In the NFL, when one player goes down with an injury, the stock response is "next man up!"
We're seeing something similar in the liberal media. Amidst signs that the GOP might be moving from Donald Trump to Ron DeSantis, the MSM's response seems to be: "next target up!"
We saw a good example of that today on CNN This Morning. Republican analyst Scott Jennings was on with far-left CNN contributor Abdul El-Sayed.
Jennings has tweeted a couple of things suggesting that DeSantis should be the future of the GOP. He said the governor could be the "next evolution" of the Republicans. El-Sayed responded by saying that DeSantis is an expert at "weaponizing the culture," and he "worries a lot about where our country goes under DeSantis," because he will be even more efficient than Trump in "tearing each other apart."
When Poppy Harlow asked Jennings why El-Sayed's comment made him laugh, Jennings responded:
"This is so expected. Like, here’s the Republican Party saying, well, maybe it’s time to move on from Trump, and my friend has come along to tell us, well, DeSantis is much worse than Trump!"
At that point, co-host Don Lemon piped up to say:
"Both can be true, Scott."
So Lemon was saying that, yes, though Trump is so bad that the GOP should move on from him, DeSantis could be much worse!
Paging Chris Licht, the new CNN CEO!
Lemon is the guy you put in charge of your new morning show with the goal of moving it toward the center? Both of these things can also be true, Chris: John Berman and Brianna Keilar, the former morning show hosts, were liberals who slanted the news that way. But Don Lemon is much worse!
On CNN This Morning, Don Lemon saying it could be true that Republicans need to move on from Donald Trump, but that Ron DeSantis would be much worse, was sponsored in part by Liberty Mutual, Etsy, and Lysol.
Here's the transcript.
CNN This Morning
6:34 am ET
KAITLIN COLLINS: Scott, though, you had a tweet that went viral, shall we say, where you were talking about —
DON LEMON: That tweet.
COLLINS: — what we've heard from so many Republicans, what I have heard from so many Republicans over the years, but now people are really saying publicly. Which is, this unusual blowback to Trump following Tuesday night and what happened there. The question, though, is whether this criticism is going to last?
SCOTT JENNINGS: Yeah, good question. I think it’s his weakest moment politically since January 6th. And on January 6th, there were some of us who thought at the time, if you were going to move on someone, now would be the time. There was all the reasons to do it, and the Republican party sort of hesitated, and he filled the void.
And I think the reason is because there was no obvious alternative. Like, who's actually going to lead the party? There was no pending election. Now, there is a pending election: the ’24 election is here.
But more importantly, there’s someone to fill the void. The only great thing that happened to the Republican Party Tuesday night was Florida! Ron DeSantis had a crushing victory, sent a huge message about what a governing coalition could look like. He turned a purple state red.
And so for the first time, I think Republicans are actually seeing the next lily pad on which to hop. And they’ve never been able to see that before. Time will tell. And we’ll see if DeSantis gets in and makes a go of it. But his instincts are really good. And he may be the next evolution of what Republicans are looking for, which is some of the fight you get with Trump, but also, none of the baggage and the drama.
COLLINS: Can I just ask you one more question? Because I know, obviously, you’re close to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell right now, he wanted to become Senate Majority Leader. Yesterday when he was asked what he thought about Tuesday’s results he said, I don’t deal in feelings.
JENNINGS: Yeah, that’s accurate. He does not. I mean, he deals in reality. And dealing — and just playing the hand he’s dealt. But I will tell you, if you look at all of the polling, and the CNN exit polling and the mood of the country, the way people feel about the economy. People don’t love Joe Biden either. If we don’t find a Senate majority here, it’s a travesty! It is an absolute travesty. All the indicators were there. The whole thing was there to be won, and we didn’t win it. And I know --
HARLOW: McConnell said candidate quality.
JENNINGS: Absolutely. Mitch tried to tell them. And if you look at some of the races, it was laying there to be won and it wasn’t. And so we’ll see if the party learns some lessons here, sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t.
DON LEMON: There’s also a doctor in the room.
ABDUL EL-SAYED: Well, they say admission is the first step toward recovery and this definitely was an addiction, so.
LEMON: Let me ask you. Out and about last night, and people are saying I’m so glad that Trump is over, and I’m like, I’m not so sure about that.
Look we’re here in what was a blue bubble in New York, I’m not so sure anymore considering what’s going on with the changing demographics here. What do you think? Is this the beginning? Is it a blow? What is it?
EL-SAYED: So, if admission is the first step, there are 11 more steps. And the worry I have is, I don’t see the choreography that ends up with Donald Trump not being the Republican nominee, as it has to go through an entire primary process.
I mean, this man has called into question an entire general election. What’s going to keep him from calling into question the outcomes of a primary that’s in a party that's in his thrall? And so, I don’t know that I see that.
I also think that, for the country, that Donald Trump will continue to be a hanging question over the head of the Republican Party, and therefore, our politics, until he is soundly, clearly, 100%-beaten by 10, 20 points. And I think if he does run, and he is the nominee, that's likely what's going to happen. He is not a popular politician.
You could see people running away from the stench of Trump in almost every single election that he put his finger in. But the thing is, the one person who cannot see that, and needs to see that, is Donald Trump himself.
What I think the DeSantis playbook looks like is, competent, local, technical leadership, which, can’t take that away from him. He has competently led in terms of the fundamental basics of governing.
And then a very good instinct for figuring out how to weaponize a culture war in a way that redeounds to particular communities that he’s trying to pick up. And so the way that he's played a sort of fear of change when it comes to schools, for example, I think has been important in his ability to make an argument to a latino community, for example, in Miami-Dade.
The bigger question I think that means for Democrats is, we've got to start asking big-picture questions about why are we losing communities like this, when we have been long advocates for the issues that should unite many different kinds of people around the bread-and-butter issues that we've always talked about.
And I think that’s as much a question for whether or not DeSantis can scale that brand of politics, and whether or not Democrats can address it.
The last thing I want to say about this is that I worry a lot about where our country goes under DeSantis.
I think a lot of people think that the exit of Donald Trump means that all of sudden the spell is broken.
I actually see Ron DeSantis as a far more efficient version of what Donald Trump has done. And I worry a lot about the ways that it tells us that we ought to be tearing each other apart, that we cannot accept one another for who we are.
POPPY HARLOW: Why does that make you laugh?
JENNINGS: This is so expected. Like, here’s the Republican party saying, well, maybe it’s time to move on from Trump, and my friend has come along to tell us, well, DeSantis is much worse than Trump.
LEMON: Both can be true, Scott.