Don’t freak out…
For months after Gov. Ron DeSantis absolutely walloped his opponent Charlie Crist in the Florida gubernatorial race last November, it felt like maybe Democrats should finally just write off the Sunshine State once and for all. The governor’s war on Mickey and Minnie was bizarrely resonating and his argument that he wanted to turn America into Florida was appealing to many in the Republican base.
But don’t freak out quite yet about the future of Florida Democratic politics.
Fast-forward six months and it turns out DeSantis’ culture war obsession may not be as popular as he thought. In April, he signed his new six-week abortion ban late at night and with much less fanfare than he’s given previous anti-abortion legislation. And this week, the shocking win by Democrat Donna Deegan in Jacksonville flipped a mayoral seat against a DeSantis-endorsed candidate in a county DeSantis won by 12 points in 2022. Florida isn’t exactly sailing into blue territory anytime soon, but Deegan showed that it isn’t a state entirely controlled by Republicans either.
A story you should be following: Abortion as a GOP talking point
Abortion rights have now become a divisive flashpoint within the Republican Party.
When asked about Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new six-week abortion ban, Trump called it “too harsh.” DeSantis fired back, “Protecting an unborn child when there’s a detectable heartbeat is something that almost 99% of pro-lifers support.”
Last week, Trump was asked repeatedly if he would sign a federal abortion ban into law and he refused to answer. When I asked potential presidential GOP candidate Gov. Chris Sununu last week whether he would sign an abortion ban, he responded, “Not only would I not sign the national abortion ban, but nobody should be talking about signing a national abortion ban.”
It’s clear that the GOP is no longer the party of anti-abortion policies across the board. This makes sense: 58% of adults in the country say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to the latest NBC News poll. Abortion is going to be a point of division among Republican presidential candidates, and one I’m going to be watching very closely.
Someone you should know: Jacob Ward
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman testified on Capitol Hill this week, calling on lawmakers to regulate the increasingly powerful technology of artificial intelligence. Someone who can help make sense of this rapidly changing landscape is NBC News’ Jacob Ward, an expert on all things tech and AI.
Ward has reported extensively on the development of AI and the debate over TikTok, both issues currently drawing the attention of lawmakers.
You can follow him on Twitter @byjacobward — and read his book “Loop,” which reveals the dangers of AI.
Jennifer Palmieri's weekend routine:
What show are you bingeing right now?
I am not a big streamer. There’s so much coming at you these days it’s hard to process — let alone appreciate — it all. But I am a lifelong Springsteen and Stevie Nicks devotee, a massive Jason Isbell fan (great documentary about him on HBO Max now — that’s one thing I streamed!), and I’m currently very into Esther Rose’s and Ruston Kelly’s new albums “Safe to Run” and “Michael Keaton.”
What’s the last book you read?
I read so much, that I insist on sharing the last two books I read and loved. First is “Lost Boys of Montauk” by Amanda Fairbanks. Could not put it down. The second is “Daughters of Yalta” by Catherine Grace Katz. It’s a great story about the conference but also the lives of these three compelling (and under-appreciated) women.
What time do you wake up on the weekends?
I am such a bad sleeper. And while I love being part of the little sub-culture on “Morning Joe,” doing that show a couple of times a week definitely messes with your sleep. Even on weekends, I wake up at 4 a.m. and then hope to fall back asleep for a couple of hours. It’s skill I need to work on.
How do you take your coffee?
Black, venti. But I splurge with half-and-half.