Dem 51
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GOP 49
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All Quiet on the Eastern Front

The White House is only 30 miles from Chesapeake Bay, which is part of the Atlantic Ocean, so it is clearly in the East. And the battle for it is surprisingly quiet right now. At this point in Jan. 2019, four Democrats (Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, Kamala Harris, D-CA, and Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, along with Mayor Pete Buttigieg) had taken formal steps to run for president. Now, on the Republican side, only Donald Trump has made an announcement. The rest of the likely Republican field is completely frozen, waiting to see what the others do. Except for Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), all the others are waiting for someone else to go first. DeSantis is in no hurry because he already has a team in place from his gubernatorial run and he can raise nearly infinite money for his super PAC by making phone calls to three billionaires (Ken Griffin, Ronald Lauder, and Robert Mercer) that have done everything except post their phone numbers on their Facebook pages. Besides, DeSantis is waiting until the Florida legislative session is over in the late spring so actually governing won't be a distraction. Right now his priority is passing laws that wil make the libs' blood boil.

Wayne MacDonald, the former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party said: "It's very, very quiet." In other words: "Where are the candidates? Why aren't they up here in New Hampshire where they belong?" He's probably going to have to wait quite a bit longer.

Trump's bumpy start (no rallies but dinner with antisemites) has removed some of the pressure on the others. If Trump were out there talking to 10,000 people every day, the pressure to do likewise would be much greater, not he is not, so it isn't. One strategist thought that having multiple candidates announce at the same time would be strongest because if Trump has only one opponent, all his fire will be directed at that one. So each of the not-Trump candidates may be looking at the others to see if they are close to announcing. Basically, they are all scared of their shadows. It could also be that they are really waiting for DeSantis to get in because they know he is tough and when Trump starts going after him, DeSantis will hit back just as hard. This could give the other ones some cover.

The only candidate doing serious-money digital ads is DeSantis. The ads haven't attacked Trump. They are just building name recognition for him along the lines of "Stand with Gov. DeSantis against the woke left." He has spent $65,000 on Google and about $60,000 on Facebook in January. Nobody else is even in the five digits.

In the book alluded to in the headline (All Quiet on the Western Front), the soldiers just sit around in their trenches most of the time waiting for something to happen. Same thing with the Republican primaries. For now. (V)

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