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In a recent Washington Post article, one finds the following sentence (the underlining is mine):

GOP candidates are stepping up attacks on their rivals over any d̲a̲y̲l̲i̲g̲h̲t̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲y̲’̲v̲e̲ ̲s̲h̲o̲w̲n̲ ̲w̲i̲t̲h̲ ̲T̲r̲u̲m̲p̲.

The OED does record a similar phrase, with the meaning 'a perceptible difference or distinction between one person or thing and another'. But all the examples there have daylight between [two things] rather than daylight with [one thing]:

This drawing the line between professional and amateur sports is getting to the point that it is pretty difficult to see d̲a̲y̲l̲i̲g̲h̲t̲ ̲b̲e̲t̲w̲e̲e̲n̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲m̲.

In a two-hour interview with the staff of the New York Times, he sought very skillfully to suggest that there was clear d̲a̲y̲l̲i̲g̲h̲t̲ ̲b̲e̲t̲w̲e̲e̲n̲ ̲h̲i̲s̲ ̲p̲o̲s̲i̲t̲i̲o̲n̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲P̲r̲e̲s̲i̲d̲e̲n̲t̲'̲s̲.

Shatner may have been his predecessor in Star Trek, but he likes to think there's a fair amount of d̲a̲y̲l̲i̲g̲h̲t̲ ̲b̲e̲t̲w̲e̲e̲n̲ ̲h̲i̲s̲ ̲t̲a̲l̲e̲n̲t̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲S̲h̲a̲t̲n̲e̲r̲'̲s̲.

On google books, it was easy to find other examples of usage like that recorded in the OED (e.g. here, here, here, here,... ). On the other hand, I have been unable to find any examples of usage like that in the Washington Post article. As best as I can tell, what the author should have written there is any daylight they've shown b̲e̲t̲w̲e̲e̲n̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲m̲s̲e̲l̲v̲e̲s̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲T̲r̲u̲m̲p̲.

Does anyone know if the usage in Washington Post is attested in other sources? Or is it an invention by the author of that article?

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  • With can have the sense of concerning or in the case of and your question is a good example for that. I would not say that this is idiomatic. It belongs to the normal use of 'with'. Check OALD
    – JoHKa
    Apr 30, 2018 at 16:18

2 Answers 2

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The context is key here

Fealty to Trump has become more of a litmus test than ever for Republicans. Emboldened by private polling and focus groups that show the president is incredibly popular with the base, GOP candidates are stepping up attacks on their rivals over any daylight they’ve shown with Trump, even if it stemmed from his personal conduct toward women or apostasy on traditional conservative orthodoxy. It’s another illustration of the degree to which Trumpism has come to define the Republican Party.

References to 'Fealty to Trump' and 'Trumpism' make it clear that 'showing daylight' means "showing daylight between." I don't think one could use the phrase on it's own without such context.

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daylight between MW Dictionary

distance or difference between (people or things)

As between 'rivals' and 'Trump'.

The use of daylight between is frequent. I hear it often used.

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  • Thank you for your answer. However, I have never suggested that daylight b͟e͟t͟w͟e͟e͟n͟ ͟X͟ ͟a͟n͟d͟ ͟Y͟ was an invention. That construction, as I've said in my post, is well attested both in the OED and in google books. Rather, my question was explicitly about daylight w͟i͟t͟h͟ ͟X͟, for which I couldn't find any attested examples. Apr 28, 2018 at 20:24

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