Analysis & Comment

Your Thursday Briefing: DeSantis’s Presidential Run

DeSantis joins the presidential race

Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, entered the presidential race yesterday, filing paperwork to declare his candidacy. DeSantis will announce the start of his campaign on Twitter, in a conversation with Elon Musk, which is set to start at 6 p.m. Eastern (8 a.m. in Sydney; 6 a.m. in Hong Kong).

For some insights on the Republican primary race, we spoke with Trip Gabriel, who covers politics for The Times.

What is at stake in the Republican contest?

Trip: The Republican primary is essentially a referendum on Donald Trump. And DeSantis has long been seen as the candidate for Republicans who want Trumpism without the chaos.

But although DeSantis is Trump’s closest rival — really, the only serious one for now — he has fallen about 30 points behind Trump in polls of Republicans since the start of the year.

It’s not an exaggeration to say a second Trump term would stress American democracy more than at any point in modern history, including the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Trump now calls that riot, which sought to reverse the results of President Biden’s election, “a beautiful day.” His followers largely embrace his extremist and authoritarian tendencies.

What is DeSantis’s strategy?

Most fundamentally, DeSantis will make an electability argument: Trump risks another defeat, because suburban swing voters hate him.

DeSantis will run on his record as Florida governor, where he has enacted policies to the right of Trump on abortion and other culture-war issues. And at 44, DeSantis can be a generational contrast to Joe Biden, who is 80.

In China, the show doesn’t go on

Concerts, stand-up comedy shows and music performances across the country were abruptly canceled last week — some just minutes before showtime.

The crackdown on culture points to growing scrutiny in China’s already heavily censored creative landscape. China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, is demanding that artists align themselves with Communist Party goals to promote a nationalist vision of Chinese identity.

Details: The authorities in Beijing last week fined a comedy studio around $2 million after one of its stand-up performers was accused on social media of insulting the military in a joke. Hours after the penalty was announced, organizers in other major cities canceled their stand-up shows and music performances began disappearing too. Many of the canceled events were supposed to feature foreign performers or speakers.

Background: Stand-up has gained popularity in the country in recent years as a rare medium for limited barbs about life in contemporary China, and officials have noticed.

Related: U.S. intelligence agencies and Microsoft in February detected a computer code linked to a Chinese hacking group in telecommunications systems in Guam. The discovery raised alarms because Guam would be a significant part of any U.S. military response to an invasion or blockade of Taiwan.

Tina Turner dies at 83

The soul singer’s rasping vocals and explosive energy made her an unforgettable performer and one of the most successful recording artists of all time.

Her solo album “Private Dancer,” released in 1984, delivered three mammoth hits: the title song, “Better Be Good to Me” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” which won three awards at the 1985 Grammy Awards, including record of the year. The album sold five million copies and ignited a touring career that established her as a worldwide phenomenon.

Turner spent her later years in Switzerland, where she died. “I had a terrible life,” she told The Times in 2019, speaking from her chateau. “I just kept going.”


Asia Pacific

Typhoon Mawar is expected to head toward the Philippines over the next few days after pounding Guam with high winds and knocking out power.

A 95-year-old woman in Australia died after a police officer used a stun gun on her last week.

Shares in the Adani Group rose after a panel said an investigation in India into its finances had gone nowhere.

New Zealanders were outraged by a video of zoo visitors in Miami petting a kiwi, the national bird.

The War in Ukraine

U.S. officials said that a Ukrainian unit likely orchestrated the drone attack on the Kremlin earlier this month.

Attacks by Ukrainian-aligned insurgents in Russian territory stretched into a third day.

China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, vowed that Chinese-Russian cooperation would reach a “higher level” during talks with Russia’s prime minister in Beijing.

After capturing Bakhmut, Russian forces appear spent, military analysts say, and further advances seem out of reach, for now.

Around the World

A paralyzed man was able to walk again with the help of brain and spine implants, researchers in Switzerland reported.

A year after one of the deadliest school shootings in American history, the families of the victims in Uvalde, Texas, are grappling with a host of questions. The cemetery, where most of the victims are buried, has become an anchor for many of them.

Orcas have been ramming into sailboats off the Iberian Peninsula, sinking three since last summer. Researchers do not know what is behind the behavior.

A Morning Read

Chin-Kee, a character in the award-winning graphic novel “American Born Chinese,” confronts ugly racial stereotypes by exaggerating them. As a new series adapted from the book arrives on Disney+ this month, the feat will be translating the story to the screen without defanging it.


Happy Africa Day

Today is the 60th anniversary of Africa Day, an occasion to challenge the negative notions that still dog this rich continent. There is no single way to celebrate. In some countries, it’s a public holiday. In others, it’s a day of concerts, food fairs and fashion. Below are a few ideas:

Read from the past: Chinua Achebe changed African literature in 1958 with “Things Fall Apart,” a book that defines modern storytelling. Achebe challenged simplistic representations of Africa in books like Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.”

Dance in the present: Afrobeats artists have sold out in venues in the U.S., and thumping amapiano beats have infiltrated dance clubs in Europe. These genres, and the viral social media dances they’ve spawned, showcase a joyful, youthful side of the continent.

Watch the future: If superhero films are a vision of the future, Africa’s future appears to be female. And these heroines are kicking butts and taking names. “Supa Team 4,” the latest blockbuster African animation project, follows four crime-fighting teenage girls in a futuristic Lusaka, Zambia’s capital. Created by the Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema, designed by the Cameroonian artist Malcolm Wope and produced by Triggerfish, an animation studio in South Africa, the series premieres on Netflix this July. —Lynsey Chutel, a Briefings writer based in Johannesburg


What to Cook

This asparagus ricotta pasta with almonds delivers a comforting lightness.

What to Watch

In the French drama “The Night of the 12th,” a by-the-book investigator wrestles with a brutal murder.

What to Listen to

Revisit the Britpop band Blur, which has a new album coming out in late July.

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Mythological king who had the Labyrinth built (5 letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Justin and Amelia

P.S. The Times reached a deal for a new contract with the union that represents a majority of its newsroom employees.

“The Daily” is about Bakhmut.

You can reach our team at [email protected].

Justin Porter is an editor on the Briefings newsletter team at The Times.

Amelia Nierenberg writes the Asia Pacific Morning Briefing for The Times. @AJNierenberg

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