Why Ron DeSantis Keeps Losing to Trump
The Florida Governor's terrible campaign explained
Eight months ago, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was the great hope of the establishment Republicans who never liked Trump but supported him nonetheless. After a huge reelection victory in previously purple Florida, DeSantis was the hottest ticket in Republican politics. Billionaire Super PAC donors and highly sought-after political operatives flocked to Florida to sign up with DeSantis’s campaign in waiting.
By almost every measure, the DeSantis campaign has been a resounding flop. His announcement was a technological and political disaster. His awkward and cold interactions with voters became an Internet meme. DeSantis trails Trump in every poll and looks smaller and weaker than his chief rival.
Now, this could all change – and quickly. Joe Biden was written off in the 2020 Democratic primaries, as were previous nominees like John McCain and John Kerry. Obama was left for dead by the pundits more times than I care to count. A new CNN poll conducted after the second indictment week showed Trump losing some of his standing with Republican voters (although still leading DeSantis by 21 points).
Still, it’s early and Ron DeSantis could make a comeback. Here are a few of the reasons why his campaign has been a dud.
Candidate Quality Matters
Ron DeSantis’s biggest problem is not Donald Trump, the pro-Trump MAGA media, or the growing field of candidates splitting the non-Trump vote. DeSantis’s biggest problem is that he is Ron DeSantis. To win the Presidency, you must be able to woo people during one-on-one dinners and in VFW halls in places like Iowa and be deft enough to navigate the brutal levels of media scrutiny. DeSantis can do none of the above. His speeches are boring and poorly delivered. The guy has the charisma of a banana slug and the people skills of the Seinfeld Soup Nazi (I am generationally obligated to make this reference). And every time he appears in public, the Florida Governor makes a gaffe that distracts from his intended message
My former White House colleague and current Pod Save America cohost often says the most important quality in any politician is the ability to speak like a human. While that may sound easy, most politicians fail this simple test. DeSantis fails it worse than any candidate in recent memory. He uses jargon and acronyms like DEI and CRT without giving explanations. DeSantis assumes that the audience is steeped in the lingua franca of Fox News.
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