Desantis Grasps For A Message

By Dick Morris on June 5, 2023

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., is searching for a message in his attacks on Donald Trump.

He hasn’t found one yet.

As a political consultant, it occurs to me that this search might have been more profitably conducted before — rather than after — he announced his candidacy. But each of the themes with which the Florida governor has experimented have fallen short.

He said Trump was a “loser,” citing Republican defeats in 2022, but MAGA voters realize that Trump led us to retaking the House and beat Hillary Clinton in the Armageddon race of 2016.

Some loser!

DeSantis says Trump has moved to the left, but then the former president comes back and calls for an end to birthright citizenship, saying that those who came here illegally cannot count on their children automatically becoming citizens.

DeSantis says he’ll keep the promises Trump made in 2016 but couldn’t accomplish and vows that, by serving two terms, he can get it all done. But voters remember how Trump kept each and every one of his campaign promises, an achievement without parallel in our politics.

He criticizes Trump for releasing nonviolent offenders. But nobody can really believe Trump is soft on crime. And DeSantis voted for the bill, anyway.

He tried to differentiate himself from Trump over COVID-19, but the former president notes that New York had a lower per capita death rate than Florida.

DeSantis says the presidency can’t be about “entertainment,” but no serious observer would confuse Trump with Adam Sandler.

And, on abortion, DeSantis dares to call the architect of the end of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), insufficiently anti-abortion.

Trump counters that he worked hard to reverse Roe and end a federal mandate on abortion and that he’s not about to restore a federal role.

Nobody will believe that Trump is soft on crime, lacking in substance, moving to the left, pro-abortion rights, or an inveterate loser.

But they will believe, and should, that DeSantis voted to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 and to lower cost of living adjustments.

DeSantis, and perhaps former New Jersey governor Chris Christie — who is getting into the race soon — probably hope that Trump will be indicted by special prosecutor Jack Smith for the supposed crimes of doing what Biden did — taking the archives home — and of inciting the Jan. 6 demonstrations.

But everybody knows that Trump told everyone on that day to go home peacefully.

If the New York indictment didn’t hurt Trump — and, in fact, led to a 10 point jump in his polls, how do they figure a new indictment will work any better?

DeSantis should have tested his act in a poll before he took it on the road.

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