. I mean, Mitch called it during the midterms, the candidate quality problem, you know, but I do think that it’s a a semi permanent issue. Right? Because they’re not Building a bench. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:29

    For all of a sudden, there was, like, concern about the Democratic bench for a while that wasn’t built during the Obama era. They’re not building a bench in the Trump era because They can’t find people. It gets very challenging to find somebody that is deaf enough to do the Trump stick without coming off like a complete conspiratorial wound. Right? And somebody that wants to be in politics, it doesn’t feel like a politician.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:52

    So what I think that this means is that There is gonna be a lane for a while for somebody that wants to come off the sidelines and just sing from the Maga Himbook. Because that’s what folks want, and there’s not a long line to get into as Vivic found. Now it’s harder than it seems. Say what you want about him. He’s very talented, like when I went to see him.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:15

    He’s obviously smart. He’s obviously deaf on his feet. But even somebody smart who went to Harvard is deaf on his feet at times when you start dabbling in conspiracy land, sometimes you start sounding like a lunatic, like, when he starts questioning nine eleven. Right? So, you know, it’s it’s challenging.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:30

    So maybe, you know, the Republican party will be saved from itself because, like, it’s just hard to imitate Trump, but I think that the party is going to be at risk of having these types figures, Vivic type figures come in from the outside and take over state parties and maybe future national campaigns, you know, for a little while.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:45

    Yeah. Well, I think it’s clear that if Trump wins a second term, shudder at the thought.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:50

    Oh my god.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:50

    Both Vivec and, Elise, will probably feature prominently in that administration.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:56

    For sure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:56

    Now
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:56

    let’s turn our attention to somebody who I think would not feature prominently in that administration, which is Nikki Haley, so in that first debate, you know, she slapped Vivic around a little bit and was pretty good on substance. And she got generally positive reviews from the focus groups on the day after that debate. Let’s listen.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:14

    You can tell she was very prepared. She really hammered, and the what’s his name? The Vectac. She was all over him. I was impressed.
  • Speaker 15
    0:35:24

    I liked that, you know, she also emphasize what’s realistic. You know, some candidates, they say, I wanna do this. I wanna do that. She’s like, yeah. But what’s realistic of Congress?
  • Speaker 15
    0:35:33

    Like, what can we actually across. So I liked that point of, like, we’re not about, like, lofty ideas. What do we actually need to do to make it happen? So I liked that point at least.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:42

    So here’s the problem for Nikki and the focus groups. She routinely gets kind of like people saying, I like Nikki Haley. She seems alright, you know, whatever. Nikki Haley is almost never the top choice for the people in focus groups. Tim Scott’s actually got this too.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:58

    They like her okay. They like him okay. They don’t wanna vote for them for president. You know, you wrote when you told that, like, the imaginary GOP primary where there’s these, like, normie candidates that think they have a real chance. You talk about Haley being one of them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:12

    Does she not understand what’s happened to the Republican party? What is she doing right now? Like, what’s her end game? I have a theory on this, but what’s yours?
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:20

    I love to hear your theory. I think maybe it’s ego. So here’s something that’s sometimes hard to wrap your head around. Right? These two things can be true.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:27

    Nikki Haley cannot win a majority of this party. But there’s still a pretty decent chunk of people that really like Nikki Haley. Right? And so she has big events in South Carolina When she’s out on the street, people see her and they’re like, Hey, Nikki. You’re my girl.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:39

    You know, I’ve told this story before about John Hunt. Right? Like, we ended up getting seventeen percent to New Hampshire. That’s kind of a lot. When we’re walking down the street in Manchester and portsmouth, like, people are shouting at them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:50

    Hey, John. I love you. We’re filling up town halls. And so you can convince yourself, okay. Alright.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:56

    Something’s happening here. I can feel it in the streets. You know, I can feel the energy at the events. And I so I my guess is that there’s some of that at play. Maybe there’s some of that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:05

    She doesn’t know what else to do with her life at play. So why not give it a shot? Then I think, you know, I was talking to a political reporter who’s doing a profile on her. I think that there’s this. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:14

    You get this momentum up to twenty and then you get into magical thinking. You’re like, alright. What happens if I get to twenty? And then trunk goes to jail. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:24

    Or like, what happens if I get to twenty? And then I get to thirty, and then night people start giving me a second. Look, then the polls are showing me up ten. Right? You start to kind of talk yourself into it, but the problem is that, like, that’s her ceiling kind of.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:34

    I’d I don’t know that realizes that. I’m not sure.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:37

    She and people like Mike Pence are discovering just now. The extent to which the party is not like they thought. They spend too much time at AEI events and other mainstream events. And they dabble in the stuff where I should, like, go and do a photo op with diamond and silk or whatever. But, like, I don’t think they realize quite the hostility ultimately to the pre trump politicians.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:03

    My theory of her case was that she was running to cut a deal with somebody by South Carolina.
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:10

    Mhmm.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:10

    Like, I actually think that she thought of Ron DeSantis was running neck and neck with Trump that somebody would come to her with a deal for her twelve percent in South Carolina.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:20

    Yeah. Two decent thirty. That’s
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:22

    where I think she was thinking. I think that sounded good on paper. The problem was is, like, to be that person, she had to, like, ding Ron DeSantis. And she’s had this sort of strange way of navigating Trump where she says, like, on the debate stage, she said, you know, Trump is, you know, we got most unpopular presidents. She’s, like, she’s kinda hitting them because she knows she sorta has to to differentiate, but also talks about what a great president he was and how she’s on his side and how she’s in his cabinet.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:49

    The other thing for Nikki Haley that I want a flag. And I gotta say I was a little bit surprised when I started hearing this in the focus groups when I was asking about Haley. Which is that plenty of people in the focus groups over the last few months had real qualms about whether or not the country is ready for a woman as president. Well, let’s listen.
  • Speaker 16
    0:39:10

    I’m imagining her, like, meeting with Putin or the, you know, the Chinese leader, etcetera. I just I don’t think she has a chance winning and I’m just gonna say it. Like, I think that not enough people will vote for her. I think some women will be against her because she’s Republican. And I also know some men, like, they’re not gonna vote for a woman as president, whether it’s right or wrong, I feel like voting for her is a vote down the drain.
  • Speaker 3
    0:39:33

    I don’t wanna sound, you know, bad or anything, but I just think I I prefer male presidents, and I think they are just stronger talking and speaking and then a lot of areas. So, I don’t know. I would just prefer a male candidate. I don’t dislike Nikki Haley. I don’t, you know, have anything bad to say about her.
  • Speaker 3
    0:39:52

    I would just prefer DeSantis or Trump. Yeah. I guess it’s just a personal thing. I voted for females for Senate Female. In Congress before, but as a president, I would just like to see a male.
  • Speaker 17
    0:40:04

    It’s not that I don’t like her. I’m a hundred percent opposed to a female president, which is probably not gonna be a very popular thing to say, but I was in the military. And so many other world leaders will not respect us with a female leader and won’t listen to anything that we do or say, and we open ourselves up to way more attack. It the world is just not ready for that yet.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:23

    So I played you some of them. Like, Wendy would say it out loud, other people would sit there and nod. And the whole world leaders won’t respect them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:33

    What might happen if they’re on their period? They might be having a pillow fight the west wing. I mean, this stuff is like and you knew that people thought it, like, that they felt comfortable enough to be that explicit.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:45

    That’s sort of my question for you is I think this is what Trump did. Right? Trump has just made it okay to say this stuff out loud. People are kinda like, well, maybe somebody won’t like this, but, like, they’re gonna vocalize it, which I guess I don’t know. If you’re gonna think it, I guess I’d rather know you think it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:03

    I I don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:04

    This is one of those where you gotta wanna come to the glass and just be like, have you ever heard of Margaret thatcher, the iron lady? Like, do we need to watch a movie?
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:13

    They have heard of Margaret thatcher.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:15

    We’re ending this focus group right now, and I’m putting on an iron lady documentary for you guys, and you’re all gonna sit here and spend the next thirty minutes watching it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:22

    Yeah. It’s some wild stuff. And and, you know, I I gotta ask early on in the primary about Nikki Haley, you know, people would be like, what do you think people vote for a woman or whatever. And I was like, yes. Guys, I was like, this is, like, kind of a pass a conversation.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:35

    And I was, like, actually wrong. Wrong, wrong. I mean, lots of people will, but there is still this sort of real, this real voice. And I think Trump’s given it or permission. Now We
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:47

    wouldn’t want somebody emotionally unstable in the White House. So get better hand the keys over to Donald Trump.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:52

    Yeah. You know what’s funny though? These same people, I bet if it was Marjorie Taylor Green or Lauren Bobert or Carrie Lake, they might get on board. But as we know, like you said, This is really just about for president because they gotta walk and talk tough. But senator, I I voted for females.
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:09

    I voted for females. Put it on her shirts. Alright. Let’s talk about Scott MENTum. Tim Scott.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:15

    I was like, Scott Who?
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:19

    So know, he got pretty negative reviews coming out of that first debate, but, you know, he actually gets some love, like Nikki from the focus groups over the last few months. Let’s listen.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:30

    I saw him with this interview. He shredded the the people on the view.
  • Speaker 12
    0:42:34

    Yeah. That was great.
  • Speaker 18
    0:42:36

    For me, he’s just genuine. And did you see his interview on the view? He was outstanding. He defended himself. He defended what he believed in, and I
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:47

    actually think that they were they were hushed. They really had no response. I think he is going to, either pick up or pretty much dominate evangelical Christian votes.
  • Speaker 19
    0:43:02

    I will always have a soft spot for Tim Scott. I have voted for him since he raised County Council of Charleston County.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:06

    And I think he’s a wonderful man. If this is not his time around, I hope his time is coming soon because he is wonderful. His story is wonderful. He is even handed. He’s a gentleman.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:19

    The good news is I don’t think we’ve had anybody in the focus group who said out loud they will not vote for a black candidate.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:26

    That’s good.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:27

    Great news there?
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:28

    Those ladies on the view were hushed.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:30

    They were hushed. He put them in their place.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:33

    Yeah. They were hushed.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:34

    He had got a little bump. He got a bump after the view thing. That clip went viral and that’s what you really hear people mention about him. But what do you make of I actually haven’t read anything to this effect, but I suspect post that first debate performance, that all the donor money that was going to him is maybe moving to Nikki. What do you think?
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:53

    I gotta tell you, you’re not supposed to say this is a political pundit, but I am just mystified by what Tim Scott is doing. What the point of the campaign is. Maybe those focus groups provide an answer. Maybe it’s just simply, some rich guy wants to give me a lot of money, so I’m gonna use to raise my profile, and I can maybe sell some books and go out on the speaking circle. I I really just don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:16

    And I’m making it my mission to try to figure this out. So maybe I can have a report for you by a different podcast, but the whole thing is so weird. He barely talked to the debate. Now he’s got the fake girlfriend or real girlfriend, whatever, that he show people that he’s talking about. It’s really embarrassing and cringe.
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:30

    He has a fake girlfriend from that lives in Niagara Falls.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:33

    Maybe this girlfriend is real. I don’t know. I by the way, I’m not even judging him over this It’s just like, why is he doing this? He was on a stage in Iowa where, like, one of the local Iowa politicians asked him. He’s like, so I hear you have a special lady.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:45

    And he’s like, yeah, I’ve got a nice Christian lady in my life, but then he doesn’t say her name or doesn’t mention her. And it’s just like he has a Canada girlfriend. Like, why are you putting yourself through this? Like, you’re not gonna be the president. Donald Trump is never gonna pick you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:02

    I’m mystified by this one. I know I’m supposed to come on Secret Podcast, provide insight. I have insight on all the other candidates. This one is just a flat mystery to me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:09

    I liked your piece that you wrote about. The super packs lighting their money on fire.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:13

    Oh, yeah. Sure.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:14

    So why don’t you hit that for a second? Because I think in the fantasy primary, there’s still a lot of real money sloshing around.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:19

    Yeah. There is. There’s certain kinds of things that you can do with money. Right? You know this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:23

    You’re you’re unpacked. So this is not to say that all super packs are worth Right? I don’t
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:27

    run a candidate Super PAC. I run like a Republican voters against Trump type Super PAC, which is That’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:32

    what I’m saying. We need
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:32

    to do a very, like, a slice mission.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:34

    A specific thing. Right. Exactly. And there are certain things that you can do with paid advertising in the year of our large twenty twenty three. When everybody’s on YouTube and TikTok and Twitter and face book in Instagram and watching TV, but they cut the cord and somehow it’s not like the old days where you can put on an ad during the nightly news in Des Moines and have everybody see it and have everybody learn about your candidate and you can inject something into the conversation.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:56

    It’s all too diffuse now. So there’s certain things you can do with money. And Tim Scott is running a ton of soft gauzy ads about how he’s a nice guy. It included the view things. So for people that didn’t see it on their social media, they saw it on TV.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:08

    Like, really gave it to those ladies on the view. And that I think you’re probably seeing that impact in these focus groups when people are saying nice things They’re like, he seems nice. He seems good. He’s a whack Republican, and he’s nice to trump. And so you can do that, or you can inject one negative thing about an opponent via television advertising.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:26

    Right? Or you can do what our vet is trying to do, like talk to a small narrow percentage of voters. But this idea that you can spend sixty million and run ads about a person and that people are gonna be sitting there watching their TV and be like, oh, yeah. Maybe I’ll be for Tim Scott president is insane. It’s insane.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:44

    Everyone in their life is talking about this race. Like, this is not a city council race. Everyone knows Donald Trump. They’ve deeply held views about Donald Trump. They might have Donald Trump merchandise.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:53

    Donald Trump has talked about a church on sports talk radio, on cable TV. The presidential race is everywhere, particularly in these early states. And so running a thirty second ad that’s like Tim Scott is conservative man who did a good interview on the view and you can count on him. Like who’s mind is that gonna change? And it’s crazy and yet these consultants are continuing to just light money on fire running these kinds of ads that worked in nineteen ninety six because there weren’t all these other where people were getting information about the candidates and there wasn’t a leading candidate in the field in nineteen ninety six that was like the most famous person in history besides Hitler.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:28

    Yeah. And I don’t wanna get into it too deeply, but the consultant class that’s building the billionaire class altogether to, like, run this fantasy primary. Like, it is, like, they’re conjuring something and none of it’s real. Like, How much money has Trump even raised?
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:44

    Spend mustard’s money on lawyers.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:45

    Yeah. Lawyers. The indictments are like his campaign strategy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:48

    Trump did one of the one things you can do with this money. Early in the race, he did spend money going negative on DeSantis in Iowa, on TV. Yep. And he brought up how DeSantis was disloyal and da da da da. That probably had some impact on the margins.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:02

    You know, because people didn’t Ron DeSantis that well, and they were, you know, he was defining them and but he’s not spending that much money. Like, it’s not like there’s a bunch of TV ads that are being spent in South Carolina right now that’s like, Donald Trump, businessman, you know, built fifty miles a wall. Right? Like the Trump campaign, say what you want about it. I mean, it’s a grift.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:21

    He’s he’s redirecting a lot of money to lawyers, but they recognized something dating all the way back to twenty sixteen that all the professional political consultants didn’t. And for some reason, professional political consultants in twenty twenty four working for Tim Scott and Ron DeSantis are running the same strategy that failed in twenty sixteen. It makes me mad, really. Yeah. Give me the money.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:42

    I or give some poor kids. Like, this is crazy. These guys don’t need beach houses.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:47

    Yeah. Well, you know what makes me crazy about it is that they’re gonna spend all this money in a Republican primary for nothing, and they won’t spend any money in a general election to try to Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:57

    This drove me crazy. Did you see this political article about the DeSantis Super PAC couple weeks ago? Where it was, like, their micro targeting. They’re testing at Tumwa, Iowa, and then they’re testing cedar falls and they’re using control groups and they’re determining that if they use this message or this vehicle, they’ll get a six percent better favorability. And I’m like, you’re losing by fifty.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:18

    You’re losing by fifty. Six percent better favorability does nothing. But to your point, that stuff could matter in a general election very narrow. Right? Like, like, moving six percent of these soft Republicans from Trump to nothing or from nothing to divide, and that could save the country.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:35

    Moving six percent of people Ron DeSantis to go from twelve back to eighteen. That’s just lighting money on fire.
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:43

    Yeah. Alright. Just to wrap it up on Tim Scott, though, that August debate him was was not great. And so I wanna play how people thought about Scott and then some of the other candidates they deemed irrelevant after that debate.
  • Speaker 12
    0:49:58

    He tried to insert himself a couple of times, but he he just was not aggressive enough.
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:03

    Yeah. And that’s noticeable. And you don’t wanna be noticed like that.
  • Speaker 15
    0:50:06

    Tim Scott, Chris Christie, and Acear. Acear, how are you pronounce that? I don’t like, you don’t want someone that’s not memorable, and I think that they just are not contenders, especially when you’re trying so badly to go against Biden that I think is pretty not liked by everyone.
  • Speaker 12
    0:50:24

    I would put Bergen in that category too.
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:26

    Bergen.
  • Speaker 20
    0:50:26

    So it doesn’t really make a difference if it’s Bergam lost or, Tim Scott lost or as I had since lost. It’s like they were not really out there. They didn’t stand out.
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:36

    The one name we haven’t said, or nobody’s mentioned, is Mike Pence.
  • Speaker 4
    0:50:41

    I was actually really disappointed. And, I mean, I thought he had some good answers, but I was disappointed on how him and Vivek kinda went each other. I thought it was kind of embarrassing when especially when he made the comment about, well, let me slow it down for you. I don’t know. It just made me seem a little differently, and I didn’t appreciate that comment.
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:58

    Going back to Pence, what kept on going through my mind as he was talking is I couldn’t get the trump, indictments out of my head, or just couldn’t.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:07

    So I think we’re gonna do a whole Pence episode. So I don’t wanna dig, like, so deeply into Pence, but we’ll have just watched the second debate. What is Mike Pence doing? Acea god bless him, and will heard god bless him. And you and I disagree on this, but Chris Christy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:24

    God bless him in this particular moment, but not before. Give me just like a strategist sort of rank upon the tree. Like, when do you think these guys start to drop?
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:32

    Forgot that you didn’t play this clip, but one of the win the most Magga woman in the group says when the moderator is asking who won the debate, she comes to her and she’s like, nobody said trump yet, but I think it was basically Trump, and then basically everyone on the Zoom’s like, yeah. But, yeah, you’re right. It was basically trump. Yeah. I mean, the one guy saying nobody mentioned bike pants, that was the deepest cut.
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:52

    You know, we don’t need to discuss Pence anymore because that was, like, kind of all you need to say. The focus group forgot he existed. I think that it’s different for different ones. I assume ace, will drop any day. But god love him.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:03

    I’m with you on that. He did have one woman in the focus group who really liked him, and so that was heartwarming. But you know, Bergam has a lot of money. So he’s just doing this for attention. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:12

    So what’s the point of dropping? If you’re him, Chris Christie. We don’t need to fight about Chris Christie, but I He said he’s gonna stand through New Hampshire, which, as I’ve said from the start, only serves to help Donald Trump. He can say whatever he wants, but Chris Christie in New Hampshire is not helpful. Christine endorsing someone else for New Hampshire.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:28

    It would be helpful conceivably. But sounds like he’s gonna stay through to New Hampshire. Whom I forgetting. I already did this once with Tim Scott. It’s hard for me to get in ahead of my pets too.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:39

    I mean, I I I do think at this point, he has seen reality. And so maybe he sees that there is some greater mission. You know, I’ve always said about presidential campaigns. Sometimes there is a mission for entering a presidential race that is greater than trying to win. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:54

    Because it is the opportunity to get on a stage and speak to a broad audience that you wouldn’t have otherwise. And so I think that that’s probably where Mike Pence is. He’s like, let’s run through the tape in Iowa. Get on these stages, talk about the Reagan three legged stool and talk about conservatism versus populism and I think that’s probably what Pence is thinking at this point.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:14

    The amount of sound that we have of people talking about how much they dislike or don’t care about Mike Pence is, like, unbelievable. And I have said this for a long time. They must be running their own focus groups. They must be listening. Like, there’s no way they’re not hearing what we are hearing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:31

    Maybe you should run a bonus episode that’s just like anti Mike Pence. That’s just you just you saying, hey, guys. This is a mid week episode of the focus group, and I’m not gonna you any analysis here, but here’s forty minutes of people shitting on my fence.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:44

    I think we could put together, like, two hours. Alright. On that note, Tim Miller, my friend. Thank you so much for wrapping up our two parts, season premiere with us. And thanks to all of you, groupies, for listening to the Focus Secret Podcast, remember to subscribe, rate and review, and then also subscribe to Bulwark on YouTube.
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:03

    We’re doing video now. So, I let you see me red faced after working out. So next week, Hey, we’re gonna check-in with give people a break from Trump and Republicans, the state of the country, and take their temperature on their excitement about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s reelection prospects. Not gonna wanna miss it. Bye bye.
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