It’s Not Too Late for Conservatism Inc. to Dump DeSantis
But for the Republican establishment, Ron DeSantis is too big to fail.
We did TNB a day early this week, so no show tonight. If you missed it, you can watch the replay here or listen to the podcast version here. Sarah, Tim, Charlie, Amanda, and Bill joined me. It was a good one and it’s unlocked for all to enjoy.
1. Too Big to Fail
There’s a scene in The Social Network where Mark Zuckerberg is being deposed in the Winkelvii lawsuit and he snaps.
“If you guys were the inventors of Facebook,” he says, “then you’d have invented Facebook.”
I thought about this moment a lot last night after listening to Ron DeSantis and then watching the relentless, real-time attempt by Conservatism Inc. to prop him up and insist that, actually, everything was great.
Because here is the thing about the elite support for Ron DeSantis: It’s not that these guys have any real affection for him. They’re just desperate to get away from Trump and they believe that DeSantis is the vehicle for their escape.
But there’s an uncomfortable problem. To take the Zuckerberg line: If Ron DeSantis could beat Donald Trump, then he’d be beating Donald Trump.1
And he’s not.
As we said yesterday, it’s a long campaign and yadda yadda yadda. I don’t want to make too much of last night’s Twitter launch disaster. (Though we’re going to do that in a minute anyway.) But I will note that Chris Cillizza has it right: The launch debacle is a big deal because it was supposed to be a reset for a campaign that was already in retrograde.
Remember: DeSantis didn’t want to announce this early. His team moved the timing up because they saw that the race was getting away from them. Yesterday was supposed to snap the rubber band and let DeSantis change the momentum. Instead, it had the opposite effect: It reinforced the sense that DeSantis is not a good candidate.
At some point—soon—the window for entry to the primaries will close. So the people pushing DeSantis have to ask themselves if they’re absolutely, positively, 100 percent sure that this is the horse they want to ride?