Dem 51
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GOP 49
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It's His Cult; We're Just Along for the Ride

The Republican National Convention starts next week. And even if you had spent the last decade living in a cave, it will be abundantly clear who runs the Republican Party, and who does not.

It's fair to say that Donald Trump's top two rivals for the GOP nomination this year—and, given how lopsided the primaries were, we use the term "rivals" loosely—were Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Nikki Haley. In essence, DeSantis was the great white hope until he showed himself to have the political skills of a great white pelican and was forced to depart the race. Then, Nikki Haley took over as the alternative-of-choice, after which point she barely made a dent in Trump's armor.

DeSantis remains pretty Trumpy. Well, to be accurate, the Governor doesn't really grasp what Trumpism is about, but he does a passable job of pretending, and an excellent job of kissing Trump's a**. So, he got an invite to the Convention. Note that he was not given a speaking slot—after all, there are a mere 50 or 60 of those, not enough to find room for the governor of the nation's third most populous state. DeSantis will just be in the crowd, though he will also participate in a handful of satellite events, like a Moms for Liberty town hall.

This is, of course, a huge insult to DeSantis. It simultaneously communicates two things: (1) The current leadership of the Republican Party does not feel they need even a tiny bit of help from the Governor when it comes to winning the votes of his supporters, and (2) the current leadership of the Republican Party does not think the Governor is an important part of the Party's future. If DeSantis had even a scintilla of self-respect, he would take a pass on the Convention, rather than allow himself to be treated like this. But he lacks that self-respect, while at the same time continuing to fool himself that he's going to be a viable presidential candidate in 2028.

Haley, for her part, has done a much less effective job of performing Trumpism. In fact, she has been bold/foolish enough to criticize the Dear Leader. So, she is not invited to the Convention at all. That's no participation in the main dog and pony show, and no participation in any of the dog and pony shows happening on the side, either.

Despite this obvious snub, Haley announced yesterday that she will generously release her 97 delegates to vote for Trump. They were probably going to vote for him anyhow and, in any case, he doesn't need their votes. So, it's a meaningless gesture of support for a man who won't appreciate it and won't reciprocate in any way.

Haley framed her decision as an important statement of Republican "unity." When reporters pointed out that the Republicans are so "unified" they could not even be bothered to invite Haley to the Convention, a Haley spokesperson said: "[She] was not invited, and she's fine with that. Trump deserves the convention he wants. She's made it clear she's voting for him and wishes him the best." Who knows why Haley still has spokespeople. In any case, like DeSantis, she flatters herself that she's still a viable presidential candidate in 2028. We don't agree. There may be a Trump v2.0 one day, but DeSantis is not it. And it's been made very clear that while it's the Trumpublican Party, this "sorta Trumpy, sorta not" lane just does not work. If Haley doubts this, she might want to examine the corpses of Mike Pence, Asa Hutchinson, etc. (Z)

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