Monday, August 01, 2022


Amanda Marcotte thinks Ron DeSantis can't possibly appeal to right-wing voters the way Donald Trump does.
Hey, anything is possible, especially if the Department of Justice actually sucks it up and does the right thing in charging Trump for one or more of his many crimes.... But if what GOP elites are looking for is someone who can excite the lizard brains of the GOP base without all that pesky criminal baggage, well, DeSantis just isn't their guy.
It's the lack of charisma, Marcotte says.
Boston Globe columnist Michael Cohen, in a recent newsletter, took a shot at explaining why feels like DeSantis-mentum is more fantasy than reality. DeSantis, Cohen argues, is "a smug and charmless jerk" who "struggles to keep his inner hater under wraps." DeSantis, Cohen argues, has cultivated "an image as the country's angriest, pettiest, and most vindictive cultural warrior."

Of course, all that is also true of Trump. Cohen tries to square that circle by arguing that Trump, unlike DeSantis, "is charming and charismatic" to many Americans, "as crazy as it might seem."

... [Trump's] "shock jock" persona is aspirational, drawing in people who wish they, too, could just be shitty to people's faces without having to pay social consequences....
I get this. The audiences have fun at Trump rallies. He entertains them. DeSantis isn't entertaining.

But the man who first rode the modern politics of right-wing grievance all the way to the White House wasn't likable, either. Richard Nixon was sour and dyspeptic. He seemed humorless and self-pitying. None of this held him back.

Marcotte thinks Trump persuades voters that he doesn't mind if they have fun.
... what they know about Trump is that he's been married three times, has kids with all his wives, and is a chronic adulterer who has probably caused an abortion or ten in his lifetime. Trump's hilariously fake "Christianity," perversely, is reassuring to the segment of Republican-leaning voters who are racist and sexist, but also like having sex and aren't keen on having the Jesus police stationing themselves in American bedrooms....

DeSantis, on the other hand, has made being a censorious fundamentalist his political identity, especially by enthusiastically backing the "don't say gay" law in Florida and declaring war on Disney for resisting him. There's nothing to hang onto for people looking for a reason to vote Republican, but who don't want to see themselves as the book-banning sex police.
Is that how DeSantis comes off? I think DeSantis's fans believe that he's okay with "normal-people" sex, just not all that queer stuff. In his time, Richard Nixon seemed comfortable with suburbanites downing cocktails, but utterly intolerant of, y'know, drugs.

Nixon wasn't charismatic, but it was okay -- he loathed the people his voters loathed (hippies, Blacks, anti-war protesters), and that was enough. I agree that Trump will be tough to beat in 2024, but hating and harming the right people might be all DeSantis needs.

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