Ron DeSantis campaign crashes on the runway during takeoff

If you are a Democrat politician, the path is relatively easy.  The mainstream media function as your P.R. agency and build you up.  Billionaires donate to far-left "activists" to alter sacrosanct voting rules and engage in various electoral malpractice.  This enables even dummy candidates such as Joe Biden and John Fetterman to get elected.

As former governor of New York Mario Cuomo famously said: "You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose."  Republicans have to excel in the poetry of campaigning to get to the prose of governance.  The candidate has to be a showman in addition to being an achiever.

One key to the success of a campaign is to launch at the right time, when the enthusiasm is building.  The enthusiasm is like a wave that can catapult the candidate to becoming a primary contender. 

After that, it is up to the contender to say the right thing and highlight his favorable record to impress voters.

Now we look at Florida governor Ron DeSantis.  Even his harshest Republican critics will concede that he has done well as governor of Florida.  This enabled him a comfortable re-election.

But a state election is drastically different from a presidential election.

So how did Ron DeSantis do with his presidential campaign launch?

Unlike candidates such as Nikki Haley and Tim Scott, DeSantis has a real chance of securing the nomination due to his record.  But alas for him, he erred rather gravely on several fronts.

Clint Eastwood famously said in one of the Dirty Harry pictures that "a man's got to know his limitations."

DeSantis is simply doesn't have the charisma or the showmanship, and above all the appeal, of President Trump.  DeSantis is neither a charismatic presence nor a master persuader like Trump.

Unlike Trump, DeSantis probably cannot fill stadiums and regale audiences with his stories of his life and his accomplishments.

There is also no way any such a candidate can stand against President Trump and survive his blistering attacks.

It was perfectly obvious that Trump was going to run for 2024.  Trump-supporters know he was cheated in 2020 and are going to stick with him in 2024.

Discretion is a better part of valor.  When an optional war cannot be won, it is wiser to evade the conflict.

As Bill Maher observed, nobody wants a tribute band when the actual band is still playing.

DeSantis should have declared in advance, in mid-2022, that he intends to focus on making Florida a GOP bastion and that he will not run for president in 2024.  This would have prevented the attacks from Trump.

DeSantis should have stood with Trump, a fellow Floridian, when the FBI raided his home and when he was indicted.

DeSantis is a young man who doesn't need to unnecessarily hurry.  If he had waited, the path would be easier.

Trump wins in 2024, and DeSantis earns his endorsement, which would mean the MAGA-supporters would vote for him, and maybe he would win it in 2028. 

His record would be clean: no primary loss.

But instead, DeSantis did everything that a presidential candidate does without making it official.  He even traveled to Israel.  He claimed that it was a book tour, which obviously nobody believed.  He had the state Legislature amend the law in Florida to enable a presidential run while remaining governor, but again, he kept waiting.

Before that, when Trump's Florida home was raided, he issued a perfunctory statement but no explicit support.  When Trump was baselessly indicted, he was silent.  When asked about it during a presser, the support was again perfunctory, and he went out of his way to mention hush payments to a porn star.  It was a sly attack on Trump.

He had no response to Trump's attacks, which made him appear weak.

He knows he has to play it delicately; he probably fears that a frontal attack on Trump would make him unappealing to MAGA voters.  This is again a sign of weakness; Trump didn't hesitate to take on DeSantis despite claims that the Florida governor is hugely popular.

People expect courage from their leaders, but DeSantis appeared to dither.

The cumulative effect of these missteps is that he lagged in the polls.  When asked about his low polls, DeSantis awkwardly pulled a funny face and said he hadn't declared yet.

YouTube screen grab.

Now for the actual launch.

They say you don't get a second chance to make a first impression.  This is why the launch, especially for someone such as DeSantis, was crucial.  So how did that go?

For some inexplicable reason, DeSantis choose to declare his candidacy in a Twitter space, which is audio only.  It would seem obvious that we are living in an era where the visuals matter as much as or perhaps more than the audio.  So it was foolish of DeSantis to choose an audio-only platform.  This is the equivalent of declaring a candidacy on the radio.

What about the platform itself?

Despite Elon Musk's takeover, MAGA voters whose votes matter most in a primary look at Twitter with suspicion.  There have been instances of suppression and removal of accounts in the Musk era as well.

Many Trump-supporters were deplatformed before Musk took over and chose to remain away as a protest.  President Trump himself has chosen to stay away despite his account being reinstated.  Trump is posting on other platforms such as his own Truth Social, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

Twitter is still seen as a tool of the establishment despite Musk's efforts to appear fair.

It must also be remembered that the penetration of Twitter happens to be around just 23 percent of the U.S. population.  Even if Musk promised DeSantis favorable coverage on Twitter, it won't amount to much; liberals despise him anyway.  Yet DeSantis chose Twitter.

Now for the channel used within the platform.

The last thing a candidate needs during a campaign launch is the medium to community being unstable or unpredictable.  Twitter Spaces has recently received a boost from Twitter, but it is still relatively new and hence unpredictable. 

But the unexpected is exactly what happened during DeSantis's launch.  As Breitbart reported: 

"The Twitter Spaces call, scheduled to launch at 6 p.m. Eastern, began several minutes late as one unidentified voice whispered that it was "quiet." 

David Sacks, the entrepreneur hosting the event, began to introduce Elon Musk and asserted that this was "historic" before the audio cut out. 

From then on, the audio continued to cut in [and] out several times, with continued echoing and seemingly random voices — not the voice of the governor, whom the conversation was all about.

"I'd like to just introduce the folks in the room here. So it's safe to say we wouldn't be making history without the man sitting next to me, Elon Musk ... his decision to purchase this platform last year," Sacks said, praising Musk before audio issues began to take over.

They continued to come up with reasons for the audio issues, asserting that they were "melting the serve[r]s," which they viewed as a "good sign." Eventually, the entire audio ended, leaving many listeners confuse[d] in a state of silence."

DeSantis's supporters attempted to spin it, claiming that DeSantis "is so popular he broke Twitter."

In the audible portions, DeSantis attacked Trump and attempted to paint him as a failure but didn't utter his name.  DeSantis also talked about his record.

DeSantis should have declared he is running in a traditional fashion in an arena that appears packed with supporters and with his wife by his side.  He should have prepared a succinct but powerful speech that highlighted his accomplishments and his plans for the future.  At the risk of stating the obvious, it should have been audio and video that can be carried by every available channel, from terrestrial to the internet.

This would ensure that his core message was clear and could be repeated across channels, too.

The Twitter Spaces interaction could have been his first interview when he could elaborate on his message.  But he chose an unstable platform, and most of his message was lost.   There is no way to disguise this unmitigated disaster.

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