Does DeSantis’s decline offer any hope to Nikki Haley— David Newberger

This is like asking whether the decline of the Mets — one of baseball’s best teams last year — gives any hope to the Washington Nationals (currently the National League’s worst team, but now just 6.5 games behind the Mets!). I suppose it must be good news for the Nats at some level, but the Mets weren’t really their problem. At the moment, Ms. Haley is not plainly outpacing the likes of Tim Scott, Chris Christie or Mike Pence. Ron DeSantis isn’t really her problem.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the way Asa Hutchinson’s candidacy may play out. — Merideth Tomlinson

Who? I’m joking of course (he’s the former Arkansas governor), but he’ll need to find a way to break out of obscurity in a big field. I would guess he’ll need to dazzle in the debates to even earn a look from most voters. I’m not sure you should count on it, but you never know.

I previously mentioned that I don’t read books by aspiring presidential candidates. Is that always a good idea?

I was interested in your description of how you prepare yourself when evaluating candidates. What you do clearly makes sense, EXCEPT you immediately reminded me how I decided to support Barack Obama in 2008. I thought he was not a strong candidate, but he was an interesting person, so I read “Dreams From My Father” … and became a big Obama fan! I imagine I am not the only voter who had this experience. Of course, someone is unlikely to read a book by a candidate unless they are somewhat interested in that person. — Angie Boyter

When I wrote that I don’t read a presidential candidate’s book, I was mainly thinking about the genre of political books written by someone just about to run for president. These books often weave biographical detail, policy proposals and a political message into a preview of a coming campaign. They largely go unread, but they offer an excuse for TV producers to book a presidential hopeful on their shows. Mr. Obama’s 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope,” falls into this category.

Why don’t I want to read a book like this? I want to know the message a candidate emphasizes in speeches, advertisements and interviews, not the one that makes it into a 100,000-word book.

Your experience with “Dreams From My Father” — a literary autobiography — is quite different. The book was widely read, and the content was distinct from what Mr. Obama talked about on the campaign trail. This is pretty unusual; J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” is the only recent example that comes to mind of something like it. Perhaps that’s a case where there’s a better argument for reading the book.

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