Who is Ron DeSantis’ Presidential Campaign Announcement for?

Ron DeSantis has long been considered the presidential choice of major Republican donors, who believe a third Donald Trump The nomination would spell disaster for the party in 2024. But it remains an open question as to whether the Florida governor, who is certainly not known for his charms, can connect with the broad American public. bigger or not. It’s widely suggested that DeSantis knew he had to, based on a recent trip to Iowa where he attended Republican fundraisers and made an unscheduled stop at a BBQ. . But the Florida governor’s real campaign launched on Wednesday, a disastrous take on Twitter Spaces, which is essentially the opposite of retail politics. Instead, DeSantis emerges as a candidate of the bullies and is extremely online.

In his prepared opening speech and the question and answer seemed to be calculated by Elon Musk and venture capitalists David Sacks, DeSantis lashed out at a pair of the online right’s most hated acronyms, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) and ESG (environment, society and governance), without ever explaining what they mean. of those terms. He talks about cryptocurrencies, reiterating the argument of anarchist capitalism by promising to defend Bitcoin against “central planners” in Washington who allegedly want to kill it because “they don’t control it…and they want to control society.” He has thrown many bones to the conservative legal movement, saying he will dismantle the “administrative state” and advocate reversing “Chevron respect,” a regulatory doctrine that DeSantis also disagrees with. explainable. It’s the kind of performance that would probably disappoint the whole family at a Federation of Union conventions, but the topics may mean much less to those outside the political world.

Aside from some predictable beats on immigration, much of the hour-long talk was about baseball. DeSantis’ most understandable comments were on issues of culture war and vague borders. “We will never surrender to the awakened mob and we will leave the awakened ideology in the dustbin of history,” he said in his opening remarks. But things go awry when he tries to explain the point. He delves into the long words of Disney’s free speech lawsuit against Florida, and the intricacies of accreditation protocols in higher education. As a commentator Matt Lewis put it to the Daily Beast, the whole thing was “more like a right-wing podcast than a mainstream launch campaign.”

Conservatives spend way too much time on Twitter and Substack is likely well-versed in all of the issues DeSantis covered in his announcement conversation with Musk. In fact, DeSantis has surrounded himself with a group of highly educated and very online thinkers. But for the average Republican voter, who is already older than independents and Democrats, it seems Disney, ESG, and the regulatory debates aren’t on the list. high priority. (DeSantis tried a less eccentric background on a later evening Fox News hit, promising to complete a “full” border wall if elected and prevent attacks. of Donald Trump against the underground state.)

For now, DeSantis’ obvious core interests — such as combating so-called sobriety — have appalled some donors. If DeSantis also fails to garner wider support in the coming months, it could make even wealthier donors fear he will need to mount a successful challenge to Trump. . According to FiveThirtyEight, he is currently nearly 34 points behind the former president among likely Republican voters. As one conservative billionaire told Financial Times Last month, many in the party’s funding pool were waiting for a candidate to emerge who could garner enough Trump support to win the primaries and have broad appeal to compete in November—but based on the niche priorities advocated early in his campaign, DeSantis may not be that candidate.


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