The misadventures of Ron DeSantis, Trump's rival

One is young, cherished by the hard right, and has just been reelected hands down as head of Florida

The misadventures of Ron DeSantis, Trump's rival

One is young, cherished by the hard right, and has just been reelected hands down as head of Florida. The other is in his seventies, freshly charged, but is riding well ahead in the polls for the Republican nomination.

In his battle with Ron DeSantis for the 2024 presidential election, Donald Trump is once again shattering the norms of American politics.

Swept the front pages of conservative newspapers that dubbed 44-year-old Ron DeSantis "DeFuture" after his strong showing in the midterm elections. The governor, in whom many conservatives had placed their hopes, is now seriously behind Donald Trump.

Admittedly, opinion polls are to be taken with a grain of salt. Certainly, Ron DeSantis, 44, is not officially launched in the race for the White House. But his candidacy has long been an open secret -- some commercials already advertise "DeSantis President" -- and his announcement seems imminent.

Why is the profile of this former college baseball player, married and father of three children struggling to seduce? And how does Donald Trump, twice impeached in Congress, indicted by a New York court, still manage to please?

Elected as head of Florida in 2018, Ron DeSantis shone the spotlight on his state by transforming it into a laboratory of conservative ideas: access to weapons was facilitated there, a war against a supposed "good-thinking" launched.

His shock measures have certainly made him famous, but "it is difficult to like DeSantis", underlines Larry Sabato, political scientist at the University of Virginia, who notes a lack of charisma of the governor.

"The more we learn about DeSantis, the less impressive he has become. He is not close to the people, his speeches are often disappointing and he has made several strange choices that have harmed him", such as his positions deemed too extreme on abortion, lists the expert.

Surrounded by investigations, Donald Trump threw himself headlong into the race for the White House, denouncing a "witch hunt" -- a rallying cry for his base, which remains largely loyal to him.

His landmark indictment in a New York court? The former tenant of the White House boasts of having raised several million dollars thanks to this sequence, which was the subject of dizzying media attention.

The tribune, whose fall has been announced a thousand times, has so far survived all the scandals. As if, by dint of accumulation, they no longer had any effect on him.

Dropped by a large part of his camp after the incredible attack on Congress on January 6, 2021, the 76-year-old billionaire had already succeeded in the space of a few months in regaining an undeniable hold on the Republican Party.

Most Republican candidates have also been careful not to criticize Donald Trump for his legal pans, anxious not to attract the wrath of the leader of their party … and the voters who adore him.

Only Ron DeSantis had stepped up to the plate, which earned him a volley of green wood from the Trump camp.

"Republican Party voters have made Trump's enemies their own enemies," said Larry Sabato.

In his face-to-face with Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis can however count on an imposing war chest of 110 million dollars, thanks to which he hopes to catch up a little by flooding the country with commercials.

In one of his political action committee's recent videos, a man is seen putting a "DeSantis president" sticker on a car, replacing a "Trump 2016." This is a summary of the message that the governor wants to send to voters: facing the 76-year-old billionaire, Ron DeSantis claims to embody the new guard.

The two adversaries have an appointment on May 13. They will face each other through meetings in Iowa, the first state to organize its Republican primaries in early 2024.

06/05/2023 09:03:35 -         Washington (AFP) -         © 2023 AFP

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