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Why Ron DeSantis' campaign is struggling

Florida Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis marches in a Fourth of July parade, July 4, 2023, in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.(Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Florida Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis marches in a Fourth of July parade, July 4, 2023, in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.(Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis launched his 2024 presidential run with several advantages, including his brand as “Trump, plus competence” and lots of money from big donors.

“Clearly major donors want to move on from Donald Trump, and there is a lot of money being spent to try to defeat Donald Trump,” Alex Conant, Republican strategist and founding partner at Firehouse Strategies, says.

But running as “Trump-not-Trump” has put DeSantis in a tough spot — and it’s showing in his sagging poll numbers.

“He wants to be able to criticize Trump, but he does so very softly,” says Tim Miller, writer-at-large for The Bulwark. “He pussyfoots around the issue and then he repeats Trump’s talking points.”

Today, On Point: Why Ron DeSantis’ presidential strategy isn’t working.

Guests

Tim Miller, Writer-at-large for The Bulwark. Co-host of The Next Level podcast. Former communications director for Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign. Former spokesman for the Republican National Committee during Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign. Author of “Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell.”

Mary Ellen Klas, State Capitol bureau chief for the Miami Herald.

Alex Conant, Republican strategist and founding partner at Firehouse Strategies. Former communications director for Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign and Tim Pawlenty’s 2012 presidential campaign.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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