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I'm (still) not worrying too much about Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis is a fucking fascist, but he's also uncharismatic and unpleasant. and those are his good qualities
author’s note: this was one of the first pieces I wrote when I started this substack. I’m reposting it today so it I can put it in front of the thousands of subscribers I’ve acquired since it was first published. also, I’ve updated it, so if you’ve read it before, now you have a reason to read it again.
(and, also again, Congress is in the second week of a three-week vacation, and it’s fucking hard to write about the what the morons are doing when they’re not doing anything moronic.)
I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about Ron DeSantis. yes, I’ve heard the same stories you have. he’s smart, he’s ruthless, he’s got Fascist Appeal™. the MAGA morons love him. he’s beating Trump in the polls (update: but not every poll).
but I don’t worry too much because we’ve seen this movie before.
remember Bobby Jindal?
Bobby Jindal was elected Governor of Louisiana in 2008. he was a rising star in the Republican Party. Jindal was young. he was energetic. he had the right ideas. he was a person of color. he was a fucking Rhodes Scholar. he was unstoppable.
and then Bobby gave the Republican Response to Obama’s 2009 State of the Union. and he suuuuuucked. dull. lifeless. Jindal couldn’t even work up enough energy to look like a deer in the headlights. and just like that, Bobby Jindal’s political career was over.
remember Scott Walker?
of course you don’t. not even Scott Walker remembers Scott Walker. but back in 2011, Scott Walker was a rising young star in the Republican Party. he had just been elected Governor of Wisconsin. all we heard was how smart and electable he was. it was a foregone conclusion that Scott Walker was going to be the GOP candidate for president in 2016. Democrats were terrified of him.
and then something happened: he announced his candidacy, he made a few speeches and he was gone in less than three scaramuccis. he didn’t even last long enough to get a nickname from Donald Trump.
why? because Scott Walker was boring.
he got crushed in every poll, and just like that, his political career was over.
which brings us to Fascist Flavor of the Week, Ron DeSantis.
if you’re a wingnut, Ron DeSantis looks great on paper. he’s as far right as they come. he’s a culture warrior. he’s a headline-grabber. he’s not afraid to pick a fight.
but, and this is a really fucking big but: DeSantis has never been tested on the national stage and every indication is that he comes prepackaged with a shitload of negatives. he’s short. (I know, heightist, but I don’t make the rules and this is the world we live in.) he’s got a squeaky voice (I know, squeakist). he’s unfunny and unpleasant. he’s a bully. he stands like he’s wearing an ill-fitting human suit over his lizard body.
his policies are not popular (outside of MAGA world) and he lacks charisma.
and he’s not entertaining. say what you want about Donald Trump, the one thing he knows how to do is work a crowd and feed off their energy. all RonDeSantis knows how to do is stand like a doofus be repulsive. fence-sitters and independent voters are not going to won over by this guy.
so my prediction is that once the general public gets a look at this guy, he’ll be the latest flash in a long lines of pans.
update: even DeSantis’s own party thinks he's starting to take the fascism thing too far (per CNN): Ron DeSantis’ use of government power to implement agenda worries some conservatives.
second update: I’ve written before about how my dream scenario is that Donald Trump fails to get the GOP nomination in 2024 and forms his own third pary and shreds the GOP into pieces. so there’s a large part of me that wants DeSantis to get the nomination, becausde Trump fucking hates DeSantis’s guts right now and DeSantis getting the nom would definitely push Trump right over the fucking edge and into his own party.
now, I’m not saying the threat of fascism in America isn’t real and we shouldn’t all be on our guard. I just don’t think Ron DeSantis is that guy.
that said, I’ve made it my life’s work to be wrong.
so take it from me, Ron DeSantis can’t possibly …. oops.
buckle your seatbelts, no matter what happens it’s going to be a bumpy fucking ride
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