Successful campaigns start lean and hire up as a charismatic candidate fires up support and rides a favorable primary tide. DeSantis’s campaign has done the opposite. He had staffed for a triumphal march to the nomination. But his crusade has become an overstaffed uphill slog reeling under its own weight. And Ron has had to axe 12 of his 92 staffers.
The numbers do not lie. DeSantis is going nowhere. Trump has the support of half the Republican primary voters. DeSantis has one-fifth. To reduce it to general terms, Trump is #1. The "someone other than Trump/DeSantis" bloc is #2. DeSantis is #3.
At this point, the most likely future of the DeSantis presidential campaign is to end up as a case study in Political Science 201 classes. It will be the 2024 version of Jeb Bush’s infamous abbreviated 2016 "failure from Florida" effort. Students will debate which of the two Sunshine State Governors was more boring.
When DeSantis won the most lopsided victory in a Florida gubernatorial contest, he seemed to be the inevitable man. His home crowd loved him. And he had the golden touch in identifying and acting on social issues. So successful was he that the party adopted his bigotry.
Republicans made transphobia a top political topic of conversation, even though Americans — conservative and liberal — do not rate the "trans agenda" in the top 15 issues they say are most important to them. But combined with CRT, anti-trans has become a touchstone for conservative thought.
The absurd amount of coverage the issue raised in right-wing media blinded Ron. He wrapped his anti-teen rhetoric into his one-note, anti-woke campaign, expecting it to be his golden ticket to the White House, but then reality bit. The GOP base and the rest of America discovered that DeSantis was the subject of Winston Churchill's observation. “A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Having a limited repertoire is not necessarily the kiss of death. Trump has played the same few tunes for eight years. However, he has charisma. DeSantis has whatever the opposite of that is.
Two months into his campaign DeSantis has realized he miscalculated. But being a blame-shifting weasel, he has shown no support for the designated scapegoat, his campaign manager, Generra Peck. She ran his triumphal re-election effort in 2022. But less than a year later, she is on the sacrificial altar.
She may soon be gone. But do not expect much to change. Her departure will not alter DeSantis’ two fundamental problems. One of which is that his policies do not resonate. The other is that he is still the candidate. The slickest political operation cannot sell a donkey as a racehorse — even to the MAGAs.
Not that the truth matters to the professional liars Republicans hire as spokespeople. DeSantis's campaign mouthpiece, Andrew Romeo, stuck to a fantastical script when he told NBC News.
"Americans are rallying behind Ron DeSantis and his plan to reverse Joe Biden’s failures and restore sanity to our nation, and his momentum will only continue as voters see more of him in person, especially in Iowa. Defeating Joe Biden and the $72 million behind him will require a nimble and candidate-driven campaign, and we are building a movement to go the distance."
Romeo should be a comedian. No one, not even the base, thinks Republicans are sane. The most successful Republicans in the last 14 years are the nutters. Trump gets top billing. But look at the supporting cast. Are MT Greene and the rest of her dismal conservative cohort in Congress viewed as mentally stable by anyone? The base despises the few conservatives not on the crazy train — Mitch McConnell. Or they have run them out of town — Liz Cheney.
Romeo scores his biggest laugh with the ridiculous suggestion that when people see the wooden Ron in person, they convert to his cause. Comparing Romeo's remarks with the facts, an alien would have to conclude that DeSantis’s spokesperson has never met DeSantis. It is the candidate who is driving the campaign into a ditch.