The Campaign Of Rapidly Waning Relevance

Putting the debt ceiling aside (for a day anyway) the biggest political story of last week – or at least what I’m deeming as such – was the equivalent of a political train wreck; we just can’t seem to ignore it.

At 6pm EST Wednesday evening Florida’s Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, was scheduled to go live on Twitter for a conversation with Elon Musk during which he would announce his candidacy for the presidency. It didn’t quite work out as planned. Technological glitches delayed it for well over 20 minutes.

I have a habit of being early for events, almost to the point of being annoyingly early. I remember a sports banquet decades ago where I was scheduled to speak along with a long-time local sportscaster many decades my senior. As was my habit I was way too early, found a seat and sipped a soda. Minutes later Mr. Hubble arrived. As we chatted, he told me he was also always early; it was a lesson he learned as a young man in broadcasting. A minute of dead air in broadcasting is an eternity.

Since Musk took over Twitter it has been both a disaster and of waning relevance. Many news organizations including NPR and the BBC have either discontinued or lessened their use of the platform. (As an aside, I’m still awaiting the day a bunch of bankers – unless they leave the industry first – are fired for lending Musk money to complete the purchase of Twitter.) Wednesday was just further proof that you can’t wholesale fire the people who actually run the place without facing the consequences.

DeSantis announcing on a platform that is rapidly diminishing in relevance is fitting since the same can be said for his presidential campaign. His announcement is no surprise. For all intent and purpose, he has been running for some time now. During that time, he has rapidly gone from someone who could beat Trump to only a distant second place in a field where everyone other than Trump is an also ran from the get go. DeSantis’ big chance was to coalesce the big GOP money behind him but that isn’t happening because he has proven to be such a poor retail politician and his policies would appear to make him unelectable in the general election. In the eyes of the big GOP donors – who are really investors looking for a return on said investments – Trump’s vulnerability is electability in the general, or to be more specific lack of it. DeSantis has now taken on that same perceived status. That was a self-inflicted wound.

DeSantis appears to be doing the political version of fighting the last war. Well in reality it is worse in that he is fighting the last war before the last war. Twitter was a huge part of Trump’s 2016 success. Twitter is not the political force it was in 2016. Today Twitter is largely viewed as incompetent and Wednesday’s fiasco just reinforced that opinion.

DeSantis – who unlike Trump is actually a bright guy (and that makes him even more dangerous) – has made some inexplicably poor political decisions of late in what can only be assumed to be an overture to the far right in the GOP primary electorate. Should he make it as far as the general (which I really doubt) those move are deadly.

The biggest blunder was to take on Disney. Disney is Orlando; it’s really that simple. If they are not the largest private employer and corporate political donor in Florida they are very, very close to it. Why would you take on an American legend and simultaneously bite the hand that feeds economically and politically? It just doesn’t make sense.

DeSantis has also gone all in on a culture war aimed at the LGBTQ community, banning books and extreme anti-abortion legislation. None of those stances play well with the general electorate!

DeSantis and Twitter make an apt pairing; both are moving in the wrong direction and are destined to be losers in the long run.

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