Ron DeSantis Campaign’s Failings and Possible Signs of a Resurgence
We are still over a year from the 2024 election, with many Republicans entering the race to challenge Joe Biden. Two of the most talked about candidates for the GOP Presidential nominee are, of course, former President Donald Trump, who leads overwhelmingly in polls despite his many indictments, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who, although leading past the other candidates, is nowhere close to Trump.
DeSantis launched his campaign in May 2023 in an audio stream on Twitter (now called X) with Elon Musk. While the launch had problems, some political commentators believed he could win if he could get past Trump. Now, DeSantis’s campaign has seen many woes. Let’s break down some of them and explain how he can make a comeback.
Too Terminally Online?
One aspect of Ron DeSantis you may know about if you’ve been paying attention to politics is that Ron DeSantis is a heavy participator in the online culture wars. DeSantis frequently talks about declaring war on “wokeness,” a controversial term, with even Trump saying that he doesn’t like the word. While the exact definition of “woke” isn’t agreed upon, Ron’s definition is that woke is “about putting merit and achievement behind identity politics, and it’s basically a war on the truth. And as that has infected institutions, and it has corrupted institutions.” DeSantis has fought his definition of wokeness by passing several controversial laws, such as Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
DeSantis’s campaign has also had its share of controversial campaign videos laden with memes and fascist imagery. While Nate Hochman, the creator of one controversial campaign video, was fired, many believe this to be a sign that DeSantis appeals too much to online far-right communities instead of your average moderate.
Donors Are Pulling; the Campaign Is Changing
Early August 2023, one major donor, Robert Bigelow, echoed the above sentiments. A hotel entrepreneur, Bigelow was one of the biggest donors to the campaign, donating over $20 million. However, he said he would not donate until the DeSantis campaign took a more moderate approach.
While the DeSantis campaign initially said that donors don’t decide the campaign, DeSantis is feeling the heat. He reset his campaign, replacing his campaign manager and stopping by Iowa counties to have more personal questions asked by those living there.
Is the Ron Desantis Campaign Reboot Working?
There are signs that DeSantis’s new approach is working. His campaign said that he received 40 endorsements from Iowa state legislators, and in a poll, residents viewed him favorably at 66%, with Trump being favored at 65%.
However, this is only one state, and currently, Trump is still leading as the nominee for the 2024 election.
Can Ron DeSantis Succeed in the Debates?
Former President Trump said that he would skip the Republican debates, stating that the public already knows who he is and that he is well-liked. While the DeSantis campaign told Trump to “show up and earn” the nomination, it seems that Trump has no plans to debate for the foreseeable future.
One challenge DeSantis has is to combat Trump without alienating his voters. One debate strategy by pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down said that he must defend Trump. While DeSantis is trying not to alienate Trump voters, he must also not alienate supporters, who are often jaded with Trump.
While the future looks murky for DeSantis’s campaign, we don’t know what the future will bring. There have been many Presidential campaigns that looked like they were failing, only for them to win; for example, Joe Biden’s. We’ll provide the latest updates on DeSantis and other Republican candidates.