The Atlantic published an article criticizing Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor who cruised to reelection by almost 20 percentage points and is widely expected to challenge former president Donald Trump for the Republican nomination in 2024.
What did it say?
The headline reads: “Just Wait Until You Get to Know Ron DeSantis.” Staff writer Mark Leibovich reports that “people who have met” the governor or “have watched him longer” than others are skeptical of his ability to succeed on a national stage.
Who are these people?
• A former two-term GOP congresswoman from the Washington, D.C., suburbs who said DeSantis was “standoffish in general.”
• Rick Wilson, the former Republican strategist and Lincoln Project co-founder who spends his days boasting about sleeping with other people’s wives on Twitter. He has a clear financial interest in helping Donald Trump win the GOP nomination. He is incorrectly identified as a “Republican media consultant.” That’s like describing Edward Snowden as an NSA employee.
• Mac Stipanovich, a “Tallahassee lobbyist who set sail from the GOP over his revulsion for Trump and his knockoffs.” He registered as a Democrat in 2019 and expressed support for Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg in the presidential primary.
• Carlos Curbelo, a former two-term GOP congressman from Florida, who said DeSantis would face “some challenges” in the 2024 primary, such as finding a way to “humanize himself” in front of a national audience. “Everything else checks the box. He is smart and competent and committed to his ideology.”
I know. He called it a “great piece.”
What’s the bottom line?
DeSantis may or may not have what it takes to defeat Donald Trump. To win on the national stage, he will need to overcome an army of antagonists who don’t even like Trump but are professionally and emotionally invested in Trump’s success. This includes every mainstream media outlet whose ratings and profits tanked after Joe Biden was sworn in as president, as well as every Democratic politician and consultant who wants to run against Trump in 2024. Grifters like Rick Wilson, too.
Trump is an existential threat to democracy, they argue, but he must prevail. DeSantis could stop that from happening, so he must be destroyed.