BIG CAMPAIGN LAUNCH FAIL
For 20 minutes or so, there were false starts, dropped audio, strange hold music and not a peep from DeSantis. (Twitter’s teams “did no advance prep” for the launch, according to NYT tech reporter Ryan Mac.) At one point, a disembodied voice was heard making a grim assessment, per NBC’s David Ingram and Matt Dixon: “This is going to be a stain that Trump is going to leverage for at least a few weeks.”
Then the original Twitter Spaces event was aborted and a new one began — with roughly half the listenership of the first. We’ll spare you a full readout of the ensuing interview, which lasted more than an hour, and mostly featured the Florida governor reciting well-rehearsed talking points.
Team DeSantis immediately tried to spin it as evidence that the governor’s immense popularity “broke the internet,” to paraphrase one campaign release. That’s not true, of course: The internet was just fine; the launch is what had problems. And if his popularity is so vast, it seems odd that after the Twitter Spaces restarted, half of the audience from the first attempt never returned.
Joe Biden trolled DeSantis with three words: This link works. Followed by a link to donate to Biden’s campaign.
WHAT DESANTIS’ FAILED LAUNCH TELLS US
The governor has been portraying himself in public speeches and private donor meetings as a controlled, low-drama politician who embraces many of Trump’s policy positions without the trademark unpredictability. (Politico Playbook)
Instead of being that calm, successful, steady, smart, hands-on-the-tiller kind of guy that the Republican elites want to believe he is, DeSantis showed us his true colors. He has bad judgement. Really bad judgement. Like Trump, he too creates chaos and backlash. Maybe less of it, but maybe not.
DeSantis thinks that his road to the White House runs to the right of Trump. He apparently either believes he can get MAGAs to vote for him instead of Trump or that Trump will be so thoroughly damaged by the criminal indictments coming from the DOJ and Georgia that MAGA Republicans will abandon Trump and flock to him. Neither will happen. As Trump gets indicted his base will cling to him and fight for him, not part ways with him. The polls indicate that MAGAs are wedded to Trump and they love him all the more after he gets indicted by nasty woke left leaning prosecutors for criminal acts that he claims are unfair. The MAGA base is not only more entertained by Trump, it trusts Trump, and many have a godlike faith in Trump. None of that is true for DeSantis.
The group that desperately wants to part ways with Trump are the donor class elites who are a more rational sub set of Republicans than the MAGAs. They have been disillusioned by Trump’s extremism, his focus on his personal grievances, and his insistence on election denialism which led to huge losses for the GOP at the ballot box in 2022. Trump has caused many unforced errors. These elites have tons of money to throw at their favorite candidate. Many wished, hoped and deceived themselves into believing that DeSantis would be that favorite candidate: Trump without the baggage. But DeSantis will continue to disappoint them because he lacks good judgement and has already amassed considerable baggage.
EVIDENCE OF LACK OF JUDGEMENT IN THE LEGISLATION HE GOT PASSED
DeSantis cannot win the presidency if he does not appeal to average Americans. Average Americans are not extremists. DeSantis has been turning Florida into a showcase for Christian Nationalism and totalitarianism by getting his compliant state house to pass draconian legislation that limits the freedom of Floridians instead of expanding their freedoms and rights. He is creating a model authoritarian state, a Viktor Orban kinda state, a state where he is the dictator and where he brags that woke goes to die.
The truth is Florida is becoming a state where freedoms and rights go to die.
Here is a list of legislative “victories” DeSantis got from his captive state legislature that he thinks will help him win the presidency:
- 6 week abortion ban. Women and girls forced to give birth against their will.
- An expanded “Don’t Say Gay” law that seeks to denigrate people who don’t love according to the dictates of the religious right.
- A ban on DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) funding in public colleges and universities.
- An expanded death penalty that no longer requires 12 members of a jury but only an 8 to 4 majority.
- Anyone can carry a gun without a safety course or background check or permit which results in everyone in Florida being less free because they are less safe.
- A petty culture war with Disney that has led to Disney retaliating by pulling a multi-million dollar project from Florida which will deprive Floridians of good paying jobs.
- New laws that will prevent the public from learning about where DeSantis is traveling and who is paying for his travel so that he can pretend to be a governor while he is spending time campaigning for president.
- Changing the law that required him to resign as governor if he runs for president to allow him to do both which sets him up to pretend he is working hard as governor when he is really working hard at becoming the president.
- Book bans so that Floridians are not allowed to read what they want to read and are dictated to by the “Heckler’s veto” when it comes to books that are on the shelves in their school libraries.*
*When someone exercises their First Amendment right to free speech, the government is not allowed to shut down the speech just because other people don’t like the message that is being conveyed. This is known as the rule against a “heckler’s veto.” It turns out that there are only 11 people making the lions share of objections to books that are then removed from school libraries in states like Florida. Why do 11 bigots get to ban books in schools across the country based on their own prejudiced beliefs? There is a challenge to this right wing effort to ban books currently being mounted by parents and at least one book publisher.
If DeSantis believes that creating an authoritarian state in Florida will appeal to Americans, that is more evidence of bad judgement. That is NOT what most Americans want based on polling. Americans want more freedom, not less. Americans want control over their bodies and their lives, not less. Americans are not at war with gay and lesbian people. Americans want gun safety laws, not less. And they certainly don’t applaud bringing Disney or any other company to its knees over a Don’t Say Gay culture war being waged by a bigoted governor.*
*A bigot is a person who is obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, especially one who is prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group.
HOW DE SANTIS THREATENS CORPORATE FREEDOM
DeSantis’ attack on Disney is not sitting well with corporations in Florida and elsewhere.
The move put Florida businesses on notice and alarmed even some in the GOP, who questioned whether elected executives should use state power to punish a company. Undeterred, DeSantis has made his clash with Disney a central part of his political story, devoting an entire chapter of his recent memoir to the saga. Disney has sued DeSantis, accusing the governor of weaponizing his political power to punish the company for exercising its free speech rights, while DeSantis has vowed not to cave.
Corporate leaders make up much of the monied class that has to lend support to DeSantis if he hopes to win. They must provide the money DeSantis needs to beat Trump and eventually gain the presidency. Scaring them away is bad judgement. Again.
DESANTIS WANTS TO BE AMERICA’S FIRST DICTATOR
DeSantis wants to pick up where Trump left off and go further to the far right. If elected, he wants to deconstruct our democracy:
1) Purge the FBI and fire Chris Wray.
2) Forgive many of the insurrectionists who assaulted the Capitol on January 6th.
3) Evade or disregard the guardrails set up by Article II of the Constitution which limits the power of the executive.
4) Pardon Donald Trump if he is convicted in one or more of his coming criminal matters. (Note that a state conviction cannot be pardoned by a president. Only a federal crime could be pardoned.)
This is scary stuff. DeSantis is making a bid to be the first American dictator. Like Trump, if elected, he will get rid of our democracy and install a totalitarian regime. Some people think DeSantis would be better than Trump and others think he would be worse. BOTH will destroy our democracy. NEITHER can be elected if we hope to retain our democracy.
So far much of what we have witnessed from DeSantis is poor judgement and poor choices. Much of his agenda will be challenged by lawsuits because it is unconstitutional. But that will take time. The reality is that DeSantis has earned his new nickname: Ron DESASTROUS.
FLORIDA IS WRECK WITH DESANTIS AS GOVERNOR
William Kleinknecht wrote for Time magazine recently: “Florida continues to languish toward the bottom of state rankings assessing the quality of health care, school funding, long-term elder care, and other areas key to a successful society.” Kleinknecht also pointed out, “Florida taxpayers get less for their money than residents of many other states. … It’s no wonder that Florida ranks below the northern blue states in life expectancy and rates of cancer death, diabetes, fatal overdoses, teen birth rates, and infant mortality.” Christie can argue that DeSantis’s record (even apart from the tens of thousands of preventable covid deaths) is nothing to brag about. (Jennifer Rubin)