Betting The Right Horse - Issue #24 of 2023

The subscriber-only Newsletter for the week of Saturday, June 3rd, 2023

Betting The Right Horse - Issue #24 of 2023
Good morning, friends. It's Saturday, June 3rd, and this week we're looking at the state of the GOP, a 3D-printed electronic warfare gun, the pistol brace ban, a case that's right for jury nullification, and an uncommon perspective on veteran suicide.

Some Thoughts on Hiring Smart

I'm going to use this tweet from Lee (the other Lee) as a jumping-off point for some thoughts on picking horses. The DeSantis vs Trump routine on Twitter has already gotten old and largely lost my (and a lot of other peoples') interest. Too much mudslinging going on between Trump people and DeSantis people; "War Room" accounts are deep-diving into how candidates and their staffers may have forgotten to cross a "T" one time in 2007, endless quote-tweet wars, etc. Most of it is inconsequential, not worth getting heated about. But I want to offer my thoughts on something involving the campaigns briefly.

Of all the Republicans on the field, DeSantis is the only one who has taken decisive action to prove he's serious about winning elections. DeSantis did this by re-districting Florida and stopping mail-in voting fraud and abuse. He went after felons who cast ballots. You cannot even possess multiple ballots in Florida unless you meet certain requirements. He risked losing in court. He fired people. He took hits in the media. But ultimately, the iron law of no guts, no glory held true, and DeSantis won 2022 by a historic margin.

And not only did DeSantis win, but Florida is overwhelmingly run by the GOP at almost all levels of state government. The elections in Florida cannot be "fortified" by activists, college students, NGOs, and legacy media like they can in places like Arizona.

The DeSantis rules on mail-in voting or the redistricting of the state are not culture war issues or a matter of pandering to voters. It was an example of doing the basics well. As big political plays go, these were carried out with little fanfare or self-promotion; DeSantis just quietly broke the Democrats' ability to subvert elections by decisively getting the policy signed into law. It demonstrates DeSantis can consolidate power to favor his constituents, get people on his team, take big risks, and carry his plans through, even while not making himself the center of attention.

He's not perfect – you can tell that he doesn't like schmoozing people or making big public appearances. He isn't funny like Trump is; he's not at home in the spotlight. But DeSantis has really done a lot. He has not had big ideas and then been bogged down by bureaucracy or embroiled in permanent lawsuits and controversies. DeSantis has been effective at securing elections, removing LGBT influence from public schools, easing gun laws, mitigating illegal immigration, undercutting the teacher's unions, stopping foreign purchases of land in Florida, and a bunch more.

I'm not saying that Trump did not have his own wins when he was in office. He did, and some were pretty big. The economy was good, and Americans were largely being put first. He's one of the best Twitter posters ever. And I'd vote for Trump again if he ends up being the candidate. I'm not a "never Trump" guy, and I don't think people are dumb for choosing him. But he also comes with a lot of baggage and does not reliably surround himself with good people.

The choice is between a 76-year-old guy who has already had the job and been questionable at it or a 44-year-old guy who hasn't had the job before but has the best record in the minors.

It's true that DeSantis is not the same caliber of speaker or media personality that The Don is. But DeSantis is unquestionably better at achieving outcomes – which is the definition of being an effective executive. DeSantis has won battle after battle. Trump has produced mixed results. If you are someone who votes, these are things worth considering.

But I digress. Here's the rest for this week: