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Biden Shutdown Politics & a DeSantis Disaster in New Hampshuh

The past weekend was a Politics 101 refresher for the Biden bundling network.
Democrats are looking to Biden and the White House to make sure that this shutdown is painful for Republicans. Photo: Brendan Smialowski via Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
September 21, 2023

Back in mid-May, when I followed him during his post-announcement New Hampshire debut, Ron DeSantis still evidenced some of the external signs of a candidate on the rise. The governor had already secured the backing of New Hampshire’s then-House majority leader Jason Osborne and about 60 other state lawmakers. He was still riding high from a poll, conducted some four months earlier, showing him with a 12 point lead over Donald Trump, despite the fact that voters knew little about the Florida governor besides his Harvard-Yale-Navy JAG, anti-woke, Covid-is-overblown MAGA street cred. 

But in front of those very state reps and the press, DeSantis exposed himself as an awkward robo-candidate with little feel for the realities of presidential politics: he offered encyclopedic treatises about Florida to people in New Hampshire, who didn’t really care. He couldn’t ably pull off the simplest gestures, like asking voters questions in a diner beyond what’s-your-name. Perhaps worst of all, DeSantis had stayed muted about his presidential aspirations in the intervening window between that January poll and his May swing, allowing a furious Trump to define him unfavorably to the electorate.