Our Best Stuff on Ron DeSantis, the Hunter Biden Investigations, and Turkey’s Election

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a press conference in Lake Buena Vista. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Hello and happy Mother’s Day. First off, I want to apologize for not sending the newsletter last weekend. Food poisoning got the best of me. It’s been a busy time in the Ohio bureau: Our oldest is home after enjoying a successful freshman year of college, and high school baseball just wrapped up this week for our middle son. 

So we’ve had some semblance of a normal weekend, which is especially nice given the holiday. As it happens, I’ve been thinking a lot about one of the more humbling aspects of motherhood. Now, parenting is humbling in more than one sense of the word and in a variety of ways over the years. When kids are a challenge, either from demands on your attention or behaviorally, they can expose your flaws: impatience, a short temper, stubbornness. But they can also inspire awe and admiration. Happily, my humbling has been the latter kind.

I’ve reached the point where my kids are doing things that I could never imagine myself doing. Our oldest leaves for Pittsburgh in a few weeks, where he’ll spend the summer in a Russian language immersion program. He’s in ROTC, and he’s interested in military intelligence for his career path, and, for better or worse, knowing Russian is a valuable skill. (I might have preferred he study French or Japanese or Tagalog, but …) Leaving aside that I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to sign up for military duty, I can’t imagine mastering a difficult language in a summer—or being committed enough to spend six hours a day in a classroom while the sun is shining. I admire his drive. And then there’s our middle son, a baseball pitcher. In this case, leaving aside the fact that I lack the coordination and athletic ability to succeed in any sport with a ball (I ran and swam), I simply don’t have the guts to stand on a mound and know that the fate of the game is in my hands on every pitch. That’s pressure. (As for our youngest, he knows way more Metallica lyrics than I ever did when Metallica and I were both in our primes, but I am confident that something grander will emerge.)

I say this not to brag, though I’m proud of them. These are traits they’ve developed on their own. Our oldest handled his college and scholarship applications entirely on his own, and he’s done all his own research for his career options and programs that will facilitate them. (Though he seems to have forgotten how to do his own laundry since arriving back home.) Our middle kid does have a pitching coach to help him with his form and mechanics, but he’s largely taught himself the different pitches in his repertoire, studying how different grips and releases make the ball move differently to fool batters. (I still have to ask whether he got that strikeout on his slider or his two-seam fastball, though I can usually ID the curveball.)

As challenging as the early parenting years can be, you can gain satisfaction from knowing you’re teaching them manners, imparting your wisdom, and showing them how the world works. The teen years are challenging in different ways, and all of a sudden you realize they don’t need you for everything, and they’re capable of doing their own things. And as humbling as that is in a good way, it’s also a little bittersweet. You might have facilitated their successes with care and support, but they are inching closer to being on their own. 

On that note, I hope you have a lovely weekend. Thanks for reading. Here’s some good stuff you might have missed.

How GOP Donors Really Feel About Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis hasn’t even declared his presidential candidacy yet, and there have already been stories claiming that his struggles in the polls have prompted donors to abandon him. David Drucker talked to some GOP donors and people close to them who acknowledge that they are waiting to see more but describe the donor issue as overblown. “I’ve not heard someone who’s a DeSantis guy saying: ‘I’m leaving.’ But I have seen some who are thinking about him having second thoughts,” Eric Levine, an attorney and Republican donor who has not picked a candidate to back, told Drucker. Drucker details the reasons that some donors are hesitating, which have to do both with DeSantis’ personality and his policies, but notes that “These kinds of reservations aren’t the same as going with, or attempting to recruit, a different candidate to take on Trump. This gives DeSantis another shot to establish himself as the Trump challenger.” 

The Biden Family’s Legal Woes, Explained

On Wednesday, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee released a 36-page memo laying out the evidence it has collected in its investigation of the Biden family’s business dealings. Price sorts through the details, noting that the memo mentions 21 “Biden-family-adjacent” companies formed from 1998-2017, some of which transferred money from foreign companies to members of the Biden family. One of the foreign companies was owned by a Romanian businessman who was convicted of corruption in 2016 and one by a Chinese tycoon. But can Republicans prove that any of the dealings were illegal? That’s a tricky question, and the Republicans have shown no evidence of misconduct by President Biden. He also discusses the overlap between the House Oversight Committee investigation and an investigation by the Justice Department into Hunter Biden, the president’s son.

Turkey’s Existential Election

How do you know Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a little nervous about this weekend’s election (polls have closed as I send this), which could see the end of his two decades in power? He’s airing grievances against his perceived enemies, including accusing the United States of meddling in the election. Meanwhile, as Charlotte reports, his main rival, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, is focusing more on Turkey’s woeful economic climate, corruption, and Erdoğan’s turn toward authoritarianism. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu led Erdoğan in a May poll, 49.1 percent to 46.9, but if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote there will be a runoff on May 28. Charlotte writes: “The last-minute dropout of splinter candidate Muharrem İnce on Thursday makes Kılıçdaroğlu’s odds of winning in the first round even greater, Metropoll chief Ozer Sencar told The Dispatch. But the election is likely to swing to Erdoğan if it goes to a second round, particularly if the two-week window sees political instability or national security concerns—real or government-orchestrated.”

Here’s the best of the rest:

  • Scott Lincicome has strained The Dispatch’s ink budget explaining all the ways our trade policies designed to rein in China have actually hurt American businesses, but this week in Capitolism (🔒) he argues that our immigration policy has the same effect.
  • Why is Nikki Haley going after Ron DeSantis rather than Donald Trump? The Dispatch Politics crew points out that she’s re-running the “Kill Marco” playbook from 2016. How did that work out again?
  • How are things at Fox News in the post-Tucker Carlson era? Not great, Nick points out in Boiling Frogs  (🔒). Ratings are down, and many viewers have seemingly turned toward Newsmax: “The shocking ratings decline at 8 p.m. suggests that, for the first time, a top-rated host who thought he was bigger than the network turned out to be correct.”
  • Chris Stirewalt warns Democrats that, however unelectable Donald Trump might appear to be, they shouldn’t bank on that come November 2024. Citing a poll that shows Trump leading Biden in a head-to-head matchup, he notes, “Nearly 1 in 5 of the Americans who believe Trump acted criminally to try to steal a second term would prefer him to Biden in 2024.”
  • The pods! On The Remnant, Jonah welcomes Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown to discuss her recent article on pro-natalist policies and why it’s so hard to reverse declining fertility rates. David French and Sarah discuss the verdict in E. Jean Carroll’s civil suit against Donald Trump on Advisory Opinions. On The Dispatch Podcast, David Drucker interviews Chris Christie about Bridgegate and, of course, Donald Trump. And just for members, there’s a new episode of High Steaks, where Steve and Sarah discuss the CNN town hall with Donald Trump. (If you’re unfamiliar with this podcast, here’s some background.
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