Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post's former conservative Republican columnist, has an interesting piece out noting something that is obvious but not talked about much. He-man and all-around-bully Ron DeSantis always picks fights with folks who aren't able to fight back. He picks on schoolchildren, LBGTQ young people, teachers, school librarians, African-American historians, and ex-prisoners. He also picks on large and potentially serious opponents who—due to circumstances—can't fight back. For example, The Walt Disney Company is the state's largest employer, but it owns massive theme parks in Florida that it can't move. Or so he thinks, at least (see below). If he picked on a bank headquartered in Florida or a big software company that could pick up and move to another state easily because all it needs is some office space and high-speed Internet, he would get massive blowback when the company announced: "We are open for bids. States that would like us to relocate, please send us the list of tax incentives you are offering."
DeSantis also picked on New College, an tiny but innovative somewhat liberal bastion, that also can't move. In addition, he threatened the University of Florida with a questionnaire demanding that all students state their political views. Again, here, he has all the power and is using it against weaker opponents. Punching down against weaker opponents (like bullies always do) makes him look strong.
Now, all of a sudden, he is facing Donald Trump, who is much stronger than he is and who is determined to crush DeSantis like a bug. Trump doesn't cower before bullies. It's a whole new ball game fighting someone more powerful than you are. The old bullying tricks don't work so well. Hiding this from the media doesn't work so well, either, as the national spotlight is much brighter than the one The Miami Herald has.
It doesn't help that DeSantis has a tin ear. He was going to pitch himself as "Trump, but more competent." He missed the memo that Trump's base does not want "competent." It wants "outrage" and "political theater." DeSantis doesn't do that so well. And calling out Trump to evangelicals for his lack of interest in Jesus, his many divorces and affairs, and his generally un-Christian behavior doesn't work, either, since more than a few of them are complete hypocrites and will gladly sell out all their principles for power. DeSantis doesn't seem to get this, either.
Nevertheless, it's still early and DeSantis is smart and (sometimes) learns quickly. Wait until Trump is indicted in a couple of places. How about a new theme: "You can't govern from jail!" That might work well, even against a bigger, stronger, bully. (V)