Why DeSantis won’t uproot Trump—whose charades and chaos party snubs relevant, old-style resumes

Worst of all, but telling, DeSantis has not learned the first lesson: “know thy enemy.” If not Trump, who can DeSantis beat?


Plus, DeSantis’ ham-fisted bungling makes Trump look good. Sounds like a perverse plot.

The good news: Both Trump and DeSantis prove that calculation, rampant ego, even willful cruelty aren’t alone enough to win the presidency. Too many irrepressible variables—job variations, inflation, disease, storms, famines, Black Swans, invasions, and random culture wars—impact who rushes ahead, who survives primaries, and who dominates opponents and the Electoral College. Even were DeSantis to knock off Trump (or scavenge the jail-able Criminal-in-chief), his offensive FL rampage has crippled his national electability. 

So here’s DeSantis (RD)—smarter, better educated, at least as ruthless, with wider life experiences and fewer scandals—without the street smarts to get why Trump still holds the MAGA fort. Month after month, RD has been clueless about taking down an abusive, pro-cult, anti-politician celebrity phony whose underlying con remains he doesn’t have to sell his soul (which he doesn’t have), unlike all other “sleazy” competitors.

DeSantis’ tone-deaf tunnel vision may never get what fuses the Trumper Cult Bond—and the loyalty to the ultimate conniver that fans contort into a straight-shooter who speaks for them (boasting he’s the small-fry “sacrifice” against evil oppressors—puke). No small feat for a slippery billionaire, as only Trump’s dishonesty keeps his head above water—living a life-style far more Elon Musk than average joe trumper. DeSantis lacks the courage to confront the sick, Pied Piper Trump trance, under the sway of Pretend ex-President who’d love nothing more than to ban democratic elections and be king for life. 

Without any mystery, Trump still doesn’t talk about job or economic policy except in vapid sound bites, nor legislation beyond southern walls, Congressional teamwork, national security interests, nor voter deliverables—the meat of politics—to enhance people’s welfare. Nor does he (or will he) present the “better and cheaper” health care fiction promised SIX years ago, let alone fix immigration or veteran benefits, infrastructure or keep big business off the backs of small fry. These blatant omissions are as AWOL as they are revealing of the void at Trump’s center. Regular politics never intrigued Trump, displaced by B.S. entertainment rallies to keep his troops from besieging federal installations, getting shot down or arrested and jailed. 

To these Trump facts DeSantis remains oblivious, going through the standard pol’s career motions, despite having no relevance to today’s know-nothing primary voters. Throughout his life, DeSantis is the ever obedient, good, middle-class Catholic boy who 1) works hard at school, stars at the most elitist U.S. college and Ivy League law school; 2) wins honors with his military stint; 3) briefly holds public office; 4) gets elected to Congress (and starts the Freedom Caucus, confirming his extremism); then 5) boldly wins the FL governorship, of late ramming through a fistful of radical, nasty, likely unconstitutional bills. Two decades ago, this garden-variety, gold star achievement model, updated with radical trappings (rife with “wokism” blather), suited a potential GOP candidate (and far superior to Dubya’s thin one). Not now. 

Wrong resume, wrong buyer

Then along came Trump, the great party hijacker – and the GOP lurched into a know-nothing black hole, stoking the lowest (unAmerican) impulses: racist, anti-newcomer isolationist, anti-democratic, proto-fascism, and white supremacy, full of misogyny, hatred of government (they can’t control), and pigheaded hostility to expertise and science. No wonder the Bush/Romney clan withered—and all facilitated by the thin-skinned, blue-collarish, mentally-deficient (even illiterate), smug, loudmouth rich kid who loves “the poorly educated.”

Un-elected to prior office, devoid of public service (are you kidding?), this third-level actor bragged about what he didn’t know (like his backers), marginal stuff like how government works, impacted by law, history, Congress, the Constitution, bureaucracy, military and foreign affairs, or trade and macro economics. Devastatingly, Trump scorned the most important political necessity: expanding your electorate to win re-election. Whoops. Thus Trump must instead play the vulgar, irreligious, Chautauqua-style super-salesman and grifter who hawks grievances and victim hood. He stays armed with a slew of scam magic potion nonsense guaranteed only to leave real problems untouched—or worsened. 

Purposely empty

After all, by design posturing about grievances cannot fix anything—for that would reduce misery and the Trump trance. Recall the pandemic fiasco, and worsened tax loophole/subsidy inequities, tariff/trade imbalances, or banished international treaties that might reduce some world tensions. Not a one. By intention Trumpism is empty of substance, as the symbolic gestures obscure a truckload of cruel takeaways—LESS abortion, LESS affirmative action, LESS positive integration, immigration, or social mobility. Trumpism makes war against seriousness only to push mock authoritarianism, on par with religious con jobs who spin wheels wholly to corruptly fundraising. Both cons dish out suspect pie in the sky while siphoning off poor people’s cash in this world to sustain their upscale life-styles. Talk about “transactional” scams. And the suckers pay the billionaire’s legal bills!

That the charmless, narrow-minded, no-charisma DeSantis could not pull off Trump’s stagy chicanery goes without saying. Even against the weakest GOP candidate against Biden, the Florida blowhard can’t dent Trump’s lead. Even against the most criminal, traitorous, election-defying ex-president, DeSantis hit the wall, losing the gains he once had. Even against the ultimate hypocrite—elected because precise election tabulation handed him the Electoral College, then, having lost disastrously, he irrationally demonized the same election system—DeSantis’ only hope is for more Trump implosions. Who imagined the two lead right-wingers would be forced out of desperation to depend on a political/legal lottery dream to survive?

No smarts, no courage – where’s the beef?

Thus, DeSantis exhibits neither the political smarts, not bravado, nor courage to construct his own following (instead playing the docile, slack-jawed parasite). Nor has he made a persuasive parallel between shocking Florida extremism and what the national electorate wants or will tolerate. Instead, RD is trying to out-extreme Trump, ironically pulling off the miracle of making Trump look moderate and less insane: on abortion bans, the Disney calamity, on exiling critical immigrant state workers, and gender/trans rights. So far, despite his arm-waving, DeSantis has only dug himself a primary hole while jeopardizing his national prospects. Good show, Ron, displaying not just ignorance of right-wing dynamics, but egregious timing—maybe “school smart,” but “street dumb.” It’s not as if the idiotic Trump circus ploys, criminal arrogance and gross character flaws have ever been a mystery. 

In short, DeSantis’ conventional resume ploy fails badly to satisfy nutcase primary demands only for bread and circuses, as with dullard Pence and the rest of the sorry crew. Clearly, no one has the nerve to try, let alone get away with Trump’s deviant but media-attractive misconduct. Just getting stuff though the Florida legislature doesn’t now count for bupkis. Out of touch DeSantis doesn’t even realize he’s playing the wrong game with the wrong, obsolete rule book—and taking the wrong advice. 

Like Trump, DeSantis shares a defective campaign learning curve. If this is rocket science, DeSantis fulfills Murphy’s Law—and he belongs in backward Florida. History repeats here as alleged veteran Hillary also lacked the campaign savvy to know how to put Trump away. And she wasn’t crippled by having to serve the Backward Sliding Rethuglican Party. That’s B.S. RiP for all the abbreviation lovers.


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.