Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was supposed to establish himself this year as a competitive option against former President Donald Trump. After all, he turned purple Florida into a state dominated by the Republican Party.
But now, polls show Republican businessman Vivek Ramaswamy appears to be gaining on DeSantis for the second spot against Trump in some polls. A recent Harvard-Harris poll put Ramaswamy with 10% support and DeSantis at 12%.
“The DeSantis campaign is struggling, everyone will tell you, despite the fact that he’s raised more money than pretty much everyone and seems to be solidly in second place in the early states, unless you put your faith in weird online-only polls not known for their accuracy in Iowa or New Hampshire,” Ben Domenech writes in The Spectator. “But there’s a definite quality to this campaign that seems, how shall we say it, flustered? Confused? Disoriented? And in a specific way that might remind you of another recent campaign with high expectations that got off track early.”
Ron DeSantis Follows Kamala Harris’ Example From 2020
Domenech compares DeSantis with now-Vice President Kamala Harris, whom some had claimed would be the next Barack Obama as the Democrats moved into the 2020 primary season. It was not to be.
DeSantis has struggled to find his message as he faces off against Trump, the Republican Party’s 800 lb. gorilla. He has struggled to find his way and has mimicked Trump.
“Well, his plan is my plan,” Trump told Semafor last month regarding DeSantis’ immigration plan. “I mean, he’s basically copied everything I said — catch and release, finish the wall.”
DeSantis Turns Off Centrist Voters
Ron DeSantis had a good message when he started after the midterms. He was a winner who could win in areas where Trump lost. He beat Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist by a 59%-to-40% margin.
He dominated in the Democratic Party stronghold of Miami-Dade County. Since then, though, he has failed to make a dent in Trump’s base of support.
“The problem is the devil then got into the details. And once he started campaigning, he lost on two fronts. One, the more college-educated, center-right type of Republicans who were attracted to him were really turned off by these culture war fights, trying to get to Trump’s right on gay rights and such,” Bulwark writer Tim Miller told WBUR Boston. “And then, the MAGA voters were not really impressed with his electability pitch. You know, once they saw him up close under the bright lights, he didn’t seem like that strong of a campaigner.”
Miller continued: “So he’s lost altitude with what should have been his core base in this primary. And he’s gotten away from that elevator pitch that was serving him well last winter.”
His esoteric talk about Wokeness failed to articulate why being Woke was a bad thing and why people should be against it.
DeSantis also underestimated the loyalty of Trump’s base, which rallied around him in the wake of the multiple indictments against him, as well as civil litigation.
“Loyalty to Donald Trump is still strong among half of Republicans, even with DeSantis’ pointed critiques of his policies,” Domenech said. “The presence of multiple South Carolina candidates in the race hampers his potential momentum even if he wins Iowa, which seems to be the singular focus of his effort. And just as Harris’ team suffered from an extremely online tenor to her campaign, DeSantis’s team seems more interested in meme videos, Twitter scraps and the internet field of conflict than the on-the-ground demands of winning.”
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.