Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign faced a setback when internal debate strategy memos were leaked to the public. Here’s the full story, alongside excerpts from the memos.
DeSantis‘ Campaign Strategy Leaked
In what can be seen as an unexpected twist to an already turbulent campaign, Ron DeSantis’ bid for the presidency has suffered yet another setback.
This came when memos detailing his strategy for the upcoming first Republican debate were published by the New York Times.
Avoiding Confrontation with Trump
The content? A clear directive not to confront former president Donald Trump, coupled with a strategy to actively target President Joe Biden.
Insider Leak Exposes Strategy
For a governor who has been riding the wave of right-wing politics, this leak spells disaster.
Memos Originating from Consulting Firm
The memos, which originated from a consulting firm under the helm of Jeff Roe, the Super Pac ‘Never Back Down’ chief strategist supporting DeSantis, became public knowledge, thanks to an insider who alerted the press.
Strategic Directives for DeSantis
In a political landscape where strategies often play out behind closed curtains, the contents of the memo were as revealing as they were damning. One memo charted out four cardinal commandments for DeSantis:
- Attack Joe Biden and the media 3-5 times.
- State GRD’s positive vision 2-3 times.
- Hammer Vivek Ramaswamy in a response.
- Defend Donald Trump in absentia in response to a Chris Christie attack.
Christie’s Anti-Trump Strategy
Chris Christie’s campaign strategy has been intriguing. Despite holding a marginal role in a Trump-dominated Republican party, he has persistently struck out against the former president.
Though surprising to many, this anti-Trump sentiment appears to have found traction in New Hampshire. Here, polls are showing Christie enjoying a lead over DeSantis.
Counter to Christie’s Attacks on Trump
The memos provided DeSantis with a potential counter to any Christie-initiated Trump attacks: “Trump isn’t here so let’s just leave him alone. He’s too weak to defend himself here.
We’re all running against him. I don’t think we want to join forces with someone on this stage who’s auditioning for a show on MSNBC,” – referencing the notably left-leaning TV channel.
Struggles in Recent Polls
It’s worth noting that DeSantis, once a formidable second placer in polls, has seen his position dwindle in recent times.
Targeting Vivek Ramaswamy
The memos pointed to strategies aimed at Vivek Ramaswamy, a surging contender, advising DeSantis to confront him, particularly on hot-button issues like abortion, immigration, and Covid.
The memos even suggested a Trump-esque moniker for Ramaswamy, floating titles like “Fake Vivek” or “Vivek the Faker.”
Challenges in Connecting with the Public
Interestingly, a Washington Post feature depicting DeSantis’ visible discomfort on the campaign trail advised him to draw on personal stories, perhaps involving his family, to resonate more genuinely with the public.
This reveals the deeper challenges the governor faces in connecting with the average American.
DeSantis’s Decline in Polls
The internal turmoil of DeSantis’ campaign didn’t stop there. Unpublished polling numbers showed a staggering 39-point favorability dip among Republicans over five months.
This tied him with Ramaswamy and Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina as a second-choice pick.
Campaign Finance and Internal Turmoil
Yet, what’s perhaps even more revealing about these leaked documents is the insight into DeSantis’ campaign finances. His reliance on the Super Pac ‘Never Back Down’ is evident.
With the outside group shouldering costs for research, insights, and even polling, it’s clear that DeSantis’ traditional campaign avenues are under immense stress.
Criticism of Strategy
Rick Wilson, previously a GOP operative, now an anti-Trump advocate and a DeSantis critic, remarked candidly, “I read the memos that were posted by the Times, and my initial reaction is that Jeff Roe is being vastly overpaid for advice that would be considered mediocre for a state house race.”
The Future of DeSantis’s Campaign
As DeSantis grapples with this blow, political pundits and spectators will be eagerly watching his next move.
The Upcoming Debate
With the debate just around the corner, all eyes will be on how the governor chooses to maneuver through this political dilemma.
Whether this event marks the beginning of the end of his campaign or acts as a catalyst for a campaign rebirth remains to be seen.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Leonard Zhukovsky. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.
Source: The Guardian