The DeSantis Debacle Is Over

The DeSantis Debacle Is Over

The once and never Trump successor’s campaign collapsed about a year ago. His ego got finally the news.


Meatball Ron. Ol’ Pudding Fingers. DeSanctimonious. DeSanctus. Tiny D.

Twice-impeached Donald Trump never found a nickname that stuck to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. And you might think that made DeSantis a strong rival for the presidential nomination against Trump. But you’d be wrong.

Heading into the New Hampshire primary, Florida Man pulled a U-turn and left the race Sunday, multiple nicknames and all. I think the fact that Trump never found a moniker to stick was part of Tiny D’s problem. What did he stand for? What did he care about? Could you pick him out of a lineup? Ronnie, we hardly knew ye.

I’m neck deep in a long feature about whether the 2024 GOP presidential primary could have turned out any other way besides the likely re-coronation of Trump (There’s still time! Not really but…!) And everyone who indulges me in what one GOP adviser called “fan fiction” says the only possibility at all goes back to the end of 2022, when Republicans botched the midterm and DeSantis loomed.

DeSantis won his reelection overwhelmingly. Meanwhile, Trump’s 2022 picks for Senate, House, and governor—remember Kari Lake, Blake Masters, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Doug Mastriano, Herschel Walker, and Sarah Palin—all lost winnable purple seats. DeSantis looked indomitable. Trump looked… sad. So eventually (some admirers say he waited too long) DeSantis declared he was running. It was all downhill from there.

Not being a GOP primary voter, I always pause before suggesting reasons a Republican failed. But I think DeSantis’s big problem was that he is deeply unlikable. Also: He doesn’t seem to like people. He botched so many easy layups on the campaign trail. He utterly blew his campaign launch trying to win over Elon Musk.

I could say: Don’t get into a fight with Mickey Mouse! Or any Disney characters! Take the debate this month in which DeSantis claimed Disney was involved in “transing kids.” Who wanted that fight, Meatball Ron? And what did it even mean?

I displayed my best attempt at fairness in covering his one-on-one debate with Haley. I praised his only praiseworthy statement: coming out against cutting benefits or raising the eligibility age for Social Security: “I don’t see how you can raise the retirement age when life expectancy is going down,” he said. Good on ya, Ron. Then Haley noted that DeSantis voted to raise the retirement age back when he was in Congress. That’s what these louts are all about.

Before I began this piece, I started writing about how deranged racist Donald Trump began calling Nikki Haley a bastardized version of her name Nimarata (“Nimbra”) Saturday and then arguably said worse: He blamed her twice for security failures during the January 6 insurrection.

Smarter people than me knew he was confusing Haley with and falsely blaming then–House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. I guess. Both things sound equally bizarre.

But Florida Man got Trump off the hook, once again. At least temporarily, he obscured his crazy rambling about Haley. Oh, and he even endorsed him, in case you were wondering. I wasn’t, which is why I tucked this in here, when I was basically finished writing. This is how it will all go from here on in—even when Haley drops out after losing New Hampshire, as she almost certainly will.

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