With midterms fast approaching and a presidential race on the horizon, D.C. expert Tara Palmeri and donor-whisperer Teddy Schleifer attempt to pinpoint exactly where the money is flowing, unpack Ron DeSantis’s ambivalent fundraising game, consider whether the Tim Scotts and Tom Cottons of the world could make a serious run at the Oval, and reveal why Dems and Republicans alike have fallen out of love with No Labels.
Tara Palmeri: Teddy, I was fascinated by your report on Ron DeSantis’s donor network out in the Bay Area. He’s already received support from guys like Elon Musk and Joe Lonsdale. But at the end of your piece, you write that while donors are clearly excited about a potential DeSantis presidential run, some donors seem to be growing tired of him, too. What’s the dynamic there?
Teddy Schleifer: I don’t want to say this is quite a Shakeperean tale of unrequited love, but it does feel, at least for the moment, that the G.O.P. donor establishment loves DeSantis more than DeSantis loves them. But hey, every romance has imbalances from time to time, and the governor could do a better job of glad-handing and back-slapping. It came up in nearly every conversation for my piece. It’s not that there is some fundamental fissure between DeSantis and big donors per se—it’s just that DeSantis is universally described as a somewhat awkward guy, without the Bill Clinton charm or social graces. The good news is that he can work on that, no? Obviously it matters not just for donors, but for, you know, voters too.