William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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AND SO IT BEGINS:  It seems to be all politics, all the time, in the United States.  Even before the 2022 ballots were counted, the 2024 presidential campaign began.  We get no relief, not even the traditional two-weeks-a-year vacation.

It isn't right.  There's more to life than politics, plenty more, but we're stuck in this obsession.  Whatever happened to musical comedy?  Indeed, whatever happened to comedy?  I used to work for Johnny Carson.  He put American to bed laughing every night, and the country survived.  Those were the days. 

At any rate, the polling for 2024 has begun.  And this is what it says, from the Jerusalem Post: 

Former US President Donald Trump is 5 percentage points behind upstart Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll released Thursday.

DeSantis, who was re-elected as Florida governor on November 8th by the largest margin of victory since 1982, has been floated as a potential challenger to the controversial Trump as a string of indictments and investigations shrouds his post-Presidential career.

A similar poll of Iowa Republicans released in late November also showed that Republican voters preferred DeSantis over Trump as their first-choice candidate by a margin of 32% to 30%, respectively.

DeSantis also seems to have more support than Trump in a potential general election against Democratic incumbent Joe Biden – registered voters across the political spectrum who participated in the poll were split between the Florida governor and Biden at a figure of 44% each, whereas 45% of voters polled preferred Biden over Trump, who garnered 42%.

No other Republican candidate reached more than 5% support for the candidacy, indicating the Republican primary will very much be a two-man race.

The 44-year-old Florida native has become a formidable figure in American politics since his narrow 30,000-vote victory over Democrat Andrew Gillum in 2018. DeSantis has largely staked his reputation on Florida’s pandemic response policies, which did not force businesses to close or enforce pandemic-related restrictions that became commonplace around the world, such as lockdowns and mask mandates.

“We chose facts over fear. We chose education over indoctrination. We chose law and order over rioting and disorder. Florida was a refuge of sanity when the world went mad. We stood as a citadel of freedom for people across this country and indeed across the world,” DeSantis declared in his re-election speech this November. 

DeSantis was even listed as a finalist for TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year award, as he was named alongside Xi Jinping and Volodymyr Zelensky – who was ultimately awarded with the honor – and other prominent names from around the globe.

COMMENT:  We shall go through the usual cautions.  It's only one poll.  It's early.  A poll is just a snapshot in time.  Polls depend on how the question is asked. 

Any other suggestions?

One thing is becoming increasingly clear – that former President Trump, recently thought to be a shoo-in for the 2024 presidential nomination, isn't a shoo-in for anything.  He has largely brought this on himself.  But, no matter what the cause, the Republican 2024 nomination is open for business.  It won't be dull.

December 8, 2022