By Lisa Senecal
Remember the Great Red Wave of 2022? Florida Governor and Junior Varsity Fascist Ron DeSantis as the GOP’s nominee for President, is the 2024 version of the 2022 Red Wave. The Red Wave didn’t materialize, and neither will an even moderately successful DeSantis for President campaign. The idea that a DeSantis campaign has any viability represents the same combination of mental gymnastics, fan fiction, manipulated polling, “normal” Republican (including big donor) wishful thinking, and mainstream media desire for a contested primary battle to cover.
It is not going to happen.
DeSantis has a number of political vulnerabilities, most of which originate in his lack of moral character combined with unfettered ambition. Add to that a classic mistake, but on steroids, of surrounding himself with sycophants eager to bask in the glow of self-immolation mistaken for a rising star. Yes, DeSantis has been successful in Florida - a state with a staggeringly incompetent Democratic Party apparatus, but the idea that winning in Florida means he’s ready for a national stage is laughable. It’s even more absurd, considering he’s sharing that stage with the captain of the Varsity Fascist team. Donald Trump has a lifetime of practice in the national spotlight and is entirely comfortable in his orange skin, lying with the regularity and confidence of exactly what he is: a conman.
The problem with being a politician driven by ambition rather than a deeply held set of beliefs is that you are forever attempting to determine the wind’s direction. At least, that is true of most politicians with no guiding principles. Donald Trump is the exception that proves the rule, though I suppose you could argue that his guiding principle is to do whatever is best for Donald Trump; All reprehensible, self-servicing, democracy-destroying, violence-stoking conduct seeps from that rotten core. Trump is a feral beast. He is driven by instinct and the ability to smell weakness, fear, and vulnerability and use it to his advantage, whether that is against an opponent or in manipulating his supporters.
DeSantis is a different kind of political animal. He’s more of a coddled house pet that has never needed to fend for nor defend itself. Dropped into the wild of a presidential run, he sniffs the wind, becomes confused by conflicting gusts and scents, and either becomes paralyzed with fear or runs directly into danger. We saw this in his brief embrace of Putin over Ukraine, followed by backpedaling and returning to a squishy condemnation of Russia’s genocide when he realized the donors putting kibble in his dish were displeased and threatened to withhold treats.
If you’re on a verge of announcing a run for President of the United States and don’t have a firm position on the illegal invasion of a peaceful European country and the slaughter of innocent civilians, then, at the very least, you need to fire everyone around you because that is an unforced error of epic proportion. Trump has shown that in today’s Republican Party, you can even be for the slaughter of innocent civilians, but you need to be all-in. DeSantis exposing his hollow core on an issue with no gray area left him open to ridicule from every side, which is exactly what he sought to avoid.
If you’re that candidate, and you follow that unforced error by bungling an interview with Piers Morgan - PIERS MORGAN?! - then stop and ask yourself, “What in the hell am I doing running for president?” If you can’t handle Piers Morgan asking you, “Where were you on 9/11?” and give a straight answer - or even a remote normal human answer, then fire anyone you missed in the first round, and then, please, fire yourself. Just come to terms quickly with the fact that your yet-to-be-launched campaign has already peaked, and the peak was at the level of sidewalk cast-off chewing gum that’s adhered itself to the bottom of a shoe.
It’s not that I want to spare Ron DeSantis any public humiliation or suffering. He has earned all ridicule that might come his way and works every day to deserve more as he follows in the Fascist footsteps of Trump, weaponizing fear and hate and pointing it at the most vulnerable in society for political gain. But, for the sake of the country, it’s better that we all face reality sooner than later - especially those Republicans still holding out hope that some alternative to Trump is coming to rescue them. Someone not named Trump as the nominee is not how the 2024 GOP Presidential Primary ends. It ends with Trump standing before his furious faithful, promising a second term as president built on the policy platform of retribution.
That’s who America will need to defeat if we are to have a chance of remaining a democracy, so we might as well get on with it. We do not have a moment to waste.