Why Trump's Pudding Ad isn't as Dumb as it Seems
Believe it or not, there is a strategy behind the Trump ad attacking DeSantis for eating pudding with this fingers
One of the Super Pacs allied with Donald Trump released a video on Friday morning that took the Internet by storm. The ad uses the potentially apocryphal story of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis eating chocolate pudding with his fingers to attack his past support for cutting Social Security and Medicare.
Most Trump World shenanigans are stupid, bordering on self-destructive. That is not the case with this ad, which ran on CNN and Fox News on Friday morning. On the day after DeSantis signed a dangerous six-week abortion ban, it seems trite to care about the manner in which he consumes packaged desserts. While impulse control is a valuable attribute in a Commander-in-Chief who can unilaterally launch nuclear warheads, no one should really care that DeSantis was unwilling to wait for a spoon. Frankly, his pudding impatience may be the most relatable thing about the otherwise painfully awkward, malfunctioning Westworld robot authoritarian.
But bear with me; there is ample precedent to suggest the pudding thing could hurt DeSantis’s yet-to-launch presidential campaign. I don’t want to overstate the case. This is a long campaign and one ad or one anecdote won’t dramatically alter the trajectory. This ad isn’t even that great. Still, the pudding anecdote and how the Trump folks are weaponizing it is a case study of how presidential politics works in our broken media ecosystem.
People Don’t Vote for Weirdos
Thanks to all the coverage his cruel stunts have received, Ron DeSantis has remarkably high name ID for someone who has not even served as Governor for five years. But I theorize most Republican voters couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. All they know about DeSantis is that he is a mini-Trump and pisses off all the right people (Liberals). In other words, support for or interest in DeSantis is a mile wide and an inch deep.
DeSantis’s decision to delay launching his campaign left a vacuum that Trump intends to fill. Trump, who has an instinctual sense for the jugular, is trying to introduce DeSantis to the voters before the Florida Governor can do it himself. And the picture Trump wants to paint is of DeSantis as an establishment-friendly, awkward weirdo. Trump has an instinct for the jugular and knows Americans don’t like to vote for weirdos.
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