Monday, January 08, 2024

ANNALS OF DeSANTISTAN: COMMENTARY DeSantis’ politics and personality lack the ‘it’ factor; he’ll likely sink his presidential bid (Barrington Salmon, Florida Phoenix)

Now the world knows about our former Congressman from St. Johns County, an immature, insolent misguided misanthrope. I agree with this spot-on commentary by Barrington Salmon from the Florida Phoenix: 


DeSantis’ politics and personality lack the ‘it’ factor; he’ll likely sink his presidential bid 

JANUARY 7, 2024 7:00 AM

 MIAMI, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 08: Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to reporters in the spin room following the NBC News Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County on November 8, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Five presidential hopefuls squared off in the third Republican primary debate as former U.S. President Donald Trump, currently facing indictments in four locations, declined again to participate. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary are coming into view, yet for all the “Sturm und Drang” surrounding the presidential race, little has changed since the contest for the Republican nomination began.

Less than two weeks before the kickoff of the 2024 presidential battle, former President Donald Trump is still the frontrunner, with The Hill/Decision Desk HQ showing Trump far ahead with 51.6 percent support, based on a polling average. Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley lag behind at 18 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively.

“In New Hampshire, the polling average puts Haley at 26.7 percent, ahead of DeSantis’s 8.3 percent — but still well behind Trump’s 43.7 percent,” according to The Hill.

 Gov. Ron DeSantis, First Lady Casey DeSantis, and their three children make their entrance at the governor’s second inaugural ceremony on Jan. 3, 2023. Credit: Danielle J. Brown

Haley, a former United Nations ambassador in the Trump administration, and DeSantis, who is serving his second term, have struggled to convince deeply conservative evangelical Republicans that they’re a clear alternative to the twice-impeached, four-time-indicted paragon of virtue, Donald Trump.

They need to pull several rabbits outta their hats if they hope to catch or pass Trump, but it appears increasingly likely — given Trump’s iron grip on what used to be the Republican Party — that they’re merely running for second place and perhaps a spot in Trump’s cabinet if he prevails in November.

If the pair fail to gain more traction, the end of their campaigns could come much earlier than either would like because, as political pundits explain, winning the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, and snagging the South Carolina primary in February, could decide who wins the Republican presidential sweepstakes by early March.

I believe DeSantis is wasting his time and his donors’ money because he lacks the “it” factor.

He will not become president, not even close.

Yet this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.

Towering expectations?

When DeSantis entered the race to become the Republican nominee for president, everyone in his corner — supporters, campaign staff, megadonors and allies — had towering expectations that it would be romp.

After all, he had routed former Gov. Charlie Crist in his November 2022 reelection, engineered almost complete control over the Republican-dominated legislature, and appeared to have bent the Sunshine State’s governmental apparatus to his will. What could go wrong?

Quite a lot it seems.

DeSantis’ campaign never caught fire the way he and his allies expected. His campaign is wobbly and uninspiring, flailing around much like a punch-drunk boxer. This despite DeSantis having to endure sustained and savage pummeling from his opponents.

Leaning in on more boxing imagery: The wanna-be dictator has been caught cold: wounded in the opening rounds, in danger of having the fight stopped early because he’s not prepared for the complexities and challenges that are key elements of any winning presidential campaign.

 Protesters outside a Florida Board of Medicine hearing on restricting trans care, Aug. 5, 2022. Credit: Brooke Baitinger

Since declaring his intention to run for president in 2024, DeSantis has pursued a scorched-earth policy against “woke” culture. He has used his political power to fashion punishing legislation and applied it as a cudgel against trans children, the LGBTQ+ community, and Disney, orchestrated a book banning campaign, killed off diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in schools and the workplace, and begun dismantling Florida’s educational system, all framed around a Christian nationalist, proto-fascist ideological underpinning.

By employing the Republicans’ calculated multi-pronged strategy of sowing chaos, DeSantis has kept his Florida opposition on its heels, ignoring anger, fear, resistance, and protests, with the courts and lawsuits serving as the only hedges against his voluminous excesses.

Why He’ll Lose

DeSantis won’t win in November 2024 for a raft of reasons. First and foremost, he can’t out-Trump Trump because why buy a pale imitation when you can have the real thing?

He will lose because he’s afraid to attack Trump for fear of pissing off the MAGA base. That’s not a winning strategy.

DeSantis had promised to replicate Trump’s malicious, revenge-filled agenda and implement it nationally, but most Americans don’t embrace Trump or DeSantis’ far-right’s dystopian vision of America.

 Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the six-week abortion ban into law late at night on April 13, 2023. Credit: governor’s office

He will also be undone because he vigorously supports and has signed into law oppressive restrictions on reproductive health care and women’s access to legal abortions.

Republicans have been on the receiving end of a shellacking in recent abortion-related elections and referenda showing that the majority of the U.S. electorate — Red and Blue — supports these freedoms.

DeSantis has a governing agenda but it’s antithetical to the majority of Americans. The country’s moderate, liberal, and progressive voters want a problem solver, someone who’s willing to reach across the political aisle to attack the myriad problems the country faces. The GOP has eschewed that tack and have made total support of Trump their operating principle.

He doesn’t translate nationally

As former sports anchor, social commentator, and talk show host Jemele Hill said on Twitter/X last year, “Ron DeSantis is more dangerous than Trump because he actually understands how government works and how to manipulate it to his advantage, but he’s got the charisma of a towel. Trump is a moron. But he’s charismatic. No matter how much DeSantis steals from the Authoritarians for Dummies book, he doesn’t translate nationally.”

Meanwhile, DeSantis is a genuinely unlikeable guy who is sometimes dour, standoffish, prickly, and cannot hide how arrogant and thin-skinned. That’s a huge turnoff despite his supposed competence.

Despite these apparent disadvantages, DeSantis fancies himself the tip of the spear in the ideological culture wars. He hopes his aggressive, nihilist political strategy and his Orwellian, resentment-fueled vision will be the ticket that propels him to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

But it won’t.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Barrington Salmon

Journalist Barrington Salmon lived and wrote in Florida (Miami and Tallahassee) for almost 20 years. He is a 2017 Annenberg National Fellow (University of Southern California) who currently freelances for publications, including the National Newspaper Publishers Association/Black Press USA, Trice Edney Newswire and The Washington Informer. Salmon lives in the nation's capital and can be heard on his video blog “Speak Freely with Barrington Salmon and NNPA’s “Let It Be Known.” Connect with Barrington on Speak Freely + follow him on Twitter/X (@bsalmondc), Instagram and on his Facebook pages, Barrington Salmon & BarringtonSalmonWrites.


Brandt said...

DeSantis is a conservative Republican warloard who seeks to turn the USA into Florida, with laissez fare, unregulated capitalism and cronyism being the only economic order and rendering government a useless joke if he can. I'm sure many conservative Republicans in government are already hard at work making sure things don't work. God save us from these empty suits.

Pete said...

I call the GOP the rich and smart, poor and stupid alliance. They'll keep humans as house pets eventually...hogs keeping dogs we will call it.😆

Anonymous said...

He shoulda went woke...

Anonymous said...

Ever thought about getting a job and trying to be successful instead of moaning about people with more money than you all the time?