Dem 51
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GOP 49
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...And DeSantis Has Another Big Problem in Comparison to Trump

As long as we are discussing our low opinion of Ron DeSantis' presidential hopes, let's take a closer look at something we've noted numerous times, as recently as yesterday, namely that he is a phony. He doesn't believe in most of the stuff he pushes, and he may not believe in any of it. He's just an ambitious guy, egged on by an ambitious wife, who has molded himself into "the candidate Republican primary votes want," as he sees it. Casey's role model is Lady Macbeth.

This is a very difficult thing to pull off, because voters in general, and Trump voters in particular, are very good at sniffing out a fake. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been trying to mold himself into "the candidate voters want" for years, and where has it gotten him? The same is true, to a large extent, with Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio (R-FL), who have gotten even less far with it than Cruz has.

By contrast, Trump, because of his rather unusual psychological makeup, is actually able to carry off the "genuine" bit. Put more simply, when he says things, he really means it. It's bizarre that a guy born with a platinum spoon in his mouth is convinced that he's gotten an unfair shake in life, but Trump believes it, and so he can connect with voters who think they've gotten an unfair shake in life. It's weird that a guy who has utilized immigrant labor for decades thinks that immigrants are what is wrong with this country, but Trump believes it, so he can connect with voters who think immigrants are ruining the U.S. It's nonsensical that a man who rose to the very top of the American government thinks the government is against him, but Trump believes it, so he can connect with voters who hate the government.

Maybe it's because DeSantis is smarter than Trump, or is more mentally stable, or is less aggrieved. Maybe it's something else, we don't know. But in any case, the Governor just doesn't come off as genuine when he rails against the target du jour. And while that is partly manageable when you can remain ensconced in the governor's mansion, and can limit your TV and in-person appearances, and can speak only to friendly media, it becomes a lot more problematic once you have to hit the campaign trail.

A new piece in The Atlantic, headlined "Ron DeSantis's Joyless Ride," makes this same basic observation. The subhead is "The ultimate performative politician doesn't seem to enjoy the in-person performance of politics," and actually gets closer to the central point of the piece, which is that the Governor is a terrible retail politician as it is. And he particularly hates having to play a role, which is what is required of him if he wants to fashion himself as Trump v2.0.

There have certainly been presidential candidates in the past who could pretend to be something that they weren't, and could carry it off. Bill Clinton leaps to mind, as does Ronald Reagan. However, they were generational talents. Further, it was only parts of their personas that they were faking, not the whole thing. DeSantis isn't going to change course at this point, and he lacks the ability to sell the image he's peddling, and so we just don't see how he can avoid the fate of a Ted Cruz or a Rick Scott. (Z)

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