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The Early Sign Ron DeSantis Won’t Ever Be President

After several months of the typical Trump up-the-gut-style of politics, Ron DeSantis is reeling. Nevertheless, the Florida governor can still mount a comeback. Maybe.

Ron DeSantis. Image Credit: Fox News Screenshot.
Ron DeSantis. Image Credit: Fox News Interview Screenshot.

Ron DeSantis Isn’t Doing Well – In a recently released poll from Republican-leaning polling firm, Cygnal (which has an ‘A’ rating from polling aggregator site, FiveThirtyEight), Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has cratered from second place (behind former President Donald J. Trump) to third place in their recent poll (tied with relative unknown upstart, the wealthy biotech investor, Vivek Ramaswamy). 

According to the Cygnal pollsters, this is the apotheosis of a six-month-long downward trend for Governor DeSantis to unseat Trump as the GOP Primary presidential frontrunner. 

An Unfortunate Series of Events for Ron DeSantis ‘24

This poll is most unwelcome, after a spate of unfortunate events have plagued the DeSantis 2024 presidential campaign. 

First, it was revealed that Ron DeSantis hired a bunch of clownish social media personalities—one of whom was apparently a raging antisemite—to wage his Culture War on social media. 

Second, Ron DeSantis fired his speechwriter, Nate Hochman, because of his affinity for Nazi imagery. 

Third, DeSantis has struggled to fill up his campaign events. 

Fourth, while in Iowa, DeSantis was embarrassed by Trump when the former president had his personal jet buzz a DeSantis event, and the crowd started cheering for Trump.

DeSantis ultimately fired 38 campaign staffers and has replaced his campaign manager. Meanwhile, his campaign’s biggest donor, the real estate-and-aerospace mogul, Robert Bigelow, has stated that he is discontinuing his financial support of DeSantis’ flailing campaign. 

None of these events are desirable for any candidate. This is especially so for an underdog candidate, like Ron DeSantis, going up against an almost inhuman campaigner in former President Donald Trump. 

The only upside for Ron DeSantis is that these changes and controversies are happening at the very beginning stages of the campaign rather than in the middle or toward the end.

Yet, first impressions are usually the most important in life. 

Embarrassment in Iowa

While Governor DeSantis has been heavily invested in wooing Iowa Republican primary voters for several months, the fact that he was so easily humiliated by a Trump flyover at his own event should indicate how precarious of a position DeSantis is in. 

The Florida governor is not connecting well with Republican voters, who are understandably weary of replacing their fiery tribune, Donald Trump, with another Bush-like politician.

Of course, those of us who have worked with Ron DeSantis and lived under his leadership in Florida know that calling DeSantis a Bush retread, or a “Globalist sellout” as the Trump Campaign surrogates are so fond of calling him, is false. 

DeSantis is his own man and has a very strong governing record. In fact, Florida’s governor has a better record on some key issues—such as responding to COVID-19—than does former President Trump. 

Sadly, none of that matters.

In a Personality Contest, Ron DeSantis Loses

DeSantis’ rightful claim to have handled COVID-19 better in Florida than Trump nationally is at its expiration date.

We’re three years out from the pandemic that destroyed so much of what had made America great (as well as helped to end Trump’s presidency prematurely). People are moving on.

According to Cygnal, overwhelming numbers of voters care about the economy and inflation as well as immigration. There are no other concerns—not DeSantis’ successful record combating COVID-19 or his ongoing Culture War—that the voters care about. 

This is why former President Trump has effectively managed to minimize the excellent track record that DeSantis has had in preserving conservative values in Florida while somehow running to the Left of DeSantis on social issues.

DeSantis has been waging what seems like a campaign exclusively tailored for the Florida electorate. While Florida’s population is a wonderful cross-section of America, when one is running the presidency, the candidate must have broader appeal. 

The fact of the matter is that DeSantis has the best widespread calling card possible: Florida’s economy has been booming under his leadership since he first became governor in 2018—especially after DeSantis decided to defy Trump’s lockdown orders and to reopen Florida’s economy during the pandemic. 

Ron DeSantis has been strong on immigration policies in Florida as well. 

Stop Fixating on Culture War

While it’s tempting to constantly fixate on the Culture War aspect of his time in office, DeSantis must start transitioning to a campaign that makes a broader appeal along economic lines. He’s leaving these far more important issues to Trump, which is what’s killing him in the polls. 

As for the polls, DeSantis has been damaged and is in an unenviable position. He started out the new year as the single greatest threat to Donald Trump’s bid to become the GOP nominee in 2024. Because of this, DeSantis pulled big-ticket donors toward his campaign in a way that scared the Trump Campaign. 

Yet, in typical Trump fashion, the former president used rage, insults, and misrepresentations of DeSantis to damage the Florida governor.

Ron DeSantis Does Still Have Some Time (But Not Much)

After several months of the typical Trump up-the-gut-style of politics, DeSantis is reeling. Nevertheless, the Florida governor can still mount a comeback. Despite his downward trend in the polls, no debates have occurred. 

The first primary vote is set until the middle of January. 

Plus, DeSantis still has an impressive war chest. He’s got time to make his adjustments (and already is) before things get serious. Speaking of the first debate, should Trump ultimately make an appearance on stage, that would DeSantis’ single-greatest opportunity to get a knock-out punch on Trump. 

He’s got to be ready for August 23, when the first debate occurs. It might be his only chance to truly connect with voters and remain in this visceral primary fight. 

A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.

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Written By

Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who recently became a writer for Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.