52 Reasons the DeSantis Campaign Flopped
Documenting in real-time the extraordinary political rise and fall of Ron DeSantis.
In the past four years, Ron DeSantis had an extraordinary political rise and fall. He went from being an obscure governor to being the leading voice in the conservative movement to then being seen widely as a top contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. That was, of course, until he declared he was running. His presidential campaign was perhaps one of the most stunning failures in American political history. It was a combination of circumstance and poor decision-making that led to his inevitable dropping out, but here are just a few of the reasons his presidential run failed:
Donald Trump was a far stronger candidate than it appeared he would be after the 2022 midterms.
The Trump indictments gave the former president insurmountable boosts in the polls.
Ron DeSantis was socially awkward and failed to connect with voters on a personal level.
His momentum came too early. If the primaries were held at the end of 2022, he would have walked away with the nomination.
His main pitch was that he was the only candidate who could defeat Trump. When Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy started rising in the polls, it became clear that his entire campaign was built on a false premise.
Nikki Haley better appealed to voters who were looking for a candidate more like Ronald Reagan.
Vivek Ramaswamy better appealed to voters who were looking for a candidate more radical than Trump.
Donors started pulling out when the momentum slowed, and when Haley started rising in the polls, donors that DeSantis was relying on shifted to her.
He never had an outstanding performance during any of the primary debates.
Trump's refusal to participate in the debates was a gamble that paid off. When the far-and-away frontrunner isn’t on the stage, there is a lack of urgency.
Very few people watched any of the debates.
Both Florida Senators and most Florida GOP Representatives endorsed Donald Trump.
DeSantis had few major endorsements across the board. His biggest endorsement, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, came too late and changed nothing.
Many of the people who did endorse Ron DeSantis– particularly Thomas Massie– were controversial.
DeSantis waited too long to announce that he was running for president.
The shoddy campaign launch on Twitter Space was an incredible embarrassment.
The campaign focused too much on Iowa, so after a crushing defeat, there truly was no way to recover.
The campaign hired too many New Right voices and paid dearly when it turned out that they didn’t actually “know what time it was.” By the time the DeSantis “meme squad” put out a video with Nazi imagery, it was too late to recover.
The Americans for Prosperity endorsement of Nikki Haley blindsided everyone.
DeSantis never articulated an opinion on Ukraine, isolating voters on both sides of the issue.
He tried running only on his record in Florida but failed to outline a coherent vision for the future of the country.
The campaign put too much faith into the Never Back Down PAC.
Both the PAC and the campaign blew through too much money way too quickly.
Too many staffers were hired too early in the primary cycle, so when they were eventually laid off, it created bad press and signaled that the campaign was under poor management.
The campaign underwent various resets, but nothing changed.
Trump attacked DeSantis from the left on key issues, and it worked.
Ron DeSantis’s footwear became a meme that entered mainstream internet culture.
Chris Sununu’s endorsement of Nikki Haley solidified the fact that DeSantis had no shot in New Hampshire.
Voters did not want to hear about COVID anymore, which the DeSantis campaign was hoping would be a major talking point.
DeSantis did an exceptional job in his debate with Gavin Newsom, but that did little to move the needle.
The DeSantis campaign was hoping for a two-man race that never materialized.
Trump likely has more than 50% of Republican voters on his side.
Even if DeSantis had assembled a sizable minority, getting over the 50% threshold was almost impossible.
Ron DeSantis criticized Trump too little, too late.
Even if he criticized Trump, it could have backfired on him.
The campaign was hyper-online and failed to connect to real voters.
DeSantis briefly embraced Robert F. Kennedy Jr., even saying that he would consider RFK to run the CDC.
DeSantis leaned too heavily on populist rhetoric and isolated the college-educated suburban voters who were supporting him in the beginning.
Ron DeSantis was perceived as being too far to the right.
He was seen as a flip-flopper because he failed to take a stand on key issues.
DeSantis avoided the mainstream press until it was too late.
He relied too heavily on the conservative press, but when Trump and Haley started gaining momentum, they turned on him.
Ron DeSantis’s facial expressions made him look extremely uncomfortable.
Nikki Haley understood that her lane in the primary was to embrace the pre-Trump GOP, and she did not concern herself with the balancing act that DeSantis was trying to perform.
Ron DeSantis never had a clear path to take. Should he embrace Trumpism, or should he embrace old-school conservatism?
The conservative movement is changing, and DeSantis tried to navigate a political landscape that no one truly understands yet.
One of the key arguments in favor of Ron DeSantis’s candidacy was that he would be able to win in 2024, while Donald Trump would certainly lose. However, when polls started to show DeSantis losing and Trump winning, this argument was undermined.
The campaign focused too much on culture war issues.
grifters“influencers” turned on DeSantis after he launched his presidential campaign and returned to worshipping at the altar of Donald Trump.
Ron DeSantis fundamentally failed to explain why he was running for president.
In 2024, the GOP is still the party of Trump.
Nikki Haley was simply a better Trump alternative than Ron DeSantis.
Thanks for reading The Freemen News-Letter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.