Haley and DeSantis Pander to Iowans by Praising Ethanol Mandate

“In practice, though, ethanol is actually worse for the environment than traditional gasoline. And while ethanol is cheaper than gasoline, it also contains less energy by volume. Depending on the age of your vehicle, it can also be bad for your engine.

One thing ethanol is good for, though, is corn farmers. A 2021 report by Taxpayers for Common Sense called the Renewable Fuel Standard “the largest current subsidy for corn ethanol.” A 2022 study found, as Reuters put it, that “as a result of the mandate, corn cultivation grew 8.7% and expanded into 6.9 million additional acres of land between 2008 and 2016.”

It therefore makes perfect sense for two candidates desperate for votes in Iowa—the state that produces more corn than any other—to pledge fealty to a federal mandate that requires more people to buy corn-based ethanol. But just because something makes political sense doesn’t make it good policy.”


Sen. Lankford says a ‘popular commentator’ threatened to ‘do whatever I can to destroy you’ if he negotiated a border deal during a presidential election year

“Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma spoke on Wednesday about the political challenges he’s encountered while serving as the top GOP negotiator on a bipartisan border security deal.
In a speech shortly before the expected failure of the deal, Lankford bemoaned the fact that some fellow Republicans were objecting to the bill for purely political reasons.

“Some of them have been very clear with me,” Lankford said of his GOP colleagues, “they have political differences with the bill. They say it’s the wrong time to solve the problem. We’ll let the presidential election solve this problem.”

Lankford went on to say that a “popular commentator” — without naming any names — threatened to “destroy” him if he negotiated the deal during a presidential election year, regardless of what was in it.

“I will do whatever I can to destroy you, because I do not want you to solve this during the presidential election,” Lankford recounted the commentator saying.

“By the way, they have been faithful to their promise, and have done everything they can to destroy me,” he added.”


Ron DeSantis got the Republican Party wrong

“The DeSantis campaign was fundamentally a product of a certain class of the GOP’s elite: people who admired Donald Trump’s willingness to break the traditional norms of American politics but saw him as basically déclassé or ineffectual. These are the sorts of conservatives who look admiringly at Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orbán, seeing his use of legalistic arcana to crush liberal opposition as a model for how to fight a culture war and win.
Obviously, most Republican voters aren’t this hyper-ideological. But DeSantis and his allies theorized that the “Trump but competent” shtick would allow them to pull from all sides of the GOP electorate. By focusing on his “culture warrior” background — like his fights over Covid restrictions and Disney — DeSantis could win over a key portion of the Republican base. By seeming more competent and organized, he could scan as palatable to the traditional establishment.

Except it turned out that the kind of culture war politics DeSantis offered, an often-abstract assault on “wokeness,” paled in comparison to what Trump served up. The MAGA base wanted Trump and all his hard edges: the bigoted rhetoric and all-consuming post-2020 election anger. The rump establishment bloc preferred Nikki Haley, sticking DeSantis in no-man’s land. His campaign was appealing to a small niche of highly intellectual populist conservatives, but that proved to be just about it.

The MAGA faithful didn’t want a pseudo-Trump gussied up for the GOP’s elite. They wanted Trump and his “retribution.” DeSantis’s failure to recognize this doomed him from the start.”


Nikki Haley’s “rise” and the Republican flight from reality

“We live in a world where nearly 80 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of Donald Trump. These voters are, in many cases, authentic Trumpists: About 70 percent of Republicans believe that the 2020 election was stolen. New research by political scientists Larry Bartels and Nicholas Carnes found that House Republicans who opposed Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election were considerably more likely to lose in a primary or be forced into retirement than Trump-supporting peers.
Trump is not some kind of aberration, a flash in the pan akin to candidates like Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann in previous cycles. He and — crucially — his worldview are so popular among Republican primary voters that they can’t be beaten by throwing money at someone like Nikki Haley.

That means the 2024 election is not a competition between an ordinary Democrat and an ordinary Republican. It is a choice between an ordinary Democrat and a Republican running on an increasingly open platform of tearing down American democracy. Instead of acknowledging this reality, AFPA has simply chosen to live in a fantasy land where the GOP is still the party of limited government libertarianism — and where Democrats are, implausibly, Trumpism’s mirror image threat to American democracy.

It’s easy to understand the reasons for this flight of fancy. From the point of view of someone who deeply believes in traditional small government conservatism, this election truly is an agonizing choice.

With the exception of free trade, Trump’s last term largely served the super-wealthy’s interests in economic matters — passing a massive regressive tax cut and slashing environmental regulations. But he also poses an existential threat to American democracy, promising a term of instability that could shatter the political calm necessary for the economy to function.

Biden, on the other hand, has worked to bring stability to American democracy. Yet he also has moved to the left on economic matters, in ways that threaten the billionaire vision of an American night-watchman state. In a contest between Trump and Biden, the superrich can’t get what they want the most: political stability paired with a continuing assault on the welfare state.

The support for Haley is a way of avoiding what they see as a terrible choice. It’s a desperation play designed to stave off what they see as certain calamity, an 80-yard Hail Mary thrown to a receiver in sextuple coverage.”


Can the party of Trump really become a multiracial coalition?

“White college-educated voters are becoming more Democratic as white non-college-educated voters are becoming more Republican. That’s because of the fundamental political change Ruffini says is the underlying issue for all of these shifts. Education is becoming the great divider in American politics, helping to explain Democratic improvements with well-educated white voters and their weaknesses with non-college-educated white voters — and now non-college-educated voters of color too. While class and income used to be better tools for telling differences between the political parties’ coalitions, “[t]oday, how much money you make no longer dictates how you vote,” he writes early on. “A college diploma has replaced income as the new marker of social class and the key dividing line in elections.””