Ron DeSantis makes it official
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) officially launched his Presidential campaign – with an inauspicious beginning and a scripted softball session.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) yesterday formally declared himself a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 2024. But CNAV cannot endorse him, for two reasons. First, as we have noted before, he does not reliably bring in solid, conservative, civilizational results. Second, he represents the Never Trumpers, and especially the Bush Dynasty, which controls the Republican Establishment. The Bushes (Senior and Junior) did not serve the country well, and stained the reputation of the Party.
Ron DeSantis builds expectation, and files the papers
Ron DeSantis did many things to build an expectation of his candidacy. He announced a Twitter Spaces interview with Elon Musk; that took place at 6:00 p.m. EDT. Earlier in the afternoon he filed the paperwork that the Federal Elections Commission requires.
Fox News repeated the announcement of the Twitter interview, then announced their own interview last night at 8:00 p.m. EDT. (Note that Tucker Carlson once had this time slot; Trey Gowdy took it for this occasion.)
Independent Journal Review quoted Five Thirty-eight’s latest aggregation of Republican Presidential preference polls. They show Donald J. Trump ahead with 53.9 percent of the vote – a clear majority. Ron DeSantis places second with 21.1 percent – respectable, but against a majority favorite, unavailing.
However, DeSantis is playing the endorsement game, and playing it hard. Renewed Right had a leak that he has already picked a Vice-Presidential running mate – almost unprecedented this early. Her name: Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R-Ark.), who once served as Donald Trump’s press secretary. The Daily Caller reports several other endorsements, including Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Bob Good (R-Va.). (He also has several State legislative endorsements in Florida, Iowa and New Hampshire.) In addition, the governor seems to have dropped the initials “FL” from all his Twitter handles.
Who supports him?
Dick Morris, in his Lunch Alert, said that Ron DeSantis is the chosen champion of the Never Trump faction. In 2016, Morris said, the Republican Establishment picked Jeb Bush, younger brother of George W. Bush and a former Florida governor himself. Trump characteristically shellacked all his opponents, on the debate stage and at the ballot box. (In fact, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told Megyn Kelly that Trump is “the most devastating debater since Abraham Lincoln.”)
According to Morris, the Bush family has never forgotten nor forgiven. In fact David Sacks, moderator of the Twitter Spaces interview, once made a large donation to the Hillary Clinton campaign. He did this, says Morris, not because he was ideologically simpatico with Clinton (he wasn’t), but to stop Trump. That didn’t work – and Ron DeSantis is the Bush Dynasty’s last hope for revenge and relevance.
Erick-Woods Erickson seems to have jumped on the Ron DeSantis bandwagon. He boasts that Never Back Down, the DeSantis Super PAC, has more cash on hand than Jeb Bush spent in his entire 2016 campaign.
Ron DeSantis enters the Twitter Space
We now turn to the experience of Ron DeSantis and Elon Musk in a free-form sound-only conference – the Twitter Space. Last night’s experience was not what Twitter led everyone to believe – because it proved extremely difficult technically. Your editor entered, not the intended Space, but another, smaller Space, that barely managed to connect everyone. The intended Space, with half a million listeners, could not connect – and your editor could not “fetch” it.
But the smaller Space turned out to be valuable. Its hosts kept all speakers and listeners properly informed about the nature and severity of the technical difficulty. Then, about twenty minutes late, Gov. DeSantis and site owner Elon Musk joined the Space, along with David Sacks.
Once the governor had joined, the question-and-answer session began. To one who listened only to this part of the conference, it sounded like a good opportunity to hear a Presidential candidate answer questions to which voters would naturally want answers. Though even before DeSantis and Musk arrived, the hosts speculated on what Musk really wants – that Trump return to Twitter. Technically he is a part of Twitter, in that his account remains active, if only as an archive. But Musk wants Trump back as an active participant – and one speaker hinted that this would indeed happen soon. (But, since CNAV did not hear that from Trump or his spokesperson, and cannot independently verify that statement, it must treat it as unverified rumor. So take it with a grain of salt.)
Criticism of DeSantis
But after Ron DeSantis left the Space, the criticism came, mainly from some of the speakers. The governor spoke of his legal war with The Walt Disney Company. But no one had, heretofore, heard him complain about Disney essentially governing itself, like a dukedom.
The governor touted his sending National Guard troops to Texas to help fortify the Rio Grande; that everyone appreciated. But they did not appreciate his distributing illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard and other such places. True enough, he always picked Democrat-controlled cities, as well as the playground of the leftist rich. But he’s involved with lawsuits for that very reason. Besides, Bradlee Dean has already suggested he would have done better to deport those aliens directly. His law-enforcement personnel might have faced prosecution – but the Supreme Court would have gotten an Article I Section 10 Clause 3 case to decide. And even had the decision gone against him, people would see his act as an unmistakable act of great daring.
In short, Ron DeSantis had detractors on that Space, detractors who felt he told conservatives what they wanted to hear. Those detractors also charged that most of the questions came from members of DeSantis’ campaign team. So he got not only softball questions, but scripted questions – scripted for his benefit. The contrast between his experience and that of Trump on CNN couldn’t have been more stark. Trump, furthermore, turned that experience into a triumph. (Furthermore, no one asked the governor about an even larger issue: Ukraine.)
True enough, no one said the Twitter Space experience would be a debate. At best, it was another Town Hall. But those who came to it expecting hard-hitting questions, didn’t get them.
But the Twitter team learned a lesson about running a Space at scale. David Sacks, the moderator, thanked Twitter for scaling up as rapidly as he said they did.
Musk then extended a general invitation to all other candidates:
The recording of the Space is already available.
But this is merely the three-way discussion Space, not the hosted Space with many more speakers and listeners.
Donald Trump, for his part, took notice of the technical difficulties – and one can imagine what he said.
The linked article on Breitbart carried two pointed tweets:
One can readily infer that Trump does not plan to take an active role on Twitter any time soon.
Laura Loomer, for her part, called the event a disaster.
The governor will never admit to a disaster. But again, this was not the best experience to demonstrate what talents he has. Softball questions, coming from his own campaign staff, do not demonstrate talent in crisis management.
Donald Trump had a much larger challenge, and handled it much better. No one is charging him with arranging for scripted softball questions. This could also explain why Trump remains at the top of the heap – and will likely stay there.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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