Ron “Don’t Say Gay” DeSantis can’t beat anybody in the Republican presidential race.
But members of his team can sure beat up on each other!
DeSantis’ campaign is in dire straits, with new polling out of New Hampshire showing the flailing Florida governor in fifth place(!) with just 7% of the vote.
For months, DeSantis was perceived as the clear alternative to Trump, even as his campaign faltered. The gay-hating governor was armed with high name recognition and a $100 million war chest. Even though DeSantis failed to gain traction at every turn, he still seemed like the best bet to last.
But now, that honor belongs to Haley, who’s gained momentum after multiple strong debate performances. The former United Nations Ambassador is also a favorite of Republican mega-donors, thanks to her neoconservative views (girl has never seen a war she didn’t like).
With that in mind, DeSantis’ supporters are now focused on bringing down Haley. The problem is, they can’t figure out their strategy.
For months, there’s been simmering tension between DeSantis’ campaign and his Super PAC, Don’t Back Down. That came to a head last week, when members of the two sides almost came to blows.
NBC News reports Jeff Roe, the head of Don’t Back Down, almost got involved in a physical altercation with a longtime DeSantis confidante, Scott Wagner, over strategy for how to counter Haley’s surge.
“You have a stick up your a**, Scott,” Roe fumed.
“Why don’t you come over here and get it?,” responded Wagner.
Then Wagner rose from his chair, and was restrained by two other board members.
Fighting over “who is to blame for the governor’s failure to compete effectively with front-runner Donald Trump for the Republican nomination”.
It’s a complete mystery.
— Justin Gallivan (@JustinGallivan) November 21, 2023
According to NBC News, Ron and his wife, Casey, are unhappy with Never Back Down’s performance. After last week’s contentious meeting, three DeSantis allies have created their own Super PAC.
That’ll show them!
Casey’s alleged anger with Don’t Back Down jives with previous reporting about Roe’s antipathy for her outsized role in the campaign. To defend himself against those accusations, Roe pointed to a leaked debate memo, which advised DeSantis to mention his wife at the first debate.
You know things are bad when operatives are relying on leaked material to prove their point.
Never Back Down has spent heavily, pouring over $100 million into DeSantis’ pointless presidential run. But there have been no results. The candidate is turning off voters, and donors, at every turn.
DeSantis’ biggest backer, Las Vegas real estate tycoon Robert Bigelow, announced prior to the last debate he was ditching “Meatball Ron.”
At this point, DeSantis is going all-in on Iowa, deploying one-third of his remaining campaign staff to the Hawkeye State. He’s not receiving any return on his investment, however.
The latest Des Moines Register sampling of Iowa Republicans shows DeSantis trailing Trump 43%-16%.
Left without an explanation for his failings, DeSantis is now resorting to ripping the polls.
“Some of this stuff is so fraudulent when you look at it. They want Trump to be the candidate, for their reasons,” he said.
With his back against the wall, DeSantis’ supporters are falling back on what they know best: propagating hate!
In recent days, his mouthpieces have tried to attack Haley… for her Indian heritage.
Do these guys have any shame? (No!)
Just when you think our politics can’t get any more despicable, leave it to something out of Florida to say, “hold my beer.”
— Scott DeFelice (@P8triot37) November 22, 2023
The attack on Haley’s heritage is arguably DeSantis’ lowest moment since late June, when his backers commemorated the end of Pride Month with a horribly homophobic video. The ad, which featured weird homoerotic memes, even earned condemnation from the likes of George Santos and Richard Grenell.
Speaking of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, a Florida state Republican introduced a measure Tuesday that would bar workplaces from using the preferred pronouns of colleagues. It would also effectively ban LGBTQ+ non-profits in Florida, denying state funds for organizations whose employees undergo sexual orientation and gender sensitivity training.
The more DeSantis falters, it seems like marginalized communities suffer. Maybe it would be better if his supporters just duked it out.
At least they would be only be taking out their aggression on themselves.
Where’s Markwayne Mullin when you need him?