Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

...While DeSantis Continues to Circle the Drain

Not to kick a man while he's down, but if you're going to run for president, you have to be ready for people to talk as much about the bad news as about the good news. And Ron DeSantis continues to get nothing but bad news for his campaign, over and above the disaster of a poll we discuss above.

Let's start with the story we allude to above, about insurance rates in Florida. In part due to climate change, and in part due to political decisions, the price of insurance has skyrocketed in Florida since DeSantis took office. The trend has affected all forms of insurance, from auto to health to life, but it's particularly noticeable in the area of homeowners' insurance. The Sunshine State is now the most expensive in the nation on that front, with an average annual policy of $7,788, according to a recent study. By way of comparison, the national average is $1,784. And even with the higher prices, many insurers have packed up and left Florida, because they were losing too much money.

Voters in the other 49 states are not directly affected by insurance prices in Florida, of course, and are not likely to base their votes on that problem, per se. However, this does give Donald Trump and other DeSantis opponents an angle of attack against the Governor, and it's one they are already using. "The DeSanctimonious super-PAC, Always Back Down, should focus more on Florida property and auto insurance, which has zoomed to highest-in-the-nation status, and highest by far," Trump said in a video posted to his boutique social media platform. Further, if the high insurance prices cause Florida Republicans to give their primary votes to Trump, then DeSantis is dead in the water. If he can't win his home state, that's pretty much fatal.

Meanwhile, DeSantis has been once again reminding everyone that he's unfamiliar with the old aphorism "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." He could have avoided responsibility for the "slavery did good things for Black people" standards by saying he didn't write them, and he didn't feel qualified to comment. But instead, he keeps doubling and tripling down on how good and how on-point the standards are. As a consequence, he's now in a war of words with several Black Republican officeholders, most notably the very conservative (and popular with Trumpers) Rep. Bryan Donalds (FL). Given what has happened with Disney, however, we do not foresee DeSantis backing down or changing course.

And finally, DeSantis got a scathing review this weekend from famous (legendary?) Republican strategist Ed Rollins, whose presidential-campaign experience dates back to Reagan-Bush '84. Here's what Rollins had to say:

I don't think it's the campaign's fault at all; it's [DeSantis']. I think he's been a very flawed candidate. I know some of the people around him, and some of them are good, talented people. But every time he opens his mouth, he has a tendency to—shall we say—think out loud, and he clearly doesn't understand the game. Iowa is not Florida, and he just doesn't get it... He's not a particularly articulate candidate... and the skill you need to become president is typically being able to show voters you connect with them, and that you understand their problems. It was a great skill of [former Presidents] Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, and my sense is that this guy does not have it. He does not come off as warm and fuzzy, and when you get into these culture wars the way that he has, the vast majority of people don't understand what they are... That may work in parts of Florida... but not these other places he needs to win. That is not what sells.

At this point in time, I don't see how [DeSantis is] going to turn it around. I think it's gonna be Trump's game, and at this point in time, I would be shocked if Trump were not the nominee... And at the end of the day, I don't see how Trump is a viable presidential candidate... So, unless something serious happens, Biden is probably going to get a second term, and I could even see Republicans losing their majority in the House.

Incidentally, Rollins is a former Trump supporter who became a never Trumper, and who for a while led a pro-DeSantis PAC. So, he's certainly open to supporting the Governor, though he left the pro-DeSantis PAC after getting a good look at the merchandise.

Now, when you get flayed by a prominent, well-respected elder member of your party, the best choice is probably to ignore it and hope the negative review is quickly forgotten. But that is not DeSantis' style; he's as thin-skinned as Trump is, and simply cannot bear to let slights pass. So, the Governor fired back at Rollins, describing the operative's assessment as "obviously nonsense." Right, because what would a guy with 40 years' high-level campaign experience know?

In any event, when your campaign is faltering, and you're not open to criticism about how you could do better, that's not a great place to be. DeSantis thinks he knows best and by all indications, he will continue to believe that until the day he is forced to suspend his campaign for lack of money. (Z)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates