‘Go straight to the right’: Lis Smith says progressives should use conservative media to stop Ron DeSantis

DeSantis 3
‘Today, if you really want something to take root, and especially among Republican voters, I would go straight to the right.’

Democratic campaign veteran Lis Smith has some advice for progressives seeking to upend a 2024 run at the presidency by Gov. Ron DeSantis: Attack him from the right, not the left.

Smith, whose bona fides include work on the campaigns of Barack Obama, Andrew Cuomo, Jon Corzine and Pete Buttigieg, appeared Wednesday on the Vanity Fair podcast, Inside the Hive, to promote her new memoir, “Any Given Tuesday: A Political Love Story.”

In the book, Smith detailed how during Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, she was asked to “get as many negative stories about Mitt Romney published as possible.” Asked how she would go about that task against DeSantis, Smith said she’d largely forgo mainstream outlets in favor of conservative ones.

“So, if I’m on a Democratic campaign and we’re concerned about him coming out of a Primary, the good news is this: There’s a very, very vibrant right-wing news ecosystem. And so, what I would try to do is try to launder stories through there — Breitbart, Fox, Newsmax, Daily Wire, Daily Caller, Free Beacon, those sorts of sites,” she said.

“Because I think what we’ve seen increasingly is that those types of sites are less likely to pick up from mainstream media. If you get a negative story about (DeSantis) in The Washington Post or New York Times, maybe 10 or 15 years ago that might have been seen as the ultimate coup. But today, if you really want something to take root, and especially among Republican Primary voters, I would go straight to the right.

“I’m sure there are things from (DeSantis’) time as Governor that would put him at odds with the Republican base.”

Smith, who is now working on the campaign of Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow, also offered advice for Democrats this year. Rather than allow the midterms to be framed as a referendum on Democrats, she said, Democrats should target antiabortion Republicans and members of the GOP who supported and echoed Trump’s denial of the 2020 election results.

“That’s terrain we can win on,” she said. “That’s a switch we need to flip. We need to flip that switch pretty soon, and we have the opportunity to now.”

While DeSantis has been coy about a 2024 run at the White House, recent polls have him neck-and-neck or leading former President Donald Trump in a potential matchup. He’d also fare well against President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, according to a new poll.

DeSantis, whose re-election effort this year has an enormous funding edge over front-running Democratic candidates Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried, has brushed aside media speculation over his presidential aspirations as “ridiculous.”

“What is this obsession with ’24? Like, we don’t even have the ’22 election,” he said during a stop last month in Fort Lauderdale. “I think it’s because the media knows that the Democrats are going to get hammered in 2022. They don’t want to talk about it.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • HRH Count Desheckles

    July 21, 2022 at 1:34 pm

    “And so, what I would try to do is try to launder stories through there. . . ”
    “I think it’s because the media knows that the Democrats are going to get hammered in 2022. They don’t want to talk about it.”
    What more damning quotes do you on the left (AP, Gannett, Phoenix, FLAPOL) need before you just admit you are no longer journalists, you’re just a bunch of flacks pursuing an agenda laid out for you by the Democratic Party and the American Central Government? Just admit it–and start charging them more money. You shouldn’t sell out your principles for anything less than top dollar.

    • Joe Corsin

      July 23, 2022 at 10:49 pm

      ^ Forced birth meth baby…

  • Tom

    July 21, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    LMAO! Ok let’s see, why would conservative leaning media want to be apart of a saboteurs effort. Hmm? I’m thinking, not. Really Stupid

    • Cat

      July 22, 2022 at 9:11 pm

      Right or left…doesn’t matter. Both want clicks which drive revenue now. So, the right news comes out, they will print/post it. Of course, that means that our governor will then go after them in whatever way he can. Now THAT might give them pause. But hey, the Free Press ain’t Free anymore ever since they argued they had 1st Amendment rights and we lost the Fairness Doctrine. News was news and opinion had to give both sides back in the day. So…in a nutshell…if the press can make a dime…they will drop a dime on anyone.

  • Joe Corsin

    July 21, 2022 at 2:03 pm

    Vote RED for lunatic billionaires grifting stupid people to a husk
    Vote RED for religious police, religious law, and far right police state
    Vote RED for domestic terrorist militias intimidating the population mad max style
    Vote RED for low wage slavery

    • Brendan

      July 21, 2022 at 10:01 pm

      So true…. Republicans always claim “smaller government…” And yet they want to control women’s bodies…l that’s why my whole family left the republican party years ago… couldn’t take the hypocrisy…

      • O. Fended

        July 22, 2022 at 2:56 pm

        No, they don’t want to control women’s bodies, they want babies to live. See if you can say these words: “helpless babies get to live–after all.” What is there about live babies that so offends you?

        • Joe Corsin

          July 22, 2022 at 10:45 pm

          Vote RED for forced birth of meth babies and crack babies…

        • marylou

          July 23, 2022 at 2:03 pm

          Zygotes, embryos, fetuses are not babies. That’s a religious concept that immoral people are imposing on women whose own religious beliefs are that a woman’s right to her own life and body make it entirely her decision whether she becomes, or remains, pregnant.

          People who want to control women by using terms like “life” should do something useful and, instead, write to Biden, Scott, and Rubio to demand the government establish a nationwide program of automatic, mandatory blood and marrow donation, kidney donation, and mandatory deceased organ donation. Mandatory DNA matching would help match donors and recipients prior to emergencies.

          • Merry Loser

            July 24, 2022 at 11:25 am

            “Zygotes, embryos, fetuses are not babies. That’s a religious concept. . .”
            That’s the kind of thinking that led the ancients to burn their children on altars in front of golden calves.

          • marylou

            July 24, 2022 at 6:00 pm

            Merry Loser, No, a child is a person. But that is a good example of another immoral cult imposing its religion on someone else.

            Regarding children, let’s have your god speak for himself: Hosea 13:16 …she has rebelled against her God….Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open. .

            Is this where it’s all headed?

      • Jerry

        July 23, 2022 at 11:32 pm

        So women have bodily autonomy, but the government has the right to force vaccines?
        The Democratic party can no longer say “my body, my choice.” With this pandemic, you are made it very clear that we don’t have rights over our own bodies and that the government can make medical decisions for us.

        • Joe Corsin

          July 24, 2022 at 7:36 pm

          ^ Bioterrorist.. supports destruction of human race over responsible government.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704