All the Speculation That’s Fit to Print

Over the weekend, the New York Times published a story on Republicans who supposedly are angling for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination: “Republican Shadow Campaign for 2020 Takes Shape as Trump Doubts Grow.” The story was, of course, part of the paper’s daily war on President Trump. Its purpose was to cause “doubts” about President Trump’s being the GOP nominee in 2020 to “grow.”

The Times article contains no actual news. It quotes a handful of people speculating about the motives of Republicans like Mike Pence, John Kasich and Tom Cotton who are–can you believe it?–attending political events around the country:

Senators Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse have already been to Iowa this year, Gov. John Kasich is eyeing a return visit to New Hampshire, and Mike Pence’s schedule is so full of political events that Republicans joke that he is acting more like a second-term vice president hoping to clear the field than a No. 2 sworn in a little over six months ago.

Vice President Pence responded furiously to the Times’s claim that he wants to replace Trump on the ticket in three years:

“Today’s article in The New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team,” Pence’s statement read.

The statement went on to say the suggestion that Pence was not working solely for Trump’s agenda and re-election was “laughable and absurd.”

As for Senator Cotton, does the Times think he needs to boycott Iowa for four years? He was in Minnesota earlier this Summer, too, but of course that doesn’t count since Minnesota isn’t an early primary state. Then there is this:

Mr. Cotton, for example, is planning a two-day, $5,000-per-person fund-raiser in New York next month, ostensibly for Senate Republicans (and his own eventual re-election campaign).


When is speculation news? When it gives the Times an opportunity to promote its agenda. That is what turns anonymous leaks into news, too.

President Trump responded furiously to the Times’s implication that he is likely not to be on the ballot in 2020:

There was considerably more in the same vein. This led to a tag-team attack by the Washington Post: “Trump says base is ‘stronger than ever’ despite polling to the contrary.”

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday morning to declare that his political base is “bigger & stronger than ever before” despite recent polling — which he branded “fake” — that shows a drop-off in support.
A poll last week from Quinnipiac University found that just 33 percent of voters overall approve of Trump’s job performance, a new low. Notably, support among white voters without a college degree — a key Trump demographic — had fallen off as well.

This is what passes for a “news cycle” nowadays. Attacks on Trump that are often disconnected from any actual news, a response by the president, and attacks on the response. It is all part of the Democrats’ effort to drive Trump from office.

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