At times in recent months, I’ve felt like Puck’s resident political curmudgeon, crankily swatting down buzzy takes that are just completely detached from reality. The idea that Ron DeSantis is the new John McCain. The notion, peddled by some Republican donors, that Tim Scott is the man to beat Donald Trump. Or the hilarious idea that Joe Biden might dump Kamala Harris from the 2024 ticket to help his re-election chances.
A few of my pals in politics—Tim Miller and Jonathan Martin, I’m looking at you—take special pleasure in watching me get so riled up by bad political journalism, or whatever clickbait passes for journalism these days. Well, fellas, here I go again, because it’s time to put an end to another ridiculous piece of gossip that just won’t go away: The idea that Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin will mount a last-minute, white-knight bid for the Republican presidential nomination, sidelining Trump once and for all.
Like the Tim Scott crush over the summer, the Youngkin idea is mostly being peddled by rich country clubbers in the Republican donor set who are worried about the growing inevitability of Trump becoming the G.O.P. nominee next year. After all, this was supposed to be the year they finally reclaimed the Republican Party from the MAGA yokels and rightfully returned it to their golf buddies and stock brokers. Donor hopes were pinned on DeSantis, but his inability to catch fire in the primary has given major donors pause, as my colleagues Teddy Schleifer and Tara Palmeri have reported. Even with other establishment-friendly candidates already in the race and tilling the soil in Iowa—Scott, Nikki Haley, eyebrow influencer Doug Burgum—some Republican brahmins continue to turn their lonely eyes to Richmond.