The most embarrassing aspect of his super PAC's debate prep memo isn't the content. It's that he hobbled himself with a moronic campaign structure.
I think the biggest and most obvious problem is that DeSantis dropped the best political operative in Florida: Susie Wiles helped Ron DeSantis become governor of Florida, but he turned against her and banished her from his orbit. She rejoined with Trump (whom she helped win in 2016). Ever since Wiles was fired (due, it seems, to DeSantis's extraordinary ego and the dislike that his wife seemed to have for Wiles), his campaign has headed south.
Podcast for paying subscribers of Andrew Sullivan.
No recent podcasts for your paying subscribers.
Regarding how RDS won by such a huge margin in 2022, I’d add two more points.
First, DeSantis likely benefited from a general shift rightward of the median FL voter. I’d say FL is probably an R+5 state at this point. Again, not enough to explain a 20 point victory but probably a contributing factor.
Second, I’d expand on your point regarding the stimulus and note that just about every governor has an approval rating above 50% with the notable exception of Katie Hobbs*. There are a whole lot governors who got to avoid hard choices in 2022. Surprise, surprise, lots of spending pared with no tax increases are popular with the voting public.
* this likely has to do with Kari Lake revealing herself to be “true believer” Trump lunatic and still refusing to concede that Hobbs actually won. Makes me look back at Lake laughing at Paul Pelosi being brutally attacked and think that laugh might have been genuine in its callousness. Also, it disturbingly shows it’s in the political self interest for GOP politicians to not accept general election outcomes, at least when it comes to keeping base support even it is damaging in a general.
I think DeSantis did so well in his re-election due to all the factors Josh mentioned, not some. He’s was great with riling up the base. He opposed Covid restrictions, got too much federal aid so he could raise teacher pay and cut taxes, and most of all the Democratic Party down here is indeed hapless (made some recent gains, though). So he’s savvy, but it’s clearly showing that this is his first presidential campaign. His insular nature and struggle to empathize is coming back to bite him. It’s seems like he and Casey are also major control freaks, and you just can’t run a presidential campaign like that. I think his lack of empathy helps him be the culture warrior he is and do some of the reprehensible things he’s done (see using vulnerable migrants in Texas as political pawns), but it’s manifesting as a weakness now as he tries to connect with voters across the country. If he does indeed lose, he will have deserved it as far as I’m concerned.
Watching Trump eviscerate DeSantis in the campaign has finally helped me understand the appeal of 2016 Trump for people who hated Hillary. This primary is over and I'm just going to enjoy watching DeSantis burn.
I honestly think Christie is going to eat DeSantis for dinner at the debate and I have to say, I’m here for it!
Good article, I learned something new.
Is Roe a DeSantis supporter or is he just grifting off of DeSantis' 15 minutes of fame?