Ron DeSantis’ political action committee is called ‘Never Back Down.’ Well, he just did. A week ago, he said of Trump: ‘You can be the most worthless Republican in America, but if you kiss the ring he’ll say you’re wonderful.’ Well, he just endorsed Trump for the presidency in 2024.
This morning, DeSantis campaign staff batted away speculation that he would imminently quit, saying ‘with 100 per cent certainty’ that DeSantis would fight on to the South Carolina primary next month and beyond. Hours later, Ron proved them wrong. ‘While this campaign has ended, the mission continues,’ he said in a video. Bowing to the seemingly inevitable, he endorsed Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee.
The DeSantis campaign will be remembered as a colossal failure. He raised more than $150 million dollars to achieve a distant second in the Iowa caucuses. It all looked so promising a year ago.
From late 2022, when the Trump-dominated Republican Party underperformed in the mid-term elections, to early 2023, Republican voters appeared finally to be suffering from ‘Trump fatigue’. The re-elected Florida Governor, Ron DeFuture, as Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post dubbed him, was ideally placed to capitalise.
His backers and strategists believed, with so many Trump-allergic donors behind him, he could easily brush the other Republican wannabes aside and take down the Donald. He pitched himself as Trump with brains; Trump but you get two terms; Trump but he gets things done.
But the muddle of his campaign strategy belied the competent image he wants to project. His staff, led by former Ted Cruz consultants, misjudged the mood of the Republican electorate — and only proved that in 2024 the party’s voters are all that interesting conservative ideals. They are loyal, mostly, to Donald Trump.