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Ron DeSantis to open presidential bid by out-Trumping Trump

DeSantis to open presidential bid by out-Trumping Trump

DeSantis to open presidential bid by out-Trumping Trump

A characteristically direct statement about his candidacy, the chaotic populism of the contemporary Republican Party, and an increasing conservative media revolution will be made by Ron DeSantis' choice to declare his 2024 White House run during a chat with Elon Musk on Twitter on Wednesday.

The governor of Florida will finally enter the contest by challenging former President Donald Trump and portraying him as the genuine anti-establishment rebel who is prepared to overthrow conventional presidential politics.

The GOP under Trump has evolved into a party that celebrates gesture politics, and its activists react to the unmoderated social media jungle while disdaining conventional rules of conduct and administration. His choice of venue on Twitter Spaces, the site's audio platform, is a prime example of this.

DeSantis may be shrewdly using Twitter in the GOP primary because of Musk's 141 million followers, but by using an increasingly divisive platform, he risks furthering his already dubious reputation with more moderate voters who he would need in the general election.

That's because Twitter's new owner has turned it into a feverish carnival of unbridled free speech, conspiracy theories, and unverifiable material. Twitter formerly provided a forum for democratic movements during the Arab Spring. An artificial intelligence-generated fabrication about an explosion near the Pentagon that circulated only this week caused a hiccup on the stock market, which may have been a glimpse of the next presidential campaign's propensity for misleading information. Musk's growing prominence means that the 2024 presidential election might be just as tumultuous as the 2016 and 2020 contests, which were defined by Trump's inflammatory language and claims of voting fraud. Musk has, however, demonstrated a readiness to start his own Twitter firestorm.

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The former president's virtual court appearance on Tuesday in a case involving a hush money payment to a former adult film star, in which he has already entered a not guilty plea, added yet another perplexing twist to election season. The trial was scheduled for March 25, 2024, right in the heart of primary season by Judge Juan Merchan. The timeline makes it more likely that Trump will use the trial to bolster his allegation that he is a target of political persecution. But it also puts Trump at risk of being found guilty of a crime while still running for the Republican nomination, which would be an exceptional and unheard-of occurrence.

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DeSantis seeks momentum boost

DeSantis appears to be aiming for a dramatic moment by using Twitter to make his own splash, which might revive GOP primary hopes that were on the rise six months ago but were derailed by his own gaffes and Trump's recent electoral comeback.

DeSantis is aligning himself with a hero of conservatives who have long complained about being muzzled on social media by endorsing Musk. Trump, who was barred from tweeting by the business's previous owners and has so far favored his own site, Truth Social, even after Musk reinstated his account, is the target of his jab. Trump deployed a barrage of stream-of-consciousness tweets to great advantage during his 2016 campaign and the entirety of his administration, even if they left his country anxious and worn out.

By demonstrating that he is willing to forgo standard protocols of presidential elections, DeSantis is taking a showy shot at conventional media, which is despised by many conservatives. Additionally, the kickoff of his campaign will stand in stark contrast to Trump's own lengthy and downright dull campaign address launching at Mar-a-Lago in November, which lacked any kind of political vitality.

The governor of Florida will also demonstrate how far the GOP has come from its beginnings as a party of tradition and how much the internet and the division of the media into political groups have altered presidential elections. Ronald Reagan, for example, declared his candidacy for president in 1979 while delivering a grandfatherly address from a comfortable study that resembled a country club. A farm in Iowa was where George W. Bush started his journey to the White House 20 years later. The internet is currently the most effective tool to contact GOP voters.

DeSantis is taking a page out of Trump's unusual playbook by breaking the traditional pattern of presidential announcements. One lesson from the raucous political career of the 45th president is that anything meant to enrage liberals and critics in the mainstream media is frequently extremely successful with primary GOP voters.

By focusing on what he calls "woke" policies on diversity, equality, and inclusion and embracing conservative stances on social issues, DeSantis is already moving to the right of Trump. He is now attempting to take Trump's image as the great disruptor.

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A shifting balance of conservative media power

The DeSantis announcement will also contribute to cementing a changing balance of power in the conservative media. He chose Twitter because he understands the significance of the social network to right-wing voters under Musk, which might hasten the transition away from Fox News as the most dynamic platform for the new conservative kingmakers. After being fired from Rupert Murdoch's primetime lineup after the company paid $787 million to settle a defamation suit related to its promotion of election lies and misinformation after the 2020 election, top-rated Fox News host Tucker Carlson announced he would relaunch his show on Twitter.

DeSantis is emphasizing his right-leaning claim that social media platforms have tried to repress conservative discourse with his presence. DeSantis attacked Facebook and Twitter, under their previous owners, in his autobiography "The Courage to be Free," claiming that they made "censorship decisions that always seem to err on the side of leftist orthodoxy, they distort the American political system because so much political speech now takes place on these supposedly open platforms."

Even yet, DeSantis is unlikely to abandon Fox, which has given him plenty of airtime; this may be a clue that the Murdoch family is becoming weary of the former president.

There are dangers associated with the DeSantis launch plan. The argument DeSantis has been making to Republican voters that he can provide a more stable and disciplined style of leadership than that displayed by Trump in his turbulent White House term is in danger of being undermined by the uncontrolled atmosphere of Twitter and his affiliation with Elon Musk.

DeSantis runs the risk of encouraging Trump's mocking criticism that the Florida governor is losing support on a daily basis if he refrains from making the type of major, staged political announcement in front of a sizable crowd. This is because polls have shown that DeSantis is losing ground to Trump, despite still leading rivals like South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

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The virtual announcement may also support Trump's assertions that his former protege, whom he now accuses of betraying him by running for president, has the political savvy necessary to fight on a less controlled platform. Prior to his online debut, a pro-Trump super PAC made fun of DeSantis, calling it "one of the most out-of-touch campaign launches in modern history."

The Trump-aligned super PAC MAGA Inc. stated in a statement on Tuesday that DeSantis' after party at the ultra-exclusive Four Seasons resort in Miami was the only thing less relatable than a niche campaign launch on Twitter.

However, those familiar with the DeSantis campaign strategy said the Florida governor will soon begin a furious blitz of campaign appearances in crucial swing states, meant to contrast his vigor with that of his more experienced competitors, President Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

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An vigorous campaign is being planned by Trump's staff and his friends to attempt to block the DeSantis launch on Wednesday. In an effort to damage the Florida governor's reputation among conservatives who objected to official government health recommendations, MAGA Inc. has previously criticized him for his early backing of the Covid-19 vaccine during the outbreak.

However, this is one another illustration of how confusing the Republican primary may get. After all, it was Trump who originally claimed exclusive ownership of the vaccine's development during his administration. DeSantis' attempts to save lives with it are now being condemned by his followers.

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