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What Will Fox Do About Trump vs. DeSantis (The Secret Podcast PREVIEW)

March 17, 2023
Notes
Transcript

Need an extra dose of JVL and Sarah in your week? Take a listen to this clip from today’s The Secret Podcast and subscribe to Bulwark+ to hear new episodes every Friday!

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This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:01

    Hey there, everybody. This is JBL. Every Friday, Sarah Longwell and I do a Secret Podcast, and we wanted to share with you a little clip of today’s show. And if you wanna get the full thing, go and join us and become members of Bulwark Plus. Here’s the shout.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:21

    And frame comments across Oyster among the chartering classes because not I think because it’s so unexpected, I guess, but I think because people have been looking for clues about what the scientists’ strategy is gonna be. And it looks like this is like a very strong indication. It’s gonna be run basically exactly like Trump policy wise. And do an entire base play and try to chip away at the Trump supporters. And one thing, you know, I don’t know if I said this We talked about this in the next level, so we can only belabor it so much.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:02

    Though I do have, like, increasing thoughts about it, but one of them is It’s been interesting to see how much criticism DeSantis has gotten. Because, you know, he has the same position as Donald Trump, and you don’t hear these guys coming out, pushing out to condemn Trump’s position very often. And I have a question for you, which is, do you think that is because? Because I have different theories. So it could be so simple as the fact that Well, Donald Trump was always like an outlier, and so people treated him like an outlier.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:34

    They didn’t wanna comment on every outlier thing that he did. And they basically part of their strategy with Trump was, well, this is why you gotta be in the administration to keep this stuff from happening and, like, you gotta be part of the Western world order and James Mattis made that calculation, and they were pulling things off Trump’s desk that would have threatened this. So so on one hand, there’s a Trump was always an outlier and we had to find different ways to different workarounds and criticizing him in the press was not one of them. The alternate theory, though, could be that Trump brought real menace. You know, it’s like an under discussed thing how afraid people were.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:10

    Not of him just politically because he controlled the base, but, like, like, for their bodily harm. Do you remember all
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:18

    those comments from, like, Pennsylvania state legislatures legislators who you know, during the like, hey, I have to vote for this stupid thing that the lunch because I don’t want them to fire bomb my house. That’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:28

    right. Like, I’ve got the number of people who are like, I’ve got little kids. Like, the one of the guys, the impeachers, who decided not to run again, was just like, I’ve got little kids. I can’t go through this. And I know PRIVIDELY THAT THERE WERE PEOPLE WHO WANTED TO IMPEACH DONALD TRUMP AND BECAUSE THEY HAD SMALL CHILDREN, ALSO EARLIER, THAT’S WHAT THEY SAID.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:47

    THEY SAID, I GOT A LITTLE KIDS. I CANNOT RIS this. And so so anyway, menis or like, is it that they were more scared to Trump and DeSantis just like doesn’t have juice to unleash a hoard of angry psychopaths on them the way that Trump does or would be unwilling to, and so they treat him like a normal politician. Or is it also maybe it’s just because DeSantis was never the president yet, and so they they can do more to, like, get him on side. You know?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:15

    There’s, like, cajouling him out front here. What do you think?
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:18

    I think you’re giving them too much credit for good faith. Oh, great. I I look at it as as two things. First of all, the the approach to Trump has always been to try to pray the gay away. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:31

    It’s it’s a The
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:32

    tweet, I didn’t see the tweet.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:34

    I didn’t see it. You know, if I just pretend that he’s I’m pretending that he’s not a declared president for these United States. And so if then I just don’t have to engage with it. Right? And the the somehow, this problem will take care of itself.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:49

    Right? It’s like the the the Ted c McGinley in office space. You know, a whole hold of phone there, you know. I don’t think we have to do anything. The problem just takes care of itself when they’re talking about Milton.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:59

    You you love office space. Don’t you?
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:01

    I I love. I like office space. I can certainly I can I can quote small space?
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:05

    Only like. Oh, that’s a subject for another show. So that’s half of it. But the second half is they are they are willing, I think, to try to nudge Ron DeSantis onside as you say now, but they also know they have to be careful. Because they’re gonna be with desantis at the end no matter what.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:30

    Right. And they know that. Right? I mean, deep down, these guys all know that no matter what, I Ron DeSantis could come out for for sacrificing goats you know, tomorrow as, like, you know, our foreign policy is we’re gonna do Santa Maria, and that’s how I’m gonna determine with it. And they’re all gonna be for him no matter what.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:49

    Because they’ve decided that he’s the only way to beat Trump and they can’t go through that again. Yeah. Right? The thing they want least in the world And this is why secretly many of them voted for Joe Biden. Something I I have been told by many of them, you know, off off the record.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:09

    They they were desperate not to go through another four years like they they did with Trump because they hated it. There’s nothing worse than waking up every morning seeing that this is the insane thing the president tweeted at one thirty AM that I have to now spend my day defending.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:23

    Mhmm.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:24

    And so they’re gonna just go they’re just gonna be and they they do not have any I don’t know if it’s a failure of imagination or just that they understand the base, but they do not see a world in which Brian Kemp or Mike Pence or Nikki Haley could actually become the nominee.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:44

    Yeah. And
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:44

    so maybe that’s failure of imagination or maybe they just understand where the base voters are very well. I think I probably agree with that analysis.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:52

    Yes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:52

    Myself. But so they’re gonna be with they’re gonna be Ron DeSantis. And so this is a demonstration a demonstration attack in his hands to show, like, hey, look, we’re kinda independent. We won’t just roll over for everything, so that when they roll over for everything, they can say. But remember that time, in in March of twenty twenty.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:16

    Stand on Ron DeSantis’ position on Ukraine, which is that I disagree with it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:20

    Yeah. And and I’m gonna vote for him anyway so he can pursue it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:24

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:24

    Ron DeSantis has taken the opposite Jeb of the Jeb boat. Remember Jeb Bush was willing to lose the primary in to win the general, Ron DeSantis is willing to lose the general in order to win the primary. Mhmm. On the assumption that once he’s the nominee, Joe Biden is a thousand years old — Yeah. — anything could happen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:43

    Right? I mean, voters are tension tension spans or so David David Frum had a really Interesting piece last week. I think it was, maybe it was this week. It’s been a long week. You know, Ron DeSantis is a one stage rocket.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:54

    And from thinks that DeSantis is in the process of irrevocably damaging himself for the general election.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:05

    And
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:05

    I don’t know that I agree with that. People people’s intentions are incredibly short. People voters vote irrationally as as I point out all the time. And don’t know. Like, a young forty two year old guy or have rolled the
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:23

    sand. Forty six.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:24

    Forty six, I think. Forty six. Wow. We’re, you know, running against an old guy. Maybe there’s a recession, even if there’s not a recession, right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:32

    They can always gin up some something terrible is happening. Right? There’s always something terrible that’s happening. And he’s got at least a fifty fifty shot. So why not go as hard to maga as he needs to in order to beat Trump.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:49

    Yeah. Right? I I think all of the Santa’s calculations here are rational from his perspective. Of?
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:57

    Yeah. I know. I think they’re rational. And and, you know, I actually, I wanna talk about you said there was something with you on the Secret Podcast sort of that that’s adjacent to this, which is your point about, right, these guys are gonna vote from any way because they can’t go through it again with Trump. That’s true of us too kind of.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:13

    Right? Like, it I I do feel so so, you know, I get very Part of watching these Republicans criticize Ron DeSantis. You know, I wanna be like, oh, wait a minute. Are we allowed to criticize DeSantis? I thought the rules were no one’s allowed to criticize to say it is because, you know, if you criticize him, then you are taking you know, you are it’s because you want Trump, you grifters, and I don’t want Trump as genuinely as I’ve ever not wanted anything.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:41

    And so and I do think DeSantis is ultimately less dangerous. And you can make I understand all the arguments, and I can tell you, I think DeSantis is a liberal and bad, and I would gonna do everything in Canada to feed him in the general election, but as a matter of rolling the dice on Trump as a general election candidate, the a guy who would completely lay waste to the Western world order, as well as every part of our system of laws, forget norms, just laws as a second term president. I just think the the that is a terrifying scenario that I want to avoid at all cost, including the cost. Of DeSantis, who is more likely, I think, to be Joe Biden in a general election than Trump is. And I understand that as, like, if you’re just if you’re just a partisan, you know, strategically that doesn’t you’re you’re like, well, but but I don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:36

    Joe Biden has a better shot beating Donald Trump. I agree with that. I also agree we shouldn’t roll the dice on it. Or I also I believe we shouldn’t roll the dice on. So here’s the deal.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:45

    What do we do about Rhonda Santos? You know, I think that these guys who were arguing we have to, we can never criticize, you know, I think they’re full of BS and it has been interesting to watch the way they kinda like tap out whenever Ron DeSantis does something. It’s like, exactly what Trump did and how they it’s so important to them to stay in the party to do it. But I I also feel like oh, like, I like, I’m watching DeSantis slip, and I’m not happy about it. Or, you know, I’m, like, nervous about it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:16

    I was I’m talking to these focus groups The Trump message about him being an establishment guy, like, it’s sort of starting to like, you can see it bumbling in. Let’s all live a little bit?
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:26

    Let’s talk about that. So you you sent me the day cone piece today where cone says, Trump has audibly opened up his audibly. Has has visibly opened up his his lead over to Santos over the last month, I think he said. And he said the the way to do this, the way to see this, the way it’s a reserve observable so many of the polls are so wildly different, is to not track the movement of the polls against each other, but only track them internally. And he said no matter what the deficit was between the two, within the same polls, Trump is up.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:07

    I think he said about four points and just just down about four points. Yeah. And that this is time frame. Outside of what you would expect for the post election bump. Like, those effects should have worn off.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:20

    And Kony has a bunch of theories as to why this is. But I wanted to ask you if you have seen that. If you’re hearing the same the same stuff in the focus groups.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:31

    Yeah. So I so I, you know, one of the things that I try not to do too much because it’s not qualitative research isn’t built for it is like, do the numbers. But I I for the Secret Podcast, I’ll say that we have done Actually, hold on. I’ve got it right here. Let me pull it up.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:51

    Because this was pretty interesting to me. We I had someone on my team go and, like, pull together how many people we’ve talked to over the last couple months. And it was of of all the two time Trump voters where we didn’t screen for anything. They’re just generic two time Trump voters. Twenty of them wanted to supported Ron DeSantis and fifteen of them Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:19

    Okay? So so Ron DeSantis and and so, like, one of the things I’ve been talking about a lot is how much people wanna move on. Like, this is just replete through the groups But and I that I and I that I would have to screen. So, like, a month or two ago, but when I wrote that piece for the Bulwark about the Whit Air’s poll, We had to go screen for people who basically had very high favorability of Trump in order to find people who were definitely gonna vote for him. Because in the groups, I was just seeing all like, I don’t think he can win.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:46

    I got to move on. I was like, man, this is like everybody. And so I was really trying to figure out how big the always trumpers were. Now this month, right, those groups that reflect more recently are much closer, where you have not half, less, the scientists still more of them. We got a fair number of people in the just generic groups who are saying Trump, number one.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:09

    Number two, I started to be like, okay. So you guys like Ron DeSantis. What happens if DeSantis blames out? Or doesn’t run? Like, what what do you do?
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:20

    Do you vote for Nikki Haley? Do you vote for my Pence, my Pompeo, or do you vote for Trump? Most of them say Trump. Yeah. Like, Trump’s their second choice, which means, like, the thing that happens is if the scientists who now is all expectation.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:33

    Now let’s really seen him. And this is why when people are like, who’s gonna be the nominee? How do you do this? I’m like, literally no one seen it. It is very difficult to game out.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:41

    We are running on the fumes of media interpretation of, like, what DeSantis is doing in Florida. And, like, what voters general impressions of him are? And this is one of the things I was saying on TV last night, to
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:54

    understand
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:54

    about voters. Voters’ relationship with Donald Trump good, bad, ugly, super deep. Nothing you could tell about Donald Trump that’s news to them. Right? Nothing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:04

    To scientists, the relationship is very shallow. They like Ron DeSantis. They think he’s great. They think he’s a younger, smoother version of Trump that is more electable, and that is based on Bunch of Fox News clips of him yelling at teenagers and masks and fighting with Disney and calling people rumors and, you know, how he handled COVID, which people really liked. And all his jokester
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:25

    stuff.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:26

    But, like, they haven’t been through the ringer with him. They gotta dab with him. For him. They’ve never voted for since
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:32

    they voted for Trump twice. That’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:33

    right. There’s a
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:34

    reason why if you’ve been in the senate for two terms and you run for a third term, you’re usually pretty safe because people have voted for you twice and that creates a bond. Right? Yeah. All the political science shows this. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:44

    Once you vote for a candidate, you become bonded to them because you feel like, well, I own this and I gotta defend and and then you’ve done it again. Right? You said the second time you voted for them. And
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:55

    so when I start to hear them and so and this is the other thing that I think is really important. Republican voters more and more increasingly exist an immediate ecosystem that nobody sees. That the mainstream journalists don’t see and that’s why a bunch of things, they miss a bunch of stuff because they’re like, well, I don’t know So it’s like it’s like how all of a sudden the polls are showing, half of Republicans support, like, getting out of Ukraine. Like, they don’t wanna help. And everyone’s like, well, what is what what’s happening?
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:29

    These numbers have just been steadily going up. Like, in the beginning, people are really supportive. If you spend any time listening to Steve Bannon’s war room or the daily wire, or any of the outfits that these people are, like, injecting into their veins, it is all our talker or it’s like, why? What are we doing over there when we have so many problems rooms here. We’ve got this open border that we’re not addressing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:51

    And over time, you know what? We can’t we can’t have a blank check and send all this money. And over time, that makes a real difference in how these people are thinking. And so, if Ron DeSantis comes out, doesn’t meet the hype, like, doesn’t, you know, he is kind of surly or not very charismatic or has positions people don’t like, or Trump’s able to paint him his establishment? Like, he could lose altitude so fast.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:20

    And I just I’m just I’m very nervous. This is how I feel right now. And and the thing is is it’s such a weird position to be in where I, like, really hate Ron DeSantis. And when he comes out and makes these comments by Ukraine, I wanna destroy around us, I wanna make sure everybody understands who this guy is. His never Chamberlain like BS and how how irresponsible of his because he knows better.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:42

    Like Trump actually is sort of like deep down in isolationists. That’s who he is because he’s an idiot. It doesn’t care about things like the western warlord. Yet, random scientists knows better, so I hate it more. But isn’t either one we have to go with?
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:56

    Just any way you talk now. Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:58

    the good news is it’s not up to us. Oh,
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:00

    yeah. That’s true. Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:01

    We’re so we we do not have the remote control with two buttons on it where we we have to push one of them. We will simply have to deal with the world as Republican primary voters make it. And, you know, like, look, if Joe Biden is running unopposed, in the Democratic primary, and there is a competitive Republican primary. And I when it comes to my state, I would I would reregister because in in New Jersey, you have to register as a party, and I am unregistered. So I would register as Republicans that I could vote against both Trump and DeSantis.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:36

    Who would I vote for? I don’t know. Pick whoever the most normal person is just to try to siphon some percentage away from the top two. That won’t be meaningful. It’ll just be sort of for my own, you know, for the self to to soothe my own my own sense of scalability.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:56

    But the rest of us, we we’re gonna live in the world these primary voters make. Here here’s my question for you. So you you, I think, rightly put a lot of emphasis on media diet and media ecosystem. So fox is all in for DeSantis — Yep. — at the as we know know from the depositions at at basically the instruction of Rupert Murdoch?
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:25

    Yes. Right. Wall
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:27

    Street Journal, New York Post
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:29

    Right. Wall Street Properties are full full Ron DeSantis. Now, on the one hand, I would assume that that would be a problem for
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:36

    Trump. He
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:37

    doesn’t have Twitter. He can’t go on Twitter because Musk is a descent to Stan as well. And if he is relying on Twitter, then Musk can do whatever he wants to him. Right? And Trump isn’t gonna make himself vulnerable for that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:51

    I
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:51

    understand that calculation.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:54

    On
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:54

    the other hand, if you believe the pulling we saw this week of Republicans and Fox Viewers twenty from one in five. Fox Viewers think that the network ought to be held to account for lying to them. Over the twenty twenty election. Is that gonna make them seeing Ron DeSantis being pushed relentlessly on Fox in a negative light. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:17

    Is that gonna feed the Trump narrative of, wait a minute. Wait a minute. This is the same Republican establishment that we saw in twenty fifteen was telling us how great Jeb Bush and George W Bush was. And now Jeb Bush has endorsed Rhonda Santos and all of these, you know, Brett Bear cut rhino, Brett Beres, pushing Ron DeSantis, and these people lied to us. No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:40

    This is we gotta tear down the establishment. And that’s why we have to vote for the former president United. Right? Do you see do you see what I’m trying to get at? Like, Trump is is attempting to be anti establishment again, which is hard when you’re the leader of the party and and the former president.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:55

    But on the other hand, it is true that the entire Democratic or the entire Republican conservative establishment is basically four to scientists. Yeah. And so Trump will be the insurgent anti establishment candidate in that way. Yes. So what do you what what is the fuck?
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:15

    How does the fuck stuff break out? So this is how does that wash out? Yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:18

    So I was just thinking that this is you were talking. And I think Don’t you think they’ll try to have it both ways?
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:23

    Hey, again. It’s J. V. L. The conversation goes on from there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:26

    If you wanna hear the rest of the show, head on over to Bulwark plus and subscribe. We’d love to have you.
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