Ron DeSantis is launching a losing campaign against Donald Trump
The favorite to unseat the former president the day after his re-election in Florida will have to climb a steep and slippery hill to get there.
Between the time I write these lines and the time you read them, Ron DeSantis chose bad weather to launch his campaign. He also chose a peculiar way to do it: a boring interview with Elon Musk on Twitter, the social network that the controversial billionaire offered himself at a high price and which has visibly deteriorated since.
Will DeSantis be able to free from his pedestal the object of the cult of personality that has become the Republican Party? I doubt.
A deflated balloon
In the wake of his victory in November, which coincided with the defeat of many candidates backed by Trump, DeSantis emerged as the Republican savior.
Polls had him ahead of Trump, and big donors were pushing to pave him a golden path to the nomination. Trump himself demonstrated the seriousness of his opponent by multiplying the insults to the place of “Meatball Ron DeSanctimonious”.
For a time, it was believed that the former president’s electoral and legal setbacks would melt his support, but the attention he monopolized had the opposite effect. The DeSantis balloon has deflated, and Trump’s lead now seems almost insurmountable.
Square the circle?
However, DeSantis has the assets to succeed Trump. In addition to his winning record and deep coffers, he has become the darling of the right by championing policies more radical than Trump’s.
In short, he presents himself as Trumpism’s candidate without Trump’s personal baggage. He launches his line in the same ideological pool as the ex-president and takes great care not to criticize him.
It does not work. Not only does DeSantis project an image of weakness by allowing himself to be offended with impunity, but he struggles to connect with voters outside his stronghold. With such a lack of charisma, can he really convince the Trumpists to abandon their idol? And even if he succeeded, how could he sell his far-right ideas to centrist voters?
The last cheeseburger
If the trend continues, even the multiplication of lawsuits against Donald Trump will not overcome his Republican support. He will fight all the harder because he sees his re-election as the only way to avoid criminal convictions.
With DeSantis no longer seen as the obvious choice if Trump goes off the rails, several other nominations have been added and will be added. Good for Trump. As in 2016, the fragmentation of his opposition can only facilitate his victory.
You also have to be naive enough to think that Trump would graciously accept defeat. If the Republicans show him the door to their house, he might just light the fire on his way out.
There are many Republicans who want Trump to go but are afraid to say so for fear of alienating their sects. Many Republicans aren’t shy about saying Joe Biden might not complete a second term, but there’s probably more than one who secretly wants Donald Trump to shove his last cheeseburger soon.