— manny (@mannyfidel) July 12, 2023
"DeSantis has it all wrong. His pretense at being a macho man — indeed a fearless superhero — is belied by his instinct to tiptoe around the dragon. The point is not to get to the right of the dragon. It is to plunge your spear into its heart." My column. https://t.co/VWrGOmWnAR
— Edward Luce (@EdwardGLuce) July 12, 2023
Now it’s gone (almost) global!
It was often said that when Bill Clinton walked into a room, each person thought he noticed them in particular. Clinton was the ultimate retail politician: he liked people and they knew it. When Ron DeSantis shows up, even those who want to support him feel that he harbours a special dislike for them. Being a black hole in terms of charisma is not automatically fatal to a candidate’s prospects. When your target is the diabolically charismatic Donald Trump, however, you are working at a big disadvantage.
The story of how DeSantis went from being the favourite, or near-favourite, Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential race to America’s most rapidly falling meteor in years, tells us a lot about the mindset of US conservatism. The Florida governor’s campaign began with every advantage. He had huge sums of money, name recognition, powerful backers and the sense that he was the only Republican capable of replacing Trump. Yet he has singularly failed to perform. One of his detractors memorably called this “electile dysfunction”.
In theory, the case for DeSantis was very good. Republicans would embrace Trumpism without Trump: in Florida’s youthful governor, they could have their war on woke before breakfast, lunch and dinner without the personality flaws of its namesake. DeSantis was Trump without the indictments and future jail sentences. He was Trump minus the drama. He would offer the kind of Trumpism that college graduates could vote for without apology.
It turns out there was a serious flaw: Maga voters cannot get enough of the Trump drama. The case against Trump in 2016 was that he was not electable. His base nevertheless recklessly voted for his nomination, then he went on to win. If part of the thrill of backing Trump is precisely because he is not electable — that he is unsafe and not respectable — it takes some brass to announce yourself as the electable version of Trump. It is now clear that the DeSantis hypothesis is a fatal misreading of what Maga wants…
Even one of the most FTFNYTimes bigoted narcissists!
I have been in the "I'll believe in when I see it" camp from the beginning with DeSantis. I haven't seen it yet! But I also think political reporters gain nothing by yoking themselves to overconfident predictions. A lot can happen between now and New Hampshire.
— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) July 12, 2023
— gg 🙊🙈🙉 (@gina_goldberg) July 12, 2023
Genuinely incredible how completely DeSantis has squandered his good will even with credulous right wing pundits like Bret Stephens pic.twitter.com/T4NSTA7vgy
— Ari Drennen (@AriDrennen) July 11, 2023
Guy tongue-bathes one bunch of nazis, and everyone calls him…
Americans and Jews pic.twitter.com/gtMz9yl9nP
— @jganyfl (@jganyfl1) July 12, 2023