Ron DeSantis launches a losing campaign against Donald Trump
Whoever was favorite to dethrone the ex-president the day after his re-election in Florida will have to climb a steep and slippery slope to get there.
Ron DeSantis chose bad weather to launch his campaign, between the time I write these lines and the time you read them. He also chose a curious way to do it: a lackluster interview with Elon Musk on Twitter, the social network that the controversial billionaire offered himself at a high price and which has been visibly deteriorating since.
Will DeSantis be able to unbolt the object of the personality cult that has become the Republican Party? I doubt it.
- Listen to Loïc Tassé's editorial on Benoit Dutrizac's show broadcast live every day at 12:30 p.m. < strong>via QUB radio:
A deflated balloon
In the aftermath of his victory in November, which coincided with the collapse of many Trump-backed candidates, DeSantis was emerging as the savior of the Republicans.
Polls were putting him ahead of Trump and big donors were jostling 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 electoral and legal setbacks of the former president would melt his support, but the attention he monopolized had the opposite effect. The DeSantis balloon deflated and Trump's lead now seems almost insurmountable.
Squaring the circle?
DeSantis has some strengths to succeed Trump. Besides his winning record and deep coffers, he has become the darling of the right by championing policies more radical than those of Trump.
In short, he presents himself as the candidate of Trumpism without the personal baggage of Trump. He launches his line in the same ideological basin as the ex-president, taking great care not to criticize him.
It does not work. Not only does DeSantis project an image of weakness by allowing himself to be insulted with impunity, but he struggles to connect with the electorate outside his stronghold. With such a lack of charisma, can he really convince the Trumpists to abandon their idol? And even if he did, 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.
As DeSantis is no longer seen as the obvious choice if Trump goes off the rails, several other nominees 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 naïve enough to believe that Trump would graciously accept defeat. If the Republicans show him the door to their house, he might just set the fire on the way out.
There are many Republicans who want Trump out of town, but dare not say so for fear of alienating his cultists. Many Republicans aren't shy about saying that 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.