The video that Ron DeSantis used to announce his campaign for president in May of last year gave the impression that he was full of self-assurance.
“the Great American Comeback” was the pledge he made to his fans as he marched across a stage that was decorated with flags from beginning to end.
After seven months, the individual who some people referred to as “Trump 2.0” and “Trump without the baggage” has decided to withdraw his candidacy for the presidency. It was with the acknowledgment that there is no “clear path to victory” against the dominating frontrunner for the Republican nomination that he announced his decision to leave political office.
Where did things go wrong for the governor of Florida, who was regarded a political rock star not so long ago for his fight against “woke ideology” and his impressive track record in office?
It was not only the campaign that the candidate ran that was problematic; there were also issues with the candidate himself, such as a perceived lack of charisma and his awkwardness with voters. On the other hand, the man he was competing against, Donald Trump, was nothing more than the underlying cause of his failure.
It was impossible for him to compete against a figure who had such unwavering devotion from his fans, according to Matthew Bartlett, a Republican strategist based in New Hampshire.
“He [Trump] has been their political identity, and maybe even personal identity, for the better part of a decade,” according to Mr Bartlett.
When looking back on the campaign, many are of the opinion that it was an election cycle that was nearly impossible for a candidate who was relatively fresh to the national arena. When Mr. DeSantis ran for office, he was essentially competing against an incumbent who had considerable name recognition, an unlimited amount of money, and a dedicated base of voters.
It did not feel exactly like that a year ago, when the campaign for the White House was already in full swing and the marathon was well beginning.
At the beginning of the year 2023, Mr. DeSantis posed a very real threat to Donald Trump. At the time, Mr. DeSantis was at approximately 35% in the polls, which put him within striking distance of his opponent. At that time, the former president was the only one to proclaim that he would be running for office.
He also had momentum after he won a record-breaking re-election to the position of governor of Florida in November of the previous year. On the other hand, many people pointed the finger of blame at Mr. Trump for the ineffectiveness of the Republicans in the midterm elections.
The DeSantis campaign, on the other hand, reached its pinnacle of success with that particular victory.
In May, when the governor made his official announcement that he would be running for president in an interview with Elon Musk, who was struggling with a variety of technological challenges, his poll ratings had dropped closer to twenty percent. Mr. Trump’s popularity has returned to levels higher than fifty percent.
According to strategists, the choice to postpone the official debut resulted in the loss of valuable months. With the support of the national media that surrounded his various legal difficulties, it provided Mr. Trump with the opportunity to re-establish his image as a political outsider. This is the most essential aspect of the situation.
“[The DeSantis campaign] started pretty late, [and] obviously raised a ton of money,” David Kochel, a long-time Iowa Republican strategist, said in an interview with the BBC. But at that time, Trump was already coming after him with all his might. To my knowledge, they did not have responses that were successful. I believe that it took them some time to become engaged.
Despite the fact that Mr. DeSantis may have privately wished for the former president’s legal issues to catch up with him, he never chastised Mr. Trump for them. Instead, he frequently echoed his rival’s allegations that he was being unfairly persecuted.
According to Timothy Hagle, a professor of political science at the University of Iowa, that “it seems like every time [Mr. Trump] was indicted, his poll numbers went up,” “And to some extent, that’s not surprising, because it’s kind of a ‘rally around the chief effect’.”
In the beginning, DeSantis employed a tactic that involved attempting to avoid offending Mr. Trump. However, the former president did not demonstrate any such restraint, and he frequently resorted to nicknames such as “Meatball Ron” and “Ron DE Sanctimonious.”