An announcement above ground, without images, in the smelly virtual space of Twitter: this is how Ron DeSantis had chosen to formalize his candidacy for the Republican primaries, Wednesday May 24, for the presidential election of 2024. to crash before even taking off is a challenge. The social network led by Elon Musk, who was alongside the governor of Florida, was unable to technically ensure this retransmission for nearly half an hour, paving the way for an avalanche of sarcasm online.
The radio link finally restored, Ron DeSantis read an emotionless declaration of candidacy, as one runs on a station platform, promising to drive a “America’s Great Comeback”. Without ever quoting him, he attacked Donald Trump, the big favorite in the primaries. Ron DeSantis blasted a “culture of defeat” to the right and rejected the “tired dogmas of the past”. “Governing is not entertaining”, he said. Then he launched into a counter conversation with Elon Musk and his interviewer, David Sacks, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, on the draconian measures taken against Covid-19, bitcoins, immigration or the fight of the governor of Florida against the Disney group. Nothing on inflation, nothing on China or Ukraine. “We should do this again! »concluded the candidate.
This messy exercise looked more like a Twitter parody promotion than a campaign debut. Ron DeSantis wanted to speak directly to the MAGA movement (Make America Great Again), the new center of gravity of the Republican Party, which adores Elon Musk. The 44-year-old governor has only one obsession: to seduce Donald Trump fans by convincing them that the latter belongs to the past and would be doomed to failure in 2024 against Joe Biden.
“The more people see DeSantis, the less they like him”
The Governor of Florida must first reverse his own free fall. According to the average of the polls established by the site FiveThirtyEight, Donald Trump is ahead of his rival by a spectacular margin – 53.6% against 21%. Yet, following the midterm elections in November 2022, an appetite was growing among Republican ranks for an alternative to the former president. But he managed to put himself back at the heart of the game by exploiting the judicial investigations that target him. His loyal base is electrified by the idea of a Democratic conspiracy to bring him down.
Ron DeSantis wanted to combine two objectives: to focus on his radical legislative agenda in Florida, a state he wants to offer as a model for the country, and to resist the temptation to fight with Donald Trump. Mistake: the latter beat him drunk for four months. “I hardly give DeSantis or any other Republican candidate a chance, sighs Joe Walsh, a former primary candidate in 2020, who has become a vigorous opponent of the MAGA movement. This is Trump’s party. All the other candidates are afraid to criticize him directly so as not to lose his voters. Donors, party officials and consultants all want Trump to end up in Siberia. So they moved to DeSantis. But they are starting to deflate at the sight of the polls. »
You have 64.06% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.