A star shines its brightest right before it implodes. This was a metaphor I once used to describe Donald Trump that now seems more applicable to the GOP’s latest crash and burn presidential primary candidate Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL). After his failed presidential campaign launch on Twitter Spaces last week, Gov. DeSantis has already caused a widening divide amongst Republicans and moderates alike. The once early on predicted star child has become as controversial as the former president, and on his way has burned just as many bridges.
Months ago DeSantis was hailed as the top contender (behind Trump, of course) as the most viable candidate for Republicans in 2024; yet here we are only a couple of months later and things have changed dramatically. DeSantis has shifted from superstar to supervillain, and it doesn’t look like things will be improving for him anytime soon. Not only is he taking heat from Democrats nationwide, the governor has become the center of Trump’s wraith. To understand how we got here, let’s take a trip back to the 2018 election cycle.
Ron DeSantis shockingly secured the GOP gubernatorial nomination beating out presumed front runner Adam Putnam. Andrew Gillum, who won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, had outperformed presumptive front runner Gwen Graham. This was an unpredictable race from the start. Election night 2018 came down to less than .4%, ultimately handing DeSantis a win; albeit by a very narrow margin.
Here’s the part that may surprise most of you — DeSantis was actually quite moderate from 2018 to 2020. He worked with state Democrats, and overall was seen as a decent leader. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit when his true colors started to show. Even further, his support of Donald Trump’s fictitious voter fraud theory of the 2020 presidential election started to show DeSantis as a far-right conspiracy theorist.
Then came 2022. With the Florida Democratic Party in dismay — literally, the FDP didn’t even have an office in the state’s capital of Tallahassee — among a plethora of other problems plaguing Florida Democrats, the GOP ended up with a supermajority due to illegal gerrymandering, voter suppression and restrictions, and the nonexistent Democratic Party all but undoubtedly handed Republicans a major win. But it wasn’t until the state’s 2023 legislative session where DeSantis really flaunted his red flags.
While Florida Republicans and the DeSantis administration hailed the session as a success, the majority of Floridians and fellow Americans were in disbelief of the legislative outcomes. Banning books and actual history from being taught in schools, immigration policies that will harm the agricultural and construction industries, attacking those deemed as opponents (both politically and professionally like Disney), forming his own state militia, an election fraud police unit, banning women’s right to choose and requiring rape/incest victims to show proof to have an abortion, making it illegal for those who aren’t naturalized citizens to own property, allowing medical professionals to deny treatment to people based off of race, religion, etc, and even revoking the right to peaceful protest are just the tip of the iceberg.
DeSantis clearly showed us that if you disagree with him, he will use his power to come for you and everything you have. He also had no qualms about using his authority to his benefit. Just weeks before announcing his presidential candidacy, DeSantis changed the state law requiring elected officials to resign before running for another office and hiding all records from the public involving how he uses tax dollars to travel and who he meets with. Since Florida gives the governor the power to veto line-items in the state’s budget, most elected state officials have fallen in line with his demands to ensure their initiatives for their districts are not abolished by him. He’s basically got all of them by the balls to put it blatantly.
For a man who has wielded so much power, it’s hard for him to hear the word no. So after his campaign kickoff it’s no surprise that an extremely disgruntled Donald Trump would go for blood. Since the failed Twitter Spaces official campaign launch, the road to the White House has gotten much harder for DeSantis. Not only are Republicans choosing sides between him and Trump, but big money GOP donors are too. Rumor has it that DeSantis had a fundraiser recently where after giving a speech of being the most viable candidate to the room, all of the donors told him he won’t beat Trump, therefore, not contributing to his campaign.
Republican consultants are also voicing their frustrations about the role his wife, Casey DeSantis, has played. As for the voters, many who are now being impacted by his new laws (especially the Hispanic communities) are starting to realize that he hates them just as much as he hates the “woke” left. When comparing the election results of 2020 and 2022, the numbers show that on a national level DeSantis is not viable enough to win the Electoral College against President Joe Biden. I don’t say that lightly, but elections are a numbers game at the end of the day and he doesn’t even have enough to beat Trump in the primary here in Florida. You know it’s not going well when even Trump starts saying he doesn’t like the term “woke” anymore because of DeSantis.
What I’m trying to say is quite simple — Ron DeSantis is on the downfall and it’s unlikely to change. This is a man who doesn’t even own a home in Florida anymore since he moved into the Governor’s Mansion paid for by our tax dollars. He gets his salary, healthcare benefits, and travel expenses also covered by the taxpayers. He’s the epitome of a welfare queen benefiting from socialism while the rest of us are suffering from skyrocketing housing costs and lack of insurance coverage.
Ron DeSantis has shown Floridians and the rest of the country in just a few short months how horrible the state of our country would be under his leadership. His international trip to make him seem presidential backfired with world leaders calling him awkward and unlikeable. He can’t even control his outbursts at questions during press conferences; and to think they said women are too emotional to be president.
At the end of the day the writing on the wall is clear. Ron DeSantis has single-handedly self-sabotaged his campaign and is on the fast track to destroying his entire career. The one thing that’s become certain is that he is in no way qualified to be the leader of the free world.