It certainly appears the long-awaited announcement by Ron DeSantis that he will challenge Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination is imminent. The Florida governor has dropped numerous hints that he would announce his decision following the conclusion of his state’s legislative session on May 5. And now, with that date having come and gone, evidence of the impending entrance into the race was hard to miss over the weekend. As millions of Americans were innocently watching the coronation of King Charles III, they were suddenly immersed in no-holds-barred presidential politics with dueling commercials for Trump and DeSantis – even as Republicans everywhere practically beg the pair of heavyweights to join forces on a presidential dream team.
Indeed, while the Florida Governor and rising conservative star has yet to officially announce his almost certain candidacy, that hasn’t stopped a political action committee (PAC) supporting his bid for the White House from running ads, most notably one positioning DeSantis as the new Trump. It features a person placing a DeSantis 2024 bumper sticker directly over one for Trump 2016. The message was unmistakable. Without any direct attack, the ad nevertheless screams that Trump was then, and DeSantis is now. Trump is old and spent, DeSantis is young and on the rise.
Trump and DeSantis – Betrayal Is Thy Name
The pro-DeSantis ad asserts unequivocally that the 44-year-old governor represents the future, the next generation of the present conservative movement spawned by the now-76-year-old former president. DeSantis can also reasonably claim that the dream of returning robust conservative governance to the White House can only be fully realized in the eight years he could serve instead of the four to which Trump would be limited.
Trump’s competing ad unsurprisingly seeks to ridicule his rival, but the underlying message positions him as a centrist compared to DeSantis the extremist. Using as an analogy an incident in which DeSantis ate pudding with his fingers when no spoon was available, the ad asserts that “DeSantis has his dirty little fingers all over senior entitlements, like cutting Medicare, slashing social security, even raising our retirement age. Tell Ron DeSantis to keep his pudding fingers off our money.” How ironic that the quintessential rebel Donald Trump would position himself as a defender of the status quo. In addition, the ad begs the question of whether the strategy of scaring elderly people off DeSantis can succeed when the state with the oldest population in the entire nation just re-elected him as governor by an overwhelming margin. Nevertheless, the ad’s tagline is very well conceived in projecting Trump’s greatest asset: “Trump delivers.”
In a counterattack, The DeSantis PAC released an ad about betrayal: “Trump is being attacked by a Democrat prosecutor in New York, so why is he spending millions attacking the Republican governor of Florida? Trump is stealing pages from the Biden-Pelosi playbook. repeating lies about social security … what happened to Donald Trump?” The clear implication is that the once-great Donald Trump has lost his way.
But when it comes to betrayal, Trump’s ad detailing how his intervention in 2018 breathed life into DeSantis’ flagging gubernatorial campaign delivers a particularly devastating blow. It prominently includes clips from DeSantis’ own ad that year, famously featuring him building a toy wall and reading bedtime stories to his kids about MAGA, and thanking Trump for his support at his victory speech. But then comes the money line: “You’re welcome, Ron. Unfortunately, instead of being grateful, DeSantis is now attacking the very man who saved his career … truth is, there is only one person who can make America great again.” This serves to counter the longer-running ads produced by the pro-DeSantis PAC, Ron to the Rescue, using his pandemic policies as the peg to promote his brand of leadership: “While our nation struggled, Florida thrived.”
These ads volleying back and forth represent something of an unofficial start to the presidential campaign. With Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) two weeks away from joining a top-heavy GOP field that also includes a trio of longshots – former South Carolina governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, ex-Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and anti-woke entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy – the fireworks are just beginning, with the first of several intraparty debates set for August on Fox News. And one way or another, staring at a huge deficit in the polls on the eve of his expected big announcement – to mix metaphors – Ron DeSantis had better make hay while the sun shines, or his palatial carriage will turn into the pumpkin Donald Trump has deftly carved out for him.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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