Ron DeSantis will make a characteristically frank statement about his campaign, the untamed populism of the modern Republican Party, and the increasing conservative media revolution on Wednesday when he tweets Elon Musk about running for president in 2024.
Ron DeSantis will start his presidential run
The governor of Florida is finally entering the race for president, and his launch strategy positions him as the ultimate anti-establishment rebel in the race by challenging former president Donald Trump to a showdown.
His decision to hold the event on Twitter Spaces, the social network’s audio platform, is emblematic of the GOP’s transition under Trump into a party that celebrates gesture politics and whose activists react to the unmoderated social media jungle while disregarding traditional rules of conduct and government.
Twitter is attractive to conservative voters under Musk, who has 141 million followers, so DeSantis may be making a smart move in a GOP primary. However, by appearing on an increasingly polarizing platform, he risks further damaging an already questionable reputation among more moderate voters he’d need in a general election.
That’s because Twitter’s new owner has turned the site, which supported democratic movements during the Arab Spring, into a wild west of unchecked free speech, conspiracy theories, and fake news. In a possible foreshadowing of a presidential campaign likely plagued by misinformation and AI-generated falsehoods, a bogus image of an explosion near the Pentagon went viral this week, triggering a pause in the stock market. Meanwhile, Musk has demonstrated a propensity to start his own Twitter infernos, suggesting that the 2024 presidential contest might be just as divisive as the 2016 and 2020 campaigns, which were dominated by Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and charges of voter fraud.
The former president made a virtual court appearance on Tuesday, in a case involving a hush money payment to a former adult film star, to which he has previously pleaded not guilty, adding another bizarre twist to election season. The trial date, scheduled by Judge Juan Merchan, falls smack in the heart of primary season in 2024, on March 25. Given the schedule, Trump may try to use the trial to emphasize that he is being persecuted for his political beliefs. But it also makes it possible for Trump to be convicted of a felony while he is still campaigning for the GOP nominee, which would be an unusual and exceptional development.
Ron DeSantis is looking to build support
Ron DeSantis appears to be picking a dramatic moment by making his announcement on Twitter, hoping to revive his flagging GOP primary hopes that were soaring six months ago before being derailed by his stumbles and Trump’s electoral resurgence.
By showing such support for Musk, DeSantis is aligning himself with a conservative icon who has long complained about being targeted for suppression on social media. Musk is taking a jab at Trump, who was banned from Twitter by the company’s previous ownership and has instead been using Truth Social, his platform’s home turf. Even though he left his nation worried and fatigued, Trump’s 2016 campaign and whole administration played out in a torrent of stream-of-consciousness tweets that he employed to great effect.
With this move, DeSantis is making a display of brazen contempt for the mainstream media, which is despised by many conservatives. His debut will stand in stark contrast to Trump’s uninspired and meandering campaign kickoff address at Mar-a-Lago in November.
The governor of Florida will demonstrate how the Republican Party has evolved from its more traditional beginnings and how the polarization of the media and the rise of social media has altered the nature of the presidential election. For example, Ronald Reagan declared his run for president in 1979 from a country club-style study, speaking in a grandfatherly tone. Twenty years later, George W. Bush left an Iowa farm and began his journey to the Oval Office. The internet is now the most effective way to contact Republican voters.
DeSantis is following in Trump’s unorthodox footsteps by making an unusual declaration for a president. Lesson learned from the 45th president’s raucous political career: insult liberals and mainstream media pundits and you’ll likely win over the support of conservative primary voters.
Ron DeSantis has previously staked out conservative positions on social matters, including opposition to what he labels “woke” initiatives on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Now he wants to steal Trump’s thunder as an innovator, too.
Ron Desantis to announce 2024 presidential run on live Twitter (Video) Watch Now