I wanted to flag to your attention this piece in the Times about the end of Ron DeSantis’s campaign. It contains a lot of themes you’re certainly familiar with. But I found it striking. Because it cuts through a lot of the pablum of conventional news coverage about how Trump operates and what Trump is about. In short, it explains how Trump devoted a solid year to a ritual and often sexualized humiliation of DeSantis which reached its crescendo in demonstrating that DeSantis was — in the face of Trump’s assault — unwilling or unable to defend himself. That last point was key. To the extent Trump was making an “argument” in the form of a performative and cacophonous psycho-sexual assault, it was DeSantis who made the final case about himself.
By taking it. By not fighting back. By making a fool of himself. By being, in the Trump right’s vivid degenerate phantasmagoria, a total cuck.
I don’t want to make too much of this. The piece is under the rubric of a “Political Memo,” which is when the reporters step back from the pivot and thrust of the daily news to give a broader overview. But it suggested to me at least some shift in dropping the pretense of conventional news coverage for conventional politics and approaching the quite unconventional story of what is really on its own visceral and physical terms.