Ron DeSantis, reminiscent of a struggling actor in a low-budget movie, lacks the natural ability to communicate effectively. Unlike former President Bill Clinton, who excelled in connecting with people, DeSantis appears stiff, frozen, and uncomfortable in social interactions. While Clinton’s genuine interest in people earned him a perfect 10 on the charm scale, DeSantis has a long way to go, perhaps just reaching a 2.
His inability to connect with people is becoming a concern for donors and supporters. Despite winning re-election as governor by a significant margin, the dream of becoming the next President of the United States seems to have faded for DeSantis. His campaign frequently stumbles, and he often finds himself in unfavorable situations. Puck News:
The question now is how much longer DeSantis will endure this political challenge. With the pressure mounting, some wonder if he will heed Mitt Romney’s advice to consider dropping out of the race and allowing another candidate to solidify the nomination by the end of February. Whether DeSantis survives until then remains uncertain.
ALAS, FUNDRAISING HAS ALREADY SLOWED FOR THE CAMPAIGN ITSELF, AFTER AN EARLY BURST OF BUNDLER ACTIVITY THAT QUICKLY MAXED OUT ITS MOST EAGER DONORS. LEFT ON THE SIDELINES ARE THE BIGGEST HITTERS, LIKE KEN GRIFFIN AND STEVE SCHWARZMAN, WHO COULD FUND OTHER VEHICLES BUT HAVE HELD OFF FROM GIVING TO DESANTIS AS THEY AWAIT THE RESULTS OF THE FIRST FOUR PRIMARIES BEFORE INVESTING TIME OR MONEY. “THE MAIN THING THAT DONORS ARE UPSET ABOUT,” SAID ANOTHER MAJOR DONOR, “IS HOW QUICKLY DESANTIS FELL APART.”
THERE’S A NEW SELF-HELP GUIDE CIRCULATING AMONG THE DONOR SET IN THE FORM OF A WALL STREET JOURNAL OP-ED BY MITT ROMNEY. IT QUOTES DUMB AND DUMBER TO WARN THE DEEP-POCKETED THAT THEY ARE FREE TO SUPPORT OTHER CANDIDATES THROUGH THE FIRST FOUR PRIMARY STATES, BUT NO LATER THAN FEBRUARY 26. AT THAT POINT THEY MUST COALESCE AROUND ONE CANDIDATE OTHER THAN TRUMP. I HAVE BEEN TOLD YOU’RE GOING TO SEE A LOT MORE OF THESE COORDINATED PIECES BY “SERIOUS PEOPLE” ADVOCATING THAT THE FIELD SHOULD CONSOLIDATE FAST AFTER IOWA.
WHO MIGHT THAT CANDIDATE BE IF NOT DESANTIS? THAT’S WHERE THE GLENN YOUNGKIN FANTASY PERSISTS. I BEEN TOLD FORMER DESANTIS DONOR THOMAS PETERFFY IS CONSIDERING WIRING ANOTHER $1 MILLION TO YOUNGKIN’S SUPER PAC AS ANOTHER NUDGE TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT. OF COURSE, THIS MONEY CAN BE USED FOR 2028, IF YOUNGKIN CHOOSES TO HOLD OUT TILL THEN. BUT THAT CAPITAL WOULD REPRESENT PETERFFY’S SECOND MILLION-DOLLAR DONATION TO YOUNGKIN SINCE DESANTIS PASSED A 6-WEEK ABORTION BAN.
ANOTHER LEADER AMONG THE DONOR PACK IS FORMER TRUMP COMMERCE SECRETARY WILBUR ROSS, WHO IS HOSTING A FUNDRAISER FOR YOUNGKIN NEXT WEEK AT HIS SOUTHAMPTON HOME. THE THINKING IS THAT AS A CENTI-MILLIONAIRE, YOUNGKIN KNOWS THE RIGHT WAY TO SHAKE THE HANDS OF TRUE BILLIONAIRES LIKE GRIFFIN, SCHWARZMAN, BILL HARRISON, AND KEN LANGONE, IN A WAY THAT WILL CONVINCE THEM TO CARRY HIM THROUGH THE FIRST FOUR PRIMARY STATES, EVEN IF HIS SHOWING ISN’T SPECTACULAR AND HE HAS OODLES OF LOST TIME TO MAKE UP FOR.
KARL ROVE, THE TRUE POLITICAL CONSIGLIERI TO THE REPUBLICAN DONOR PACK, HAS SPENT MANY HOURS TRYING TO PERSUADE YOUNGKIN TO RUN. SURE, HE CAN ALSO PERSUADE THESE DONORS WHO ARE TRUE BUSH-IES AT HEART—PRO-BUSINESS, PRO-JOBS, ANTI-REGULATIONS—THAT YOUNGKIN IS DESANTIS MINUS HIS DISNEY BATTLES AND ALL THE VERY ONLINE CULTURE WARS STUFF. BUT PEOPLE CLOSE TO YOUNGKIN TELL ME THAT HE IS OBSESSED WITH HIS OWN STATE’S MIDTERM ELECTIONS, AND THAT’S WHAT’S HOLDING HIM BACK, DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE’S TERM-LIMITED AS GOVERNOR.
IS THIS A MAJOR POLITICAL MISCALCULATION? (TRUMP WAS LIVING PROOF THAT POLICY WINS MATTER INCREASINGLY LESS TO VOTERS.) I’M SURE NOT A SINGLE VOTER OUTSIDE OF VIRGINIA WOULD CARE ABOUT THE POLITICAL COMPOSITION OF THAT STATE’S LEGISLATURE. BUT YOUNGKIN TELLS PEOPLE THAT HE BELIEVES HE NEEDS TO TURN THE LEGISLATURE RED IN ORDER TO WIN NATIONAL CREDIBILITY.
ANOTHER BILLIONAIRE COOLING ON DESANTIS: RUPERT MURDOCH, WHO HAS PREFERRED YOUNGKIN SINCE HE MET BOTH OF THEM AT HIS MONTANA RANCH IN THE SPRING. YESTERDAY, THE NEW YORK POST REPORTED THAT DESANTIS HAD TO OFFER HALF-PRICE ADMISSION TO HIS HAMPTONS FUNDRAISER LAST WEEK AND SCRAPPED TWO AFTER A LACK OF INTEREST, A DING FROM A PAPER THAT ONCE CALLED HIM “DEFUTURE.”