The Top 10 catastrophic failures of the Ron DeSantis campaign

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From start to finish, DeSantis made all the wrong moves.

When it comes to picking the Top 10 fuckups of the Ron DeSantis presidential campaign — one that POLITICO called “the worst campaign in history” — there’s such an embarrassment of riches that it’s difficult to narrow the field.

In the benighted 242 days of the clown car parade that passed as his campaign, I figure that there were, on average, at least two significant failures every day, which gives me almost 500 shit-the-bed moments from which I can choose. Nevertheless, here goes:

Before the beginning: The first rule of everything is to wisely choose your beginnings. You can forgive Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio for underestimating Donald Trump as a Primary opponent because nobody had ever run against Trump. But, can you forgive DeSantis and his coterie of yes-people the arrogance it must have required to assume they could easily topple the Mad Orange King? Why would MAGA cultists buy tickets for the lame tribute band when they can still go see the original Stones?

Also before the beginning: One of the grandest errors occurred years before the official presidential campaign kickoff. In a classic internecine territorial doowop following DeSantis’ first successful gubernatorial campaign, someone high up in DeSantisyland (the rumor is that it was Casey) decided to jettison the winning architect of the campaign, Susie Wiles. In a Shakespearean twist that we can all relish, Susie ended up running Trump’s current campaign, and she is doing it masterfully. Imagine if Ron still had Susie on his side rather than on the other side of No Man’s Land lobbing mortar rounds with deadly precision into his shell-shocked group of raw conscripts.

The beginning: Who decided that an X née Twitter rollout made any fucking sense? Setting aside the laugh-out-loud glitchiness of the effort, how does bullshitting with two billionaire tech bros on what sounded like the world’s most boring podcast stack up against going back to your Little League baseball stadium in Dunedin and talking about your humble origins before a crowd of thousands of roaring fans? The one day in the campaign where you control the message is the rollout, and they completely blew it.

Alienating the big money guys: Since when do Republicans threaten the fundamental principles of free-market capitalism more than the Democrats? Since DeSantis, that’s when. I’m still gobsmacked that he decided it would be smart to punish one of the most loved global brands, Disney, which also happens to be one of the top employers in Florida. Their crime? Questioning the merits of a piece of legislation championed by DeSantis. This sends a signal to every for-profit company in America that on Ron’s watch, Florida operates like a Third-World fascist regime that is willing to use the frightening power of the state to silence any critic. Add to this his singular focus on culture war issues on the stump and you have a candidate broadcasting the skeeviest vibe possible to a corporate America that admires stability and maturity.

Running a campaign with rookies: A presidential campaign is usually staffed by people who have actually had experience running a presidential campaign. A strange thought, I know. A presidential campaign is an immensely complex undertaking, as it requires talent that can run an organization unlike any other; essentially a pop-up army that has been field-tested and can juggle the enormous complexity and demands of a nationwide, intense battle. DeSantis had none of this. At the top, by the third or so iteration of his staffing model, he was surrounded by a small circle of sycophants who were better at assuaging his ego than speaking truth to power. It was as if NASA decided to use the high school rocketry club to handle the next major launch to the International Space Station. And, just as predictably, it explains why the rocket exploded on the pad.

Christina Pushaw: What can you say about a communications point person who elevated intensely personal attacks and hate speech to an art form in a national campaign, albeit a sickeningly warped one? If you’re DeSantis, you don’t say much. You just allow her to be a toxic human geyser spewing the least professional, most corrosive (and sometimes blatantly antisemitic) messaging ever disseminated by a presidential campaign. She managed to alienate the big money guys, the mainstream media and the talking heads (like me, whom she branded a pedophile) while pandering to a tiny sliver of misanthropes camped on the farthest shores of politics; the incels, White supremacists and crazy old guys who still worry about Sharia law. She may be awful, but the fact that she was allowed to be awful falls at the feet of one person: DeSantis.

Fighting the last war: There’s an old adage that to their detriment generals are always fighting the last war. Whatever tactics proved useful in the past conflict become doctrine, and doctrine is applied in the next war. DeSantis and his yes-people fell into this trap. At a time when the nation is focused on the economy and foreign threats, Ron wanted to talk about COVID-19 and Anthony Fauci (up to and including his farewell speech yesterday). The pandemic is over, Ron. Let it go.

PJs: What can I say? The DeSantises developed a taste for the imperial trappings of office, and even as the campaign peasants were scrounging for kernels of grain they continued to insist on private jets and white glove treatment. Perhaps the single most shocking statistic of the campaign was that it spent more on private jets than TV advertising. This speaks to an enormous sense of entitlement and an almost pathological detachment from reality.

Ron, the more we saw you the less we liked you: Although the campaign is now floating the false narrative that if only Ron had gotten earlier mainstream media exposure he would have somehow defeated Trump, the reality is that all the facts point in the opposite direction. DeSantis was most popular when he was least known at the national level, and every cringeworthy moment when he actually tried to bond with early-state Primary voters further pushed him down in the polls. Go ask that pudgy Icee-drinking kid whether getting to know DeSantis was the high point of his life. The nation saw a joyless, thin-skinned autocrat who loved nothing better than burning books and marginalizing minorities. They voted accordingly.

The end: If you’re going to suspend your candidacy, don’t paint yourself as a Winston Churchill using a quote that was falsely attributed to Churchill. Welcome back to the Free State of Florida, Ron. Now, please fix my home insurance.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


22 comments

  • JD

    January 22, 2024 at 6:02 pm

    “Welcome back to the Free State of Florida, Ron. Now, please fix my home insurance.”

    Excellent Mic drop…

    • Impeach Biden

      January 22, 2024 at 8:12 pm

      How is he going to fix it? I would certainly like to pay less myself but it’s those damn hurricanes and tons of fraud as well.

      • PeterH

        January 22, 2024 at 9:01 pm

        Dear Christina Pushaw …… the same way you’re expecting Joe Biden to lower your gasoline prices in a free market capitalist economy! LOL

        • Not Pushaw

          January 22, 2024 at 9:17 pm

          Weren’t you the person trying to give credit to Joe Biden that gas prices were below three dollars? Now go back to Jan 2021 before Biden began his attack on the petroleum industry and see what the fuel prices were Nikki / Rebekah. 😜

      • Joey

        January 22, 2024 at 10:12 pm

        Leaders dont make excuses. He is on bed with the insurance companies.

      • JD

        January 23, 2024 at 12:05 am

        Here is a list of things that the Governor’s office can work on from their office (if they were ever in their office).

        1.) Enforce Stricter Building Codes – DeSantis’ office has done some on this.

        Actions include funding for the My Safe Florida Home Program for hurricane retrofitting.

        2.) Support Reinsurance Market – DeSantis’ office has done has done some on this.

        Actions include $2 billion in reinsurance relief through the Reinsurance to Assist Policy (RAP) program.

        3.) Modify Insurance Regulations – DeSantis’ office has done done some on this.

        Actions include signing significant property insurance reform bills to stabilize the market, increase competition, and enhance consumer protections.

        4.) Optimize Citizens Property Insurance – DeSantis’ office can improve.

        No specific actions noted regarding reforms in the state-run Citizens Property Insurance.

        5.) Implement Fraud Reduction Measures – DeSantis’ office has done some on this.

        Actions include increased transparency and detailed explanation requirements for insurance claim denials.

        6.) Launch Consumer Education Campaigns – DeSantis’ office can improve.

        No specific actions noted regarding public education programs about insurance policies and risk mitigation.

        7.) Address Climate Change Impacts – DeSantis’ office has done some on this.

        Actions include investment in hurricane retrofitting and mitigation programs, especially in coastal areas.

        8.) Foster Public-Private Insurance Partnerships – DeSantis’ office can improve.

        No specific actions noted regarding the fostering of partnerships between the state and private insurers.

        9.) Reform Litigation Processes – DeSantis’ office has done some one this.

        Actions include elimination of one-way attorney fees for property insurance claims and reforms to limit the assignment of attorney’s fees in property insurance cases.

        10.) Strengthen the Hurricane Catastrophe Fund – DeSantis’ office can improve.

        No specific actions noted regarding the strengthening of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

        This summary highlights a mix of significant strides and potential areas for further action in addressing Florida’s homeowners’ insurance crisis.

        But in the end, it is a failing grade at 60% and as evident by consumer sentiment.

        There’s a list of 4 things and 6 other tha could be enhanced. Get to work Ronnie boy and his fanbuis.

    • JimB

      January 28, 2024 at 10:59 am

      AND fix my car insurance. I am retired and having to pay 50¢ a mile for coverage on an old car with no collision coverage!

  • Shoe Shine Boy

    January 22, 2024 at 6:09 pm

    The 5’11” presidential candidate has returned as the 5’7″ Governor.

    Those boots would fetch a king’s ransom on eBay.

  • Julia

    January 22, 2024 at 6:18 pm

    I ­­­­­­a­­m ­­­­ma­­k­­i­­ng 28­­5­­ Dollars e­­a­­ch­­ h­­o­­u­­r ­­­­f­­o­­r w­­o­­r­­ki­­n­­g­­ ­­­­on­­l­­i­­n­­e. ­­I n­­e­­v­­e­­r ­­­­t­­h­­o­­u­­g­­h­­t ­­­­t­­h­­a­­t ­­­­i­­t ­­­­w­­a­­s ­­­­l­­e­­g­­i­­t­­ b­­u­­t­­­­ ­­m­­y­­ ­­­­­­mb03 b­­e­­s­­t­­­­ ­­f­­r­­i­­e­­n­­d­­ ­­e­­a­­r­­n­­s ­­­­29,0­­0­­0 d­­o­­l­­l­­a­­r­­s ­­­­ev­­e­­r­­y ­­m­­o­­n­­t­­h ­­d­­­­o­­i­­n­­g t­­h­­i­­s ­­a­­n­­d­­ s­­h­­e nv50 ­­­­sh­­o­­w­­e­­d ­­m­­e­­ ­­h­­o­­w­.

    C­­h­­e­­c­­k­­ It………………………… careersrevenue09.blogspot.com

  • tom palmer

    January 22, 2024 at 6:27 pm

    The bad news is that we have to put up with this guy as governor for two more years

    • Impeach Biden

      January 22, 2024 at 8:10 pm

      You could always move.😜

    • Jim Bailey

      January 23, 2024 at 1:09 pm

      Even worse, it’s three.

  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    January 22, 2024 at 6:53 pm

    Good evening America,
    Great News:
    Earl Pitts American will Never Abandon You!!!!
    At least we can still look forward to not only Earl’s Sage Wisdom but also Earl’s Sage Comedy in these stresfull 200 or so days leading up to the election.
    Thank you America, I, Earl Pitts American, Promise not to abandon you in these troubled times ahead I will be your Political Guiding Light
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • CJ

      January 22, 2024 at 7:12 pm

      Thanks Earl, I was concerned you would be de funded with Desantis calling it quits. Its great you will be here with us through the turbulent times leading up to the election.
      America needs you more than ever Earl.
      Charlie

      • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

        January 22, 2024 at 7:21 pm

        Thanks Charlie,
        Lets all pause to relax our sphincters as we take notice of the “Top 10 Things”above and rejoice that nobody thinks that Ron’s Sage association with Me, Earl Pitts American was one of those Top 10 Things !!!!
        PROOF POSITIVE OF THE SAGE VALUE OF EARL.
        Thanks again Charlie,
        Earl Pitts American

  • Nebraska Granny's

    January 22, 2024 at 7:01 pm

    What an …nope, can’t say what I was thinking of saying as it would sound too much like your opinion piece.littered with colorful metaphors. Talk about DeSantis and staff doing the worst bad-mouthing of any campaign. I never heard it. But you all in the media have been foaming at the mouth to go after DeSantis because he dared go after your heir apparent, Trump. You want to be the kingmakers, not the people. Here it is 8 months before the General Election and you already have a king. F…ups? Toxic human geyser? White supremacists? You’re the ones with the potty mouths. Filthy people. (OOPS. I called you a name.). A lot of people feel like I do. 50% of the people in Iowa do. And remember, Mr Schorsch, pride goes before a fall. Look it up, the guy who wrote it don’t lie.😠🇺🇸🤠✝️

    • JD

      January 22, 2024 at 7:40 pm

      Whoa.

      Because a potty mouth is on the same par as adultery, rape, and stealing. Is that the 11th command? You know on the tablet contained commandments 11-15 that Moses dropped on the way down the mountain and didn’t tell anyone about? I guess Trump is doing the Lords work and Peter has a foul mouth.

      Nice try EarL

  • PeterH

    January 22, 2024 at 8:51 pm

    Number 11.
    Signing legislation to maintain the status quo concerning hateful monuments to the traitors of our great country!

  • Carlos

    January 22, 2024 at 9:57 pm

    Brutal yet fair.

  • Cheesy Floridian

    January 23, 2024 at 1:10 am

    Very well said. Thank you

  • vernon h Hehn

    January 23, 2024 at 10:07 am

    desantes should have not been allowed to abort his campaign. he should have been forced to run it full term.

  • George

    January 25, 2024 at 5:29 pm

    If Pushaw is going to get anywhere in the political world, which is doubtful, she’ll need to change her name…it’s toxic. That or get a desk job with the Proud Boys.

Comments are closed.


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