May 20, 2023


DeSantis' weakness as Trump slayer has GOP rivals smelling blood (CHARLIE MAHTESIAN, 05/19/2023, Politico)

No seasoned, successful politician runs for president without a theory of the case -- a detailed and plausible path to victory. And as more prospective candidates surface, it's becoming clearer what's at the heart of those plans: a growing belief within the party that DeSantis is a paper tiger.

At one time, the Florida governor looked to be the candidate best positioned to knock off Trump, en route to finishing off President Joe Biden. DeSantis was Trump without the baggage -- and 32 years younger.

He was coming off an epic 2022 reelection victory in the nation's third-largest state, marked by Florida's biggest winning margin in 40 years. Officials in both parties did a double take at his robust performance among all Latino groups.

With DeSantis, the GOP could get the same conservative policies as Trump, the same unyielding approach, the same judges, the same trolling of the libs. He was a party leader on Covid. The suburbs would be back in play. So would the five states Biden flipped from Trump in 2020.

But DeSantis' Disney jihad and his Ukraine-is-a-territorial-dispute stumble have undermined his aura of competence among donors and the business community. Trump's relentless attacks -- none of them answered -- and his drum beat of abuse have left the two-term governor bruised. Far from projecting strength, DeSantis suddenly appears to be a candidate who's thrived in a protective cocoon, isolated from media scrutiny, and surrounded by a compliant legislature afraid to test him.

Posted by at May 20, 2023 12:00 AM