Steinberg: It Won’t Be Biden vs. Trump

This is a must read article.  Whether you support or oppose Trump or DeSantis, the analysis of the electorate, voting patterns and policy is important to understand.

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“I watch less Fox, not because My Friend Tucker is gone, but because the My Pillow Guy never leaves.

So perhaps I’ve lost touch.

But though Biden will take credit for the debt ceiling deal, he’s on his way out. As I’ve long predicted, neither Biden nor Trump will be the nominee of his party. Democrats assume Trump, and Republicans assume Biden. Each party needs its own Plan B. For example, Republicans need to preemptively bind any Biden successor to his failed policies.”

Disclosure: Arnold Steinberg and I attended Junior High School together in the late 50’s early 60’s—been great friends every since.

It Won’t Be Biden vs. Trump

The race remains Ron DeSantis’ to win.

by ARNOLD STEINBERG, american Spectator, 5/29/23

“We must limit federal spending to stop the inflation that Biden and the Democrats unleashed. This debt ceiling deal kicks the can down the road. But it’s the best we can do until Republicans elect a greater House majority, regain the Senate, and elect a President. Donald Trump’s policies were mainly positive, but the 2020 election became a referendum on him personally. Therefore he lost to Biden and lost the Senate —  that year and again in 2022.  Next year we need to win the presidency solidly in order to assure a needed strong majority in the Senate and House. The stakes are too high. This is about America, not Trump.”

— What Ron DeSantis should have said yesterday!


I watch less Fox, not because My Friend Tucker is gone, but because the My Pillow Guy never leaves.

So perhaps I’ve lost touch.

But though Biden will take credit for the debt ceiling deal, he’s on his way out. As I’ve long predicted, neither Biden nor Trump will be the nominee of his party. Democrats assume Trump, and Republicans assume Biden. Each party needs its own Plan B. For example, Republicans need to preemptively bind any Biden successor to his failed policies.

You defeat Trump if Republicans believe he will lose — and you will win — in November 2024.

Leading Democrats and their media allies conspire to discredit Biden; delaying his withdrawal is more divisive for his party, the insane elite in control. Meanwhile, the list of Republican alternatives to Trump will grow but, unlike 2016, then narrow quickly as candidates “suspend” their campaign — sooner than later — to deny Trump a plurality.

Donald Trump eats junk food, is overweight, doesn’t exercise, and has not released a current medical report. He gets his facts mixed up, repeats himself. In 2020 he proved unable to defend his strong record and lost to a non-campaigner. In 2022, he endorsed marginal candidates in primaries who then kept his party from taking the Senate. Would you hire him to be a returning CEO?

Joe Biden won’t say if medication explains his rare burst of coherence. He remains in decline, inevitably precipitous. His obsession with race and embrace of woke preempt a consensus; thus, he’s not a leader. He is ridiculed as incompetent. Would you renew his employment contract as chief executive?

Trump, 78 in the general election, cannot make Biden’s age an issue. My polling over decades showed seniors — they know slowdown, and they vote — are the most skeptical of aging candidates. Voters across the board question Biden’s fitness. Predisposed, they will magnify any verbal gaffe.

Who knows the outcome for Hunter Biden or other potential Biden scandals amidst the mainstream media ready to take Biden down? Meanwhile, Trump’s appetite for self-destruction will resurrect memories of his excess. Mainly for Biden, and even for Trump: what happens with Russia, Ukraine, Israel and Iran, China and North Korea, and more? Biden, haunted by the Afghanistan debacle, remains clueless about the world. And Trump, with an otherwise strong record in foreign policy and national security, still inexplicably can’t bring himself to condemn Putin.

As the late Paul Harvey would say, there’s more to this story. Months ago DeSantis was hyped, his numbers thus higher. Republicans then focused on Biden, they yearned for the binary choice — Trump. Trump’s super PAC unleashed a misleading but effective ad campaign depicting DeSantis as favoring tax hikes and destroying Social Security, the latter feeding the false Democrat narrative. Trump’s 2 to 1 national lead over DeSantis is overstated. DeSantis (and other candidates) now will focus on early primary states, where polling will be closer, and numbers are elastic, momentum sudden, one primary affecting the next, media spin … national polling can pop. (Debates are a wild card. Remember 2016 — how Ben Carson, who later stumbled, took off after his first debate performance?)

DeSantis supporters boasted about their super PAC’s projected $200 million war chest and even provided the New York Times with a detailed battle plan. Presumably, they thought this would help DeSantis gain credibility. They are wise to invest in a ground game, dispositive only if DeSantis is within striking distance of Trump. But their advertising thus far is pedestrian, partly because as a super PAC, they can’t collude with the candidate, and voters need him in the flesh, not voiceover. DeSantis has a solid record as Governor, but he requires, without losing his authenticity, warmth. Big Money won’t compensate. Ask California Gov. Meg Whitman.

Besides front-runner Trump and second place DeSantis, declared candidates — Larry Elder, Nikki Haley, Asa Hutchinson, Vivek Ramaswamy, Tim Scott — will be joined by others. Trump’s strategy is to encourage many — to divide the anti-Trump vote, thus assuring Trump a plurality. That won’t happen. Some may suspend their campaign before the first or second primary and hope for the vice-presidential nomination.

In the next few months, Trump will continue to face legal challenges. The egregious abuse of prosecutorial discretion by New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg has compromised the credibility of future (even if reasonable) indictments of Trump. But Trump’s future reactions may be more telling than the prosecutions, thus compounding voter fatigue with him.

Many current Trump voters could defect to a candidate who offers his policies without Trump. Polling shows many Trump supporters open-minded about an alternative candidate. A recent polling question was disingenuous — asking Republican voters whether (to paraphrase) they would prefer a winning candidate or a principled candidate, as if principle and winning are mutually exclusive.

The best strategy for DeSantis (and other candidates) is to let Trump be Trump.

The former president imprudently attacks DeSantis for initially favoring COVID restrictions, when it was Trump who emboldened and honored the hack Fauci. DeSantis needs to conclusively pick the low hanging fruit to destroy Trump’s credibility among Trump supporters who might defect. An indiscriminate DeSantis attack mode risks an opening for another “positive” Republican. However, if DeSantis seems not petulant but  presidential, a volatile Trump becomes more strident. Importantly, DeSantis then will poll better in general election matchups and thus validate that Trump will lose and he, DeSantis, will win. DeSantis and other candidates can never get Trump diehards. And the Trump administration’s record was pretty good, so DeSantis should attack Trump’s current positions, e.g., Trump “taking the side of Disney, I’m taking the side of parents.”

Convince Republicans to believe that Trump will lose in the general election, and they will deny him the nomination.

On the Democratic side, besides declared candidates Robert Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson, major Democrats are salivating to replace Biden once he yields. Kamala Harris is expendable, especially if another black candidate is on the ticket as VP or even president, perhaps Michelle Obama?

In contrast to Kamala Harris or Michelle Obama, Republican candidates like Tim Scott or Larry Elder do not turn off Hispanic/Latino voters, who are rapidly moving away from Democrats, the party of racial quotas and reparations. Last week when the patronizing President Biden appointed Air Force General Charles Brown, obviously black, to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he obsessed about Brown being black (pun intended), further alienating Latinos.

In a close race, each side will use the “voter turnout of the base” cliché. Yet, the growing number of independent voters will determine the next president. Trump does poorly among them. Reaching them also reaches moderates in both major parties, especially those conflicted on abortion.

For a half-century, the argument was that Roe was an over-reach, and the matter was best left to the states. Sen. Lindsey Graham last year nationalized the issue, another reason Republicans did poorly in the midterms. For DeSantis to support a six-week ban and also criticize Trump for not supporting a federal ban may reach some pro-life core voters, but most will stay with Trump for other reasons. And DeSantis so quickly moving to prohibit sex education in higher grades beyond the primary grades was gratuitous. DeSantis has a proven and competent, dedicated and loyal, but insular team missing the straight line between two points. And DeSantis cannot simply press the UNDO button on each misstep. If DeSantis continues in the weeds, he could win a nomination not worth having.

Assume for now that DeSantis remains the strongest alternative to Trump. The path toward the nomination extends backward from the general election. For example, given the headwinds DeSantis faces for a general election, there are many ways for him (and other Republicans) to reach younger voters. And also to reach other constituencies: gaining in overall general election polls will demonstrate that DeSantis, not Trump, has the best chance to defeat the Democrat nominee.

Advice to the DeSantis team: tactical implementation does not redeem a flawed strategy. DeSantis defeats Trump not by silly attacks, e.g., Trump is weak on the border. Inescapably, DeSantis wins if Republicans believe Trump will lose in a general election, and DeSantis will win. It’s that simple.

Republican leaders do not understand inflation; otherwise in the midterms they would have made Biden and the Democrats own it. Inflation yields instability and insecurity. Even if the rate of inflation subsides, the increased cost of living —now permanently higher — can become a cultural issue. DeSantis errs in pursuing social issues not in a nuanced way, but with a sledgehammer. The woke crowd is overbearing. Our side needs to be contemplative. DeSantis and Republican candidates should merge the cultural or social issues with anxiety … over the economy, borders, family, education, values, drugs abuse, racial unrest, privacy, homelessness … and crime.

READ MORE from Arnold Steinberg:

Republicans Are Still the Stupid Party!

Biden Must Own Inflation and High Interest Rates,

There Is No Path for Donald Trump to Become the Republican Nominee

The most recent DeSantis blunder is criticizing Trump implausibly as “moving left” on crime. DeSantis, who is highly intelligent but poorly briefed, pledges to repeal the First Step Act, the criminal justice reform legislation signed by President Trump that likely reduced recidivism. Instead, DeSantis should be blaming the soft-on-crime prosecutors backed by Democrats for the breakdown of law and order, and for giving a bad name to real criminal justice reform (which Republicans champion). DeSantis probably relied on polling questions poorly worded for instant gratification, not on reliable data.

DeSantis should have announced for president, and only then a day later, the bold Twitter Q&A (after a trial run resolved glitches). Just as he should not have dismissed the Ukraine War as a “territorial dispute” and made Tucker Carlson the story, similarly, DeSantis is running for president, not Elon Musk.

Yet, the over-hyped DeSantis Twitter gambit is only a disaster retroactively — if DeSantis fails. Remember that Trump’s uninspired announcement earlier this year was an unimpressive nonevent.

DeSantis has not sufficiently answered the question that ended Ted Kennedy’s 1980 presidential campaign, “Why do you want to be president?” He needs an ethos, an affirmation, more than a critique. As the young guy in the race, DeSantis must project gravitas, not agitation. He must be deliberative and prudent — in contrast to Trump, nearly twice his age yet impulsive.

Trump has always obsessed about the stock market numbers and polls, the latter more predictable. Trump’s numbers are more likely to go down. DeSantis and other candidates will gain with exposure. Consequently, they will face scrutiny. Republican voters are open-minded about race and religion, and not as judgmental as thought about a candidate’s past mistakes, reconsidered policy positions, marital infidelity, sexual preference. But they don’t like surprises.


What happens to Kamala Harris? Perhaps when Sen. Dianne Feinstein resigns, Gov. Gavin Newsom, who insisted only a black woman can succeed Feinstein, will appoint Harris back to the Senate. on the way toward being the first black woman Senate Democratic leader. Stranger things can happen.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.


  1. Unfortunately as a discredit to Mr. Steinberg’s prognostications, he must have his fingers squarely on his own pulse and is engaging in wishful thinking. 1. DeSantis hasn’t proven himself as a conservative able to act on a national scale–Trump spent 4 years being attacked and maligned by leftist and right-wing RINOS and is experienced in fighting the left. If he can shut his mouth and become more aggressive in certain areas he will be even more successful than in his prior presidency. 2. In a Quinnipiac poll conducted May 18 to 22, Mr. DeSantis captured 25 percent of Republican voters compared with Mr. Trump’s 56 percent — doubling the former president’s lead over the Florida governor since late March and the numbers are increasing.

  2. There are still many of us Americans that believe Trump would have beaten Biden in the last election if the democrat changes to the voting rules were nullified and the Hunter Biden lap top information was verified.
    Trump still can fill a stadium when NOBODY else can. Trump can speak to the success of his policies where democrats can only lie about them. He is above all a Patriot.
    I believe Trump will wipe the floor with any politician who gets on stage with him, except one. Follow VIVEK on UTUBE, you will find a super intelligent individual who has an aggressive agenda that scares the crap out of the Swamp. I fear the average voter is not savvy enough to appreciate this newcomer but he will make an indelible impact on the election.

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