Only Two More Years Of Stories About DeSantis V. Trump!

Republicans who like winning elections have had it with Donald Trump, a serial election loser. A new super PAC is rallying behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the preferred 2024 nominee, although a Republican primary poll from last week showed Trump easily defeating DeSantis 48 to 23 percent. Trump himself is protesting most bitterly over a recent Wall Street Journal poll that had DeSantis up 58 to 32 percent.

The "Ron to the Rescue" PAC dropped an ad after the disappointing (for Republicans) midterms that declared DeSantis "DeFuture." (Sigh.)

The ad promotes the narrative that DeSantis boldly defied COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates, allowing the state to thrive as its residents got sick and died. It presents DeSantis as a freedom fighter, echoing his own self-serving words from his victory speech last month: “Florida was a refuge of sanity when the world went mad! We stood as a citadel of freedom for people across this country, and indeed, across the world!"

Sure, if you're a COVID-19 variant, Florida is one big amusement park with unlimited rides, but DeSantis has imposed the opposite of freedom upon teachers, non-rightwing protesters, and LGBTQ residents. He even has his own voter suppression goon squad.



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DeSantis hasn't declared a presidential run yet, but Trump has already taken jabs at him while this "strong leader" keeps putting off an inevitable direct confrontation. However, "Ron to the Rescue" founder John Thomas thinks his PAC can fight DeSantis's battles for him.

“We’re not afraid to take the gloves off,” Thomas told Semafor. “If the former president decides to get nasty with DeSantis, the governor has shown a level of discipline I admire and not responding to those kinds of things, but somebody needs to and so we will defend the governor and not be afraid to do it."

As recently as August, Thomas thought DeSantis shouldn't run for president in "DeFuture," but after the Red Wave that evaporated, he's convinced that DeSantis is more electable than the mad MAGA king.

“Trump can't win,” Thomas said. “And we're going to remind voters of what they already know to be true — that he's lost the last three elections, or three and a half elections if you count the runoff. Meanwhile, Governor DeSantis is a winner and knows how to win in very tough environments.”

Dear God, now I have to defend Donald Trump. Florida in the year 2022 is not a "tough environment" for Republicans. It's been sinking into the red for years now. When Trump last won (sort of) an election, Americans viewed him as the more moderate candidate (thanks, mainstream media!). DeSantis has governed as a rightwing extremist. A national electorate would consider him just another Ted Cruz.

Outside his swampy comfort zone, DeSantis doesn't have a stellar track record of success. DeSantis actively endorsed and campaigned for several Republicans who all lost their races: Senate candidates Blake Masters in Arizona, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Joe O’Dea in Colorado, and Adam Laxalt of Nevada, Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, plus gubernatorial candidates Kari Lake of Arizona, Doug Mastriano of Pennsylvania, Lee Zeldin of New York, Tim Michels of Wisconsin, Mark Ronchetti of New Mexico, Paul LePage in Maine, and Derek Schmidt of Kansas.

Despite his proximity to Georgia, DeSantis avoided endorsing Senate candidate Herschel Walker or even fellow Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. He did suggest that "if by some chance Stacey Abrams got elected governor of Georgia, it would absolutely spark refugees flowing from Georgia and coming to Florida.” He didn't indicate whether these "refugees" would get free trips to Martha's Vineyard on DeSantis's Shanghai Express.

The "Ron to the Rescue" PAC claims their guy boasts the “the bravery of President (Abraham) Lincoln, the charm of President (Ronald) Reagan, and the determination of President (Donald) Trump," but like most bullies, DeSantis is a coward who can't even shred a wet paper tiger when he's down. "DeFuture" still looks very Trumpy.

[Semafor / Tampa Bay]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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