Ron DeSantis doesn’t have what it takes to compete on the national political stage and this is not new information. Rick Wilson and other political pundits, mainly Republicans, in fact, have been saying this for quite some time. In the past few weeks all DeSantis has done is prove them right. DeSantis’ polling numbers peaked at the beginning of the year while Trump’s have been on the rise. The most recent Morning Consult Poll from three days ago shows DeSantis trailing Trump at 26% to Trump’s 54%. (Liz Cheney, by the by, polled at 3%, one point below Nikki Haley and two points above Kristi Noem.)
Since Trump pulled his meltdown stunt on Truth Social last weekend and raised $1.5 million in cash overnight, the dynamic of the 2024 GOP primary has permanently and inalterably changed. Trump simultaneously rallied the entire House GOP to his side and against Alvin Bragg. All the attention and all the momentum has returned to Trump and this was the result of a few days of deranged posts on Truth Social.
DeSantis weakly attempted to staunch his bleeding position in the primary field by going on Piers Morgan’s show and reversing his position on Ukraine and all that did was expose him as the novice and fool that he is. The worldwide peals of laughter “were heard all the way to Tallahassee” as Wilson put it.
DeSantis is so far out of his depth that his campaign is now truly becoming pathetic and it hasn’t even launched, officially at least, yet. Wilson explains:
For Puddin’ Ron (a nickname that will live in infamy), every interview gives America a chance to watch the gears moving in his head, calibrating and trimming, desperately hoping never to put a foot wrong. For all his bluster about never backing down, the howls of laughter across the political world could be heard all the way to Tallahassee when DeSantis reversed his position on Putin and Russia.
Last week, he was a proud isolationist Putin-symp, declaring that Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine was a mere “territorial dispute” and put himself soundly into camp of such noted pro-Russia cheerleaders as Steve Bannon, Seb Gorka, and Jack Posobiec. After clearly getting his bell rung by more serious people, DeSantis reversed course and declared the wee Russian dictator a war criminal.
Far from being rewarded, he has been nuked into a radioactive puddle by MAGAs declaring him to be a neo-con warmonger shill and by foreign policy grown-ups who view his transparent attempt at needle-threading as wholly inadequate.
Here’s the simple truth about Ron DeSantis and why he will never be a viable presidential candidate. The man cannot think on his feet and he has no policies and no plan. He has zero answers to anything unless he’s in an environment where everything is tightly scripted. He’s desperately attempting to emulate Trump’s showman appeal and he doesn’t have it. Say what you will about Trump, he is a natural, he does come across on TV. Even Pat Nixon said this way back in the day, that Trump would do well in politics should he ever throw his hat in the ring.
DeSantis knows this and this is why he keeps trying to push legislation in Florida to shut down freedom of the press, even ludicrously going down to the level of political blogs, such as this one. If we were publishing out of Florida, which thankfully we are not, in the world of DeSantistan, this piece would have to be registered with the State of Florida and I would have to report how much money it made. DeSantis is the kind of politician who is so lacking in the basics of what it takes that he can only command the field if he becomes a dictator first and eliminates all his natural enemies, journalists first and foremost.
Pros noted DeSantis’ lack of political felicity on his first big road test, and while many have analogized DeSantis to Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, those comparisons only go so far.
The real vibe DeSantis was giving this week was Hillary Clinton.
The expected establishment choice. The safe bet. The letter-perfect resume with all the signifiers the meritocracy finds so comforting. An army of media Stans who declare the perfection of their policies, views, history, and prospects. Like Hillary, Ron DeSantis seems fundamentally uncomfortable with this work. He lacks that grace and ability natural candidates show without trying; Ronald Reagan had it. Barack Obama had it. As painful as it is to admit, Donald Trump had it.
I concur. It’s a paradox of our political system that you need to be competent enough to handle the job of president, which is a tall order in and of itself, and then you need to be showman enough to get out there and be a rock star and sell yourself to the people on that level. Bill Clinton is another politician who had both going. Hillary never did. Hillary had more than enough competence to capably handle the job of president. No question in my mind. But television was not her friend like it was Trump’s. She isn’t a natural and that tanked her.
Here’s Wilson’s prediction on how Trump will dispose of his pesky would be challenger, DeSantis.
Their consultants will start — quietly at first, then much more urgently — trying to find a way back to Trump or the sucker pool of DeSantis cash. They will understand it’s over, but some will try to hang on until the first debates, hoping against hope to somehow, some way land a knockout blow against Trump. Good luck with that.[…]
And as he [Trump] continues his deliberate, constant destruction of DeSantis, the billionaire class will stop answering the phone…slowly, then all at once. The rest of the field is a footnote.
Trump will play the outrage card over and over. As he starts providing the networks with prepackaged rally content, even Chris Licht’s CNN (perhaps especially Chris Licht’s CNN, given its vanishing ratings) will flood the zone with Trump coverage once again.
The spectacle is too much to resist. Trump will return to Twitter with an army of 89 million followers and blast his attacks, accusations, fantasies, grievances, and assorted word salads into the minds of his followers.
Not one candidate in this field has learned the most basic rule; once you hit Trump, you can never, ever, ever stop. Once you attack, that’s all you do until Trump is defeated. Not one of them can sustain it.
There is no real candidate for the 2024 GOP ticket other than Trump. That’s the simple reality of it. And as to DeSantis, he keeps proving Rick Wilson right.
If it’s not staged and rehearsed he doesn’t know what to do, that’s a problem when you’re on the campaign trail and you’re expected to always be on your feet.
— I love reading the constitution. (@mike_mcclatchy) March 24, 2023
Here’s where the rubber is going to meet the road: the law in Florida states that DeSantis can’t run for president unless he resigns as governor. He will not likely do that. If he’s stupid enough to do so, then he might be finished in politics for good. DeSantis will probably realize in the next few months that he can’t win and slowly fade out of the race. It’s either that, or self-immolate.
I speculate that he won’t even get into the first debate with Trump. Although I would like to be wrong. The spectacle of those two going at it would be totally lit. And there may be no debates if Trump is the clear front runner. What is Nikki Haley going to say to Trump on the debate stage? And while I would give good money to see Mike Pence debate Trump, outside of my dreams I don’t see that happening either.
I think the only way that DeSantis becomes the GOP frontrunner is if Trump’s legal problems take him out of the running and it’s way too soon to say whether that will happen.
[Photo by Gage Skidmore, Flickr]
WOW, it IS a fantastic hurdle for Dan the stupid D. ….
Tall and not too stupid looking, then he moves through the night without feet touching the ground …
He’s actually an open book, one full of blank pages, suitable for 3 year old crayon scribbles …
Whenever he seems to really know anything, people will be in dangerous levels of shock …
He has the problem of NOT being able to blow enough gas to cover his inadequate abilities to actually be a President, a skill of Trump’s, probably from his diet, enough gas to launch a new Hindenburg blimp … 🙂
But seriously, DeSantis seems to be a clear slate, without any new chalk to sketch out a plan as a new President would need …
Great article, Ursula …
DeSantis is wildly out of his league. His former TV anchor wife is coaching him on television because DeSantis believes that if you master TV you can be president. And of course he saw Trump do it, why not him? So I get that part of it.
But the part DeSantis doesn’t get is that this wild promises, pie in the sky, iconoclastic bit isn’t going to work for just anybody. It worked for Trump because he broke the mold at a time when people were craving a populist hero. Now we’ve seen how awfully all that worked out. People aren’t going to fall for the same gag twice in a row.
Even if TFG self-immolates, DeSatan does not have a chance at the nomination. There are no coronations in presidential politics and moRon has proven he can’t work a small room, forget a rally. Nikki Haley and Tim Scott have a better chance at the nomination than him, and their odds are slim and none.
Basically, I agree with you. So who does that leave? Mike Pence?
The preyingmantis should stay in the nazi garden he’s created. Hey Yalie…take any history classes, or did your tutors do the work while you were at batting practice? Remember your idol, Hitler? If he’d had kept his ass in Germany he could have had that Reich more than 12 years. After all, he’d already killed, confined or chased out all the Jews. Nope. He wasn’t satisfied, so he invaded European countries, and even with success, turned on Russia. Big mistake. So, my advice is do the USA a favor and just hang around the rich old people in the Villages. Your pig won’t fly. Own a handgun? Hitler did. Bullet don’t lie as Danzel said in Man On Fire. Keep it handy. You may need it after Dump smears his shit all over you. Sorry if it seems I have zero empathy for child killers. Blame my upbringing.
Unless I miss my guess, this has been the worst week of Ron DeSantis’ life. The harsh glare of reality is starting to seep into the room.
Why do women even bother with these idiots on parade? Republican women seem to be a special case of trans people who love to be put down by the men in their lives who continually humiliate them as they humiliate themselves. Even Freud would have been confused.
Trump’s defense his entire life has been “I know you are, but what am I?” DeSantis should be happy with his own little fiefdom of Florida and be content to be a mini Mussolini
The rest of the country is too big for strictly local talent.
My feeling is that DeSantis will realize this at some point and stay in his office as Governor. Because if he quits that job to run against Trump he might find himself out of politics altogether. This is the harsh awakening I see in store for DeSantis in the next few months.
Ron DeSantis is this years Scott Walker