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Willis' Actions Suggest There Will Be Charges Filed in August

This could be the biggie. If Donald Trump is convicted in New York by Alvin Bragg, many people will see it as a dumb accounting mistake and nothing more. After all, if his campaign had directly paid Stormy Daniels from its own money and fully reported it as "services rendered for helping the campaign," it would almost certainly have been legal. Paying her to keep quiet was not a crime. It was the incorrect reporting that was the crime. Similarly, many people are not going to understand why a former president can be charged with holding classified documents when he finally gave them back (well, the FBI took them back). Again, here, the politics are different from the law. The insurrection case Jack Smith may bring is tricky since it hinges on whether giving a speech telling people to go to the Capitol is insurrection.

But the Georgia case Fulton County DA Fani Willis is looking at is crystal clear. Willis is very likely going to indict Trump for trying to intimidate state officials into reversing an election he lost. That is something people can understand. Also, unlike the two likely federal cases, there is no possibility of Trump pardoning himself if he is convicted. Only the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles can pardon people for violations of Georgia law. Presidents can only pardon people who commit (or are planning to commit) federal crimes. For these reasons, a conviction in Georgia might well do the most damage to Trump, both because the crimes are clear (multiple statutes are likely to be cited in an indictment) and Trump can't campaign on "Vote for me so I can pardon myself."

Consequently, all eyes are on Willis. Specifically, she has asked judges in downtown Atlanta not to schedule any trials from August 7 to August 20. She also told most of her staff to work from home in that period. For the ones who will have to work in the office then, she ordered bullet-proof vests for them. She clearly wants to protect her staff from a potential firestorm. She also warned Georgia law enforcement to be ready for trouble.

The Georgia grand jury that would formally bring indictments has a term from July 11 to September 1. Any indictments it issues would come in that period, but now Willis has narrowed the window to 2 weeks in the middle of August. There is no way in the world she would tell judges to clear their dockets, buy bullet-proof vests for her staff, and tell law enforcement to get ready for trouble unless she was planning multiple high-profile indictments. So, we're going to go out all the way on a limb here and predict that she is going to indict Donald Trump for one or more Georgia crimes. We are also going halfway out on the limb and predict that she is also going to indict Rudy Giuliani for something or other, probably committing perjury when he addressed the state legislature. There are likely more indictments as well (possible for those fake electors who did not make a deal with her). If there is going to be only one indictment, there would be no reason to ask all the judges to clear their dockets for 2 whole weeks. That request suggests that one or more judges is going to have plenty of work to do in August.

Of course, it may not be the case that she will bring so many indictments that all the judges will be working until midnight for 2 solid weeks. It could be that she made this request for security reasons. That way nobody except herself and a couple of staff members will know when the axe is going to fall and no ordinary defendants will be around if all hell breaks loose when she indicts Trump. That seems more likely to us than that she is going indict 100 people.

Trump's lawyers are no doubt already preparing motions for the judge to throw the case out. Good luck with that. It is hard to imagine a more solid case for someone trying to interfere with an election. She has interviewed all three people present in the room when Trump made his infamous phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and she has the recording of the call itself. No judge is going to dismiss the case out of hand. And remember, it will be a state judge appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) or one of his predecessors. It won't be a Trump appointee since presidents don't appoint state judges.

In case you were planning to hike the Appalachian Trail in mid August, you are likely to miss all the action. We're told the Trail is also lovely in September. You might want to reschedule your plans. (V)

Biden Says He Thinks He Could Use the Fourteenth Amendment If He Has To

Yesterday, Joe Biden told reporters that he believes he has the authority to use the Fourteenth Amendment to ignore the debt ceiling if it comes to that. However, he also acknowledged that there could be court challenges to it. Actually, it is 100% certain that there would be court challenges, although a key issue in any challenge is the issue of standing to sue. To get over the first hurdle, whoever filed the suit would have to convince a judge (or maybe the Supreme Court) that he, she, or it (if we're talking the House of Representatives, a corporation, or other non-human-and-yet-somehow-still-human entity), was harmed by Biden's use of the Fourteenth Amendment. Depending where the case is filed, there could also be issues of which court has the authority to even hear the case. A filing in D.C. probably wouldn't be challenged on jurisdictional grounds, but one filed in North Texas might be.

Yesterday's remarks were the strongest yet by Biden on the debt ceiling. So far, little progress has been made on raising it because Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wants to use the negotiations over it to ram through massive changes to the federal budget and Biden is not willing to even consider them because the debt ceiling is about paying for things Congress has already approved, not for future spending. The two are unrelated.

The ongoing talks have broken down as the deadline looms ever closer. The problem is so acute that Biden has decided to cut short his foreign trip and not visit Australia as planned in order to come back to continue discussions with McCarthy in person, rather than leaving that to OMB Director Shalanda Young and top aide Steve Ricchetti.

Despite arguing that setting next year's budget has nothing to do with paying last year's bills, Biden is offering to talk about the budget. However, there are many points where the two sides are far apart. For example, Biden wants to keep military spending flat. McCarthy wants to raise it and apply draconian cuts to other spending. Each side has labeled the other's position as "unacceptable." Another hot issue is the Democrats' desire to undo some of the $3.5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy that the Republicans passed in 2017. The Republicans have ruled this out completely.

Yesterday, McCarthy went on Fox News and said: "The difficulty is nothing's agreed to at all." In other words, "the other side hasn't offered to pay up so we may have to kill the hostage after all." Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen went on NBC's Meet the Press to explain that if the debt ceiling isn't raised, the U.S. could run out of money by June 1 and wouldn't be able to pay all its bills. She said hard choices would be needed but didn't make any threats. If she had said: "We're considering stopping Social Security payments in states that voted for Trump in 2020 because Republicans don't think Social Security is a good idea," she probably would have gotten McCarthy's undivided attention, but she didn't.

Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), chairman of the House Budget Committee, went on ABC's This Week to flatly rule out any tax increases as part of a deal. The Republicans' position is "My way or the highway." On the same program, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said that the way out is to advance a discharge petition to force a vote on the House floor on a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling and nothing else. This would require five Republicans to defect from the party line and support it in order to get to 218 votes.

In short, there is a lot of posturing and not much movement. One especially contentious area is the $80 billion that IRS got in the infrastructure bill last year. Republicans want to slash it, even though doing so would reduce tax revenues in the future by making it easier for millionaires and billionaires to get away with cheating on their taxes. This issue is top priority with their donors. Democrats don't have the slightest interest in doing this. Will the hostage get shot? Nobody actually knows and there isn't much time left.

As we have noted before, one way out that is absolutely legal is for the Treasury to mint one or more trillion-dollar platinum coins and deposit them in the Fed's bank account. Yellen hasn't even brought up the subject, which strikes us as poor negotiating. By merely bringing up the topic, she would be warning McCarthy that if there is no deal, she could do this and all his leverage will instantly vanish. Then he might be willing to accept half or a third of what he wants instead of nothing. If she were really smart, she could say that she was considering putting Donald Trump on the front the coins, thus getting him to chime in saying that minting the coins would be a fantastic solution. That would be checkmate for McCarthy. (V)

Trump's Legal Team Is Fighting with Itself

With big legal problems on the horizon in New York, Georgia (see above) and D.C., the last thing Donald Trump needs is a legal team in tatters. But that is what he has now. Timothy Parlatore, the latest person to depart Trump's legal team, on Saturday explained why he left as follows: "The real reason is because there are certain individuals that made defending the president much harder than it needed to be. In particular, there is one individual who works for him, Boris Epshteyn, who had really done everything he could to try to block us—to prevent us from doing what we could to defend the president." A Trump spokesman said Parlatore's statement was categorically false.

Parlatore has played a key role in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, including organizing searches of other Trump properties. Parlatore didn't say what his problem with Epshteyn is, but from what Parlatore was doing, it could be that Epshteyn was trying to block searches and Parlatore thought it was better that his team discovered any new documents, rather than having the FBI discover them later.

Parlatore did say that Epshteyn was blocking his access to Trump. He also said that Epshteyn was not honest with the lawyers and was preventing them from discussing legal strategy with the former president. It is tough enough to be one of Trump's lawyers, and doubly or triply so if some staffer is making it impossible to talk to the client. Parlatore also said that what Epshteyn was doing was not in his client's best interest. Parlatore further said that Epshteyn spent 18 months as a corporate lawyer and on that basis thought he knew everything better than the rest of the legal team.

From what Parlatore said, it seems like Epshteyn's job is to prevent Trump from hearing anything that he might not like and he is apparently good at it. Whether this will be good for Trump in the long run is an open question, but we are doubtful. If Trump is indicted in Georgia and D.C. he is going to need a top-notch unified team of lawyers. Getting good people to work for him is hard enough, and having them leave due to infighting within the legal team is hardly a plus.

With Parlatore gone, two other lawyers, James Trusty and John Rowley, have taken the lead in dealing with Jack Smith. With one or more federal indictments probably near, changing the leadership of the legal team at the last minute is not going to be helpful. And for once, the problem can't be blamed directly on Trump. (V)

Trump's Plans for a Second Term Are Becoming Clearer

Assuming Donald Trump gets the members of his legal team on the same page and assuming he isn't convicted of anything anywhere and assuming he gets the Republican nomination and assuming he beats Joe Biden—which is a lot of assuming—what would he do in a second term? Axios has pieced together his likely governing program if he gets that far. In brief, here are the main points.

  • Pardons: Trump has promised to pardon nearly all the Jan. 6 rioters. That is over 500 now and could reach 1,000 by Jan. 20, 2025. That would nullify what AG Merrick Garland has called the most important criminal investigation in the country's history. Needless to say, A lot of Trump supporters would get the message that they can riot about anything Trump doesn't like and not have to worry about federal charges.

  • Ukraine: He would stop all aid to Ukraine and make deals with Russian President Vladimir Putin. One possible deal might be giving him U.S. military secrets or weapons in return for permission to build a 100-story Trump Tower Moscow with a giant penthouse on top as a present to Putin. The sky's the limit here, literally.

  • Civil Servants: Trump never liked the 1883 Pendleton Act much. It said government jobs went to people on the basis of merit, not patronage. It also said the president can't just fire civil servants who don't agree with him because he wants to. Trump has found a workaround called Schedule F that allows the president to reclassify civil servants as policy makers, who can then be fired by the president at will. He would, on taking office, reclassify nearly all civil servants as Schedule F and fire most of them, replacing them with people whose primary loyalty is to him, not the Constitution. He would call it "draining the swamp." Unions and Democrats would fight him but the Supreme Court would probably go along with it.

  • Education: An area Trump is quite interested in is education. He wants to control it. He would use executive power to fire "radical left" officials who accredit universities, would reward schools that abolish tenure, and would remove all diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. He doesn't have the power to do any of these things, but he would do them anyway and take his chances with the Supreme Court. Given the composition of the Court, it might agree with him.

  • Law enforcement: Trump has had some problems with law enforcement in New York already and will soon have them in Georgia and D.C. To prevent any relapses, he would defund the Justice Dept. and the FBI. At the very least, he would change the focus of the FBI and use it to go after his political enemies. Who knows what AG Giuliani might do (besides consume fistfuls of Viagra)?

  • Gender Issues: He won't entirely eliminate the DoJ because he wants to use it to investigate Big Pharma and Big Hospital to see if they have covered up any negative effects of sex transitions. If they have, then the obvious next step is to ban sex changes altogether. Maybe that is the next step even if they haven't.

  • Prosecutors: Trump has vowed to rid the country of "Marxist" prosecutors, that is, prosecutors who go after people he likes, such as rich tax cheats and police officers who kill unarmed Black people. The president certainly has the power to fire and replace all U.S. attorneys but Trump might even try to fire state prosecutors and see what the courts do.

  • Crime: Trump wants to use the U.S. military to go after drug cartels and street crime. The military is forbidden from operating inside the U.S., but as commander-in-chief he would order them to do it anyway. Going after foreign drug cartels might actually be legal.

  • Freedom cities: Trump doesn't like how U.S. cities are run and wants to create ten "freedom cities." to counter the trend. They would have flying cars and universities that could not ban conservatives from speaking. Women would get bonuses for having more babies. The rest is up in the air so far.

  • Guns: Trump is in favor of laws that would allow anyone with a permit for concealed carry in one state to exercise that privilege in all the other states. So if someone has a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Texas, he could take the concealed weapon to California, no matter what California laws said.

  • Abortion: Interestingly enough, Trump hasn't said what he wants on this issue yet. Most likely he will try to avoid saying anything until after he is elected. Then he will try to ban abortion nationwide since he won't have to worry about running again if elected in 2024.

Norman Ornstein, an emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said that what Trump wants is the trappings of a democracy but in reality a Potemkin village. We don't know all his real plans, but we wouldn't be surprised if he found some racist colonel in the army, promoted him to brigadier general, and told him to set up an operation to go to heavily Latino areas and ask everyone "Papers please?" Anyone who could not prove that he was in the U.S. legally would be put on a bus. When the bus was full, it would be driven into Mexico and the passengers dropped in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. Now multiply this by a few hundred buses. Could it be done? Hell, it was done during the Eisenhower administration and called Operation Wetback. The only things that might hold Trump back are the Army (which would be neutered by putting an actual general in charge), the civil service (which would be neutered by Schedule F), and the courts (which are already neutered by Trump's three Supreme Court appointments). If you are planning to vote in a Republican primary, think carefully about your choice. (V)

Tim Scott Is In

It is now official: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is running for president. We have no idea why. We doubt that he does. Certainly nobody else does. Is the goal to show that Black politicians can be as egotistical and dumb as white politicians? That would be equality of sorts, we guess.

Paddy Power has his odds at 66/1, which is better than the odds on Kari Lake (200/1), Ivanka Trump (250/1) or Stormy Daniels (500/1). But it is worse than Robert Kennedy Jr (14/1), Michelle Obama (25/1), and Joe Manchin (50/1). It also ties Tucker Carlson (66/1). We think Paddy Power is being much too optimistic. To even get the Republican nomination, all the top candidates would have to collapse, followed by all the second-tier candidates (Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, etc.). Then all the plausible candidates who are not running (e.g., Sens. Josh Hawley, R-MO, and Ted Cruz, R-TX) would have to stay out, even with a clear shot at the nomination. It ain't gonna happen.

Maybe Scott is dreaming of living at One Naval Observatory. He's certainly not going to be Donald Trump's running mate or Ron DeSantis'. Or anyone else's. His problem is that he brings nothing to the ticket. Black voters aren't going to vote for him just because he is Black, especially when the other side also will have a Black veep candidate. Conservatives might like him, but they will vote for any Republican ticket. South Carolina is already in the bag for the GOP. What does Scott add? Nothing.

The only thing we can think of that makes even an itsy bitsy bit of sense is that Scott is thinking about running for governor of South Carolina in 2026, when Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC) will be term limited. Maybe Scott thinks that running for president will give him more publicity than he can get as a senator, but even that seems improbable. Maybe he is just bored with being a senator and thinks even a losing run for president would add some excitement to his life. (V)

North Carolina Is Probably in Play Now

The extremely gerrymandered Republican-dominated North Carolina state legislature has voted to ban most abortions after 12 weeks. Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) vetoed the bill but then the legislature overrode his veto. The thing that comes to mind here is: "Be careful what you wish for. You might get something much worse." Specifically, Cooper is term limited and there will be a big battle for the governor's mansion next year in North Carolina. The Democratic nominee is likely to be state AG Josh Stein, who has the backing of the entire Democratic establishment and, most importantly, the popular Cooper.

The Republican nomination will be determined by a primary, but the leading candidate is Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R-NC), even though former congressman Mark Walker threw his hat in the ring Saturday. The views Stein and Robinson have of abortion, which is probably going to be the top issue, couldn't be more different. Stein is pro-choice. Period. Robinson is on record with a few comments about abortion that, shall we say, don't align well with Stein's. For example, he once said: "These people that think that abortion, for expedience's sake, is the right answer, have just as much reprobate minds as the slave owners on the plantations." Robinson is Black and he thinks getting an abortion is like owning slaves. He once wrote on Facebook that then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo "pushes the satanic agenda of child sacrifice through abortion by claiming it advances women's 'rights.'" So abortion is on the satanic agenda of child sacrifice? What church does Robinson attend? Then again, he said that Margaret Sanger, who was a pioneer in birth control (not abortion) was a satanist involved in witchcraft. Clearly he is confusing her with former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. There's lots more where that came from. In addition, Robinson is far-right on everything and seems the most likely candidate to get Donald Trump's endorsement. So the gubernatorial race could be all about abortion, which would absolutely help Stein.

But there is more. North Carolina is a reddish-purple state that is on the cusp of becoming the next Georgia. Barack Obama won it in 2008. Since then, Republicans have won the presidential electors, but by small margins. Here are the results since 2008:

Year Democrat Dem pct Republican GOP pct GOP − Dem
2020 Joe Biden 48.59% Donald Trump 49.93% 1.34%
2016 Hillary Clinton 46.17% Donald Trump 49.83% 3.66%
2012 Barack Obama 48.35% Mitt Romney 50.39% 2.04%
2008 Barack Obama 49.70% John McCain 49.38% -0.32%

North Carolina was the closest state in the country in 2020 and will be a huge battleground in 2024. Abortion will play a massive role and that could help not only Stein, but Joe Biden as well. All Biden has to do is increase his net score by 1.35%. That could well be possible if abortion is the main issue, and is getting people to the polls who otherwise don't vote very often. In addition, people are streaming into the Research Triangle area due to the many tech and finance companies there, and those people tend to skew Democratic. The (red) western part of the state isn't growing as fast as the Triangle. So the combination of abortion and demographic change is going to put North Carolina right up there with Georgia as a enormous battleground. In case you are wondering, if Joe Biden (or other Democratic nominee) can hold the states that were decidedly blue last time, and can win North Carolina, then it will only take one among Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia to win the White House. (V)

Republican Senators Are Worried About DeSantis' Attacks on Disney

Some Republican senators are worried that Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R-FL) fight with the Walt Disney Corporation is going to hurt the Party's traditional pro-business image. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who was governor of Florida before DeSantis, said it's time "for cooler heads to prevail." He stressed the importance of Disney, the state's largest private employer, to Florida's economy, noting that half the tourists to the state come to visit a Disney park. Scott isn't alone. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that it is problematic for state actions toward a business to be driven by politics. When Republican senators from Florida are telling DeSantis to cut it out, he clearly has a problem, but DeSantis shows no sign of letting up or letting go.

Just last week, Disney announced that a planned billion-dollar office complex in Orlando, which would have created 2,000 good-paying jobs, has been canceled. Scott and Rubio are worried that if DeSantis keeps it up, Disney will cancel more plans for investment in Florida. Specifically, Disney has plans for $17-billion worth of new construction at Disney World but that could change if DeSantis keeps going after the company. If Disney were to cancel those plans altogether and announce that future expansion will be in some other state, DeSantis' primary opponents will hammer him on how anti-business he is and how pro-business and pro-job-creation they are. That could hurt DeSantis badly.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), whose state could benefit if Disney decides to expand in some other state with warm weather, said: "I just don't think the public battle is useful."

Clearly DeSantis is playing with fire here. He is desperate to bring Disney to heel, but that probably won't work because the company has much better lawyers than he has and also has no need to "win" this on a tight timeline (i.e., by Nov. 8, 2024). The perception that he is killing job growth for the sake of trying to humiliate a much-beloved company he happens to hate is just not a winner. When the primaries heat up later, it will not be helpful to DeSantis to have a bunch of Republican senators opposing him because he is "anti-business." And if DeSantis does get the GOP nomination, we will be treated to the unusual sight of the Democrats yelling that they are the pro-business and pro-job-creation party and the Republicans are the anti-business and anti-job-creation party. (V)

Five Questions about DeSantis' Campaign

Ron DeSantis is expected to file the paperwork to run for president this week. A formal announcement will then follow within a couple of weeks at most. A bid by DeSantis raises at least five questions, as follows:

  • Trump: The biggest question of all is how hard DeSantis will attack Donald Trump. Pretending that the obvious frontrunner doesn't even exist is a strange strategy. It is a given that Trump will savagely attack him once he is in. In fact, Trump is already savagely attacking DeSantis (more on this later this week). Will the Governor fight back? If so, how hard? So far, all he has said is that Trump is a loser, but that hasn't worked at all. Trump's base would clearly prefer voting for a guy they love even if he is going to lose rather than voting for a guy they dislike even if he might win. For much of Trump's base, it is about loving the candidate, not about winning. DeSantis doesn't understand this. For him, it is all about winning. He'll say whatever he has to say to win. Nothing he says means anything to him. He'll change on a dime if he has to, since he has no core beliefs. There is a great danger for him that the voters pick up on this.

  • Campaigning: DeSantis hates retail campaigning. He doesn't like schmoozing with voters or donors. He doesn't like eating ethnic foods, even with his fingers. He doesn't like kissing babies. He doesn't even like addressing rallies. He would prefer that his campaign staff make up ads and run them on TV and the Internet without bothering him. That's how he won in Florida. That DOES. NOT. WORK. in Iowa or New Hampshire. There the voters want to meet and talk to each candidate personally two or three times before making a decision. His staff can tell him this until the pigs come home (in Iowa) but will he be able to fake it successfully? Every time he makes a mistake (e.g., refusing to eat a pork chop on a stick at the Iowa State Fair) it will be front page news all over the state. Reporters will be looking to trip him up. How well will he do outside his comfort zone?

  • Donors: How will the big donors react to his candidacy? So far, DeSantis is all about the culture wars. But the big donors don't give a hoot about where the woke goes to die. Most of them don't give a rat's a** about who uses which bathroom or which pronouns. They don't even care about abortions. But they care a lot about a candidate's attitude toward business. Some of them also care about the war in Ukraine and are not big fans of Russia or communism. DeSantis' pro-Russia views could be a problem with the donors. Also, they care a lot about return on investment. Throwing money away on a candidate who can't win the presidency is not high on their to-do lists. At least one of his big donors, Ken Griffin, is having second thoughts about DeSantis on account of his remarks about Ukraine. What does DeSantis do when he discovers the big donors are pro-Ukraine and the base is pro-Russia? He's not used to this kind of problem. He'd better get used to it fast.

  • The Culture Wars: DeSantis' whole persona is about the culture wars. The problem is that such a position doesn't really distinguish him from Trump and the other Republican primary candidates. All of them oppose abortion. All of them oppose critical race theory. All of them oppose trans women using the ladies' room. What makes him special? By making the culture wars the beginning and end of his platform, what will he do when the debate moderator says: "Raise your hand if you oppose abortions" and all of them do? Also, by making his candidacy all about the culture wars and nothing else, how will this play with independents in the general election? If general-election horse race polls show Biden beating him solidly in November, how will this affect Republican primary voters? In short, will DeSantis turn out to be a one-trick pony? And a not-that-special trick, at that?

  • What if he wins the primary?: Suppose DeSantis narrowly wins the GOP primary and Trump says he was cheated. Will Trump go gentle into that good night? We have our doubts. Suppose Trump tells his supporters to stay home on Election Day. How will DeSantis handle that? Worse yet, how will DeSantis handle it if Trump decides to run as an independent, or on the Constitution Party ticket? (The Libertarian Party is unlikely to accept Trump because it has principles and he opposes all of them.)

Interesting questions, all of these. The answers will determine how well DeSantis does. Being high-profile isn't enough. In 2008, Rudy Giuliani thought it was. He learned quickly otherwise. That could easily be DeSantis' fate if he blows it on any of the above. (V)

Is Casey DeSantis Lady Macbeth?

Some political wives are de facto politicians in their own right. Some are not. Think Hillary Clinton as compared to Laura Bush during their respective husbands' presidencies, for example. Casey DeSantis, the first lady of Florida, is Hillary Clinton's equal—or more. None other than Trump loyalist Roger Stone put a post on Telegram last fall asking "how much Ron DeSantis' wife Casey is like Lady Macbeth?" In case you don't remember much from high school English, in short, Lady Macbeth was not much like Laura Bush. In fact, she (Lady M., not Laura) prodded hubby to go kill the king so she could become queen.

One former staffer of the Florida governor said of him: "He's a leader who makes political decisions with the assistance of his wife, who was elected by nobody, who's blindly ambitious. And she sees ghosts in every corner." Another former staffer said: "She's more paranoid that he is." Yet another said: "He's a vindictive motherf**ker. She's twice that." Dan Eberhart, a DeSantis donor, said: "I worry that winning the gubernatorial race, winning the reelection, has made her overconfident in her ability to de facto run a presidential campaign." She is also one of a very small inner circle that has influence on her husband, so what she wants matters a lot.

Like her husband, Casey DeSantis has not been under the biggest microscope in the world yet. That will change instantly when Ron announces his presidential run. Casey went to the College of Charleston in South Carolina where she majored in economics and minored in French. She is an able horsewoman and competed on the equestrian team. She then became a reporter and later anchor for WJXT in Jacksonville. She and Ron were married in Disneyworld in 2009, where it rained on their reception. An ominous sign. Maybe that's why the governor is mad at Disney.

When Ron ran for Congress in 2012, he latched onto the tea party wave. But he wasn't good at all at retail politics. He needed her help dealing with people, and she was good at filling in the gaps. He will probably need her again this year and next. In 2012, she campaigned for him on an electric scooter, going house to house. His mailers had a photo of both of them. Former Jacksonville mayor John Delaney said that she was the one who impressed the voters, not the candidate. She has been his main adviser his whole political life. There is no reason to think that will change. She even got him to change the way he pronounced his name. Until she changed it, it was "dee-Santis." She wanted it "Deh-Santis."

After DeSantis was elected governor, she moved into the state Capitol, taking the office reserved for the chief of staff. She made jokes about baby-proofing the offices ("We are working on moving all of the breakables up about four feet") but she did a lot more than make jokes. She was involved in every major decision, from hiring staff to fundraising. And that includes the axing of Susie Wiles, one of the most respected political operatives in Florida politics. Wiles retaliated by joining Donald Trump's team.

In Oct. 2021, Casey was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was treated, recovered, and came back to work in the homestretch of her husband's reelection campaign. She was more active than ever, including making ads for him, including one that suggested his political ascent was inspired by God. She is involved in every aspect of his political life. Hillary was nothing compared to Casey. That's not going to change. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
May21 Sunday Mailbag
May20 Saturday Q&A
May19 DeSantis To Make It Official Next Week
May19 The Perils of a 51-Vote Majority
May19 Democrats Wrestle with Their (Self-Created) New Hampshire Problem
May19 Talking about Abortion, Part V: Physicians Weigh In
May19 This Week in Schadenfreude: Mortarboarded
May19 This Week in Freudenfreude: Now That's a Civics Lesson
May18 A Court Hearing Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing
May18 Talking about Abortion, Part IV: More Questions and Answers
May18 Abortion Appears to Be Wrecking Republicans at the Polls
May18 Trump Legal Blotter, Part I: His Documents Problem Just Keeps Getting Worse
May18 Trump Legal Blotter, Part II: What About the Stolen Voting Machine?
May18 House Punts on "Santos"
May17 The Results Are In
May17 North Carolina Legislature Overrides Governor's Abortion Veto
May17 EMILY's List... Kingmaker?
May17 Progress in Debt Ceiling Talks?
May17 Feinstein Appears to Have Gone from Bad to Worse
May17 Rep. Robert Garcia Introduces Legislation to Expel Rep. "George Santos"
May17 The Greatest Political Movies Ever Made, Part II
May16 Today in Republican Sham Investigations, Part I: The Durham Probe
May16 Today in Republican Sham Investigations, Part II: The Case of the Vanishing Informant
May16 Whaddya Know? Giuliani Is a Sleazeball (Allegedly)
May16 Why Would Anyone Want to Be in Politics?, Part I: Gas Prices
May16 Why Would Anyone Want to Be in Politics?, Part II: Congressman's Staff Attacked
May16 Governance, DeSantis Style
May16 The Greatest Political Movies Ever Made, Part I
May15 DeSantis Receives, Gives Punch in the Mouth
May15 The Trump Problem Returns, Part I: Pollsters
May15 The Trump Problem Returns, Part II: Republican Politics
May15 Today's Longshot Presidential Candidate News
May15 U.S. Senator Denounced as "Profoundly Ignorant Man" over Remarks on Mexico
May15 There Are Some Elections in the U.S. This Week...
May15 ...And There Was One This Weekend in Turkey
May14 Sunday Mailbag
May13 Saturday Q&A
May12 Title 42 Gets Deep-Sixed... Or Not
May12 FBI to Comer: F*** Off
May12 CNN Town Hall: The Day After
May12 Trump and E. Jean Carroll Are Not Finished with Each Other
May12 Another Day, Another Poll (or Two)
May12 Tuberville Doubles Down
May12 This Week in Schadenfreude: Good Riddance
May12 This Week in Freudenfreude: Whitecloud Dispels Storm Clouds
May11 Lucky Number 13 for "George Santos"
May11 Trump Goes to Town on CNN
May11 Interesting Information about "Juror No. 77"
May11 GOP Launches Latest Smear Campaign against Biden
May11 Tuberville's Staff Clarifies His Comments on White Nationalists