DeSantis is Firing on all Cylinders

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Watching the DeSantis campaign, I keep asking myself, is this guy ever going to take a stance that goes against his immediate political interests? Will he ever say one thing that will make the online right mad? I can’t think of a single time he has. I’ve written before that I don’t think this is a good strategy. But I also have an aesthetic revulsion to behaving like this.

I don’t see why he should. DeSantis is firing on all cylinders and is arguably more savvy and better at reading his base than even Trump is. He’s saying what he needs to say to be the nominee. The economic populism and anti-immigration sentiment of 2013-2017, in backlash to Bush and Obama, and which got Trump into office, is passé now.

Immigration is no longer as salient of an issue. Hardly anyone on Twitter cares about immigration anymore. It’s all attacking wokeness, and then second, attacking the left for being soft on crime and the societal breakdown of law and order (such as crime in big, left-wing cities such as SF or NYC, not border crossings). That is the angle now–and DeSantis is playing into that perfectly. To win, all DeSantis needs to do is copy his Twitter playbook of attacking Biden on wokeness, softness on crime, and high inflation.

The other day, Aaron Sibarium criticized the DeSantis campaign’s stance on vaccines, which they seem to be making a central part of their pitch to voters.

Again, this assumption that DeSantis is making a mistake is based on what? DeSantis being openly anti-vaccine is less of a dealbreaker than if he was openly pro-vaccine, as Trump seems to be. How many voters are going to be like, “I would vote for DeSantis but I will vote for Trump instead, because of vaccines.” The type of person who votes for Trump is going to also be anti-vax (even if they took the vaccine). It’s reasonable to assume a not insignificant number of people took the vaccine out of necessity or due to peer/social pressure, not because they supported it. For a general election, maybe DeSantis would need to pivot to being more centrist, but for the primaries he is doing and saying what he needs to do to win.