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Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy toasts his rising poll numbers at the Iowa State Fair. (Brandon Bell via Getty Images)

TGIF: Rich Men, Poor Men

A farmer’s ballad goes viral. Rudy Giuliani goes broke. Vivek raps Eminem. Biden loses himself in Hawaii. Plus, Trump, Target, and Bradley Cooper’s very large fake nose.

Welcome back. Let’s stagger out of the week together. And as your weekly reminder, come find each other at our first IRL event, a debate in Los Angeles on September 13. 

Another week, a fourth indictment: You might think one, two, three Trump indictments are enough. But you’d be wrong, because now there are four indictments. Each one, we’re told, is the big one, but I can’t pretend to know which one is the big one. Anyway, Trump was indicted this week in connection with interfering with Georgia’s election results. There are 19 named defendants and as many as thirty unnamed co-conspirators. As usual, my only advice in a D.C. quagmire of these proportions is to turn to Politico, which has a very helpful chart of each indictment and the strengths and weaknesses of the cases. 

One question I have: if it’s illegal to say an election was stolen in Georgia and to try to convince people of this, then what are we going to do about Stacey Abrams? Am I willing to believe crimes were committed by Trump and allies in 2020? Of course. Do I feel a sinking in my stomach when I think of those classified documents stacked high in a Mar-a-Lago bathroom? Yes sir, I do. Do I think the entire justice system should sic elected officials when they leave office, crimes or not, and hound them for years until they’re jailed or broke? Again, that’s a yes.

→ Rudy Giuliani faces financial ruin: Under the weight of the legal bills from all these lawsuits and without the insulation of the donor dollars Trump has at his disposal, former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani is going broke. This is being written about by the mainstream media as righteous comeuppance, like how great that lawyers can ruin him without a conviction. Here’s Vanity Fair: “Rudy Giuliani Can’t Pay His Bills After Hitching His Wagon to Trump’s Failed Election Coup.” 

Giuliani’s facing $90,000 in sanctions from a defamation case brought by two Georgia election workers, plus a monthly $20,000 to host his electronic records and more than $70,000 in other judgments and legal bills. Giuliani’s lawyers wrote: “He is having financial difficulties. Giuliani needs more time to pay the attorneys’ fees and would like the opportunity to seek an extension from the Court.” He’s put a Manhattan apartment up for sale. 

Vanity Fair’s take: “On a practical level, it also turns out to be a really bad idea to try and overturn an election if you don’t have the deep pockets. . . ” Like, LOL, sorry you’re poor now Rudy! (Again, imagine that this is Stacey Abrams after trying to overturn her lost election; imagine if she faced financial ruin from it and how it would be covered.) Anyway, Rudy Giuliani will send you a personalized video message on the website Cameo if you pay him $20. As his life whittles down, reporters sniffing for any dollar that might let him buy dinner, prepare for articles about how Cameo shouldn’t platform such a fascist. 

→ Disney, let’s stop fighting. Love, Ron: Ron DeSantis is waving a white flag in his battle against Big Mouse. Here’s what he said this week on CNBC, a channel that Disney executives for sure watch: “[W]here we are today, you know, we’ve basically moved on. They’re suing the state of Florida. They’re going to lose that lawsuit. So what I would say is, drop the lawsuit.” He continued, reminding Disney that he’s their buddy: “No one has made Disney more money recently than me. Because during Covid, they were open in Florida.” As an obsessive of this particular political drama (and really, all of them) I want to believe this is a tactic. Reverse psychology. DeSantis is letting DeDisney think that they’re safe, so that they’ll start getting loose with the nonbinary cartoon characters, his political opponent of choice. 

But the other part of me knew that the Mouse Wars were all about making a name for himself on the battlefield. So until there’s a new they/them princess, DeSantis will pivot (according to leaked debate prep documents) and fight his real threat: Vivek Ramaswamy. 

→ Vivek continues to rap all over Iowa: As DeSantis falls in the Republican primary polls—from a high of 28 percent in February to 16 percent now—one man rises: Vivek Ramaswamy. He’s jumped to 11 percent. And no doubt feeling exuberant about it, he’s doing what he loves: rapping Eminem songs. Here he is doing “Lose Yourself” at the Iowa State Fair. While other politicians glad-hand over pork chops, our Ramaswamy is spitting, which is honestly inspiring. This is a Republican presidential contender. I remember when my usually free-range parent mom overheard Eminem blasting in my room and made me throw out the CD, but Ma, look at where I could have been! The only better teenage revenge will be when our first Zoomer presidential candidate holds a Twitch event, gaming while they talk tax policy. Vivek also had a very articulate—and viral—response to a reporter asking about his stances on LGBTQIA2S+ issues. (Watch Ben Kawaller of The Free Press at the Iowa State Fair for more.)

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