DeSantis’s Debate Strategy: How He Plans to Beat Trump and Win the Presidency
The first Republican presidential debate next week poses a significant challenge for Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. He is grappling with low national poll numbers, a fundraising crunch, and a recent overhaul of his campaign staff. However, a report from The New York Times has now revealed details about DeSantis’ potential approach to the crucial debate, based on documents posted online by a political consulting firm associated with the super political action committee Never Back Down.
The disclosed advice included possible attack lines and debate tactics for DeSantis. Some of the suggestions seemed condescending, urging him to “show emotion” when talking about his wife and children. Other parts of the advice recommended targeting entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who has been gaining ground in the polls.
Having these documents exposed puts DeSantis in a difficult position. If he follows the advice too closely, he risks appearing rehearsed, inauthentic, or controlled by political consultants. On the other hand, ignoring the advice could lead to criticisms of him not meeting expectations, such as by failing to take down Ramaswamy.
DeSantis faces an uphill struggle at the debate, according to Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who worked on Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. He must overcome scepticism and repel greedy rivals. Conant believes that revealing the approach ahead of the discussion was a mistake.
However, DeSantis’ campaign contends that the Never Back Down admonition indicates nothing about his debate tactics. They claim it was not a campaign document and that they were unaware of its existence until The New York Times published an article about it.
The performance of DeSantis on stage during the debate is critical. In previous debates, he was known to appear prickly, and opponents took advantage of his gaffes. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a powerful debater, is one among the potential challengers, as are Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the charismatic Ramaswamy, and even former Vice President Mike Pence.
DeSantis supporters think that the debate would allow him to separate himself from the crowded field of candidates. It will be his first opportunity to tell his experience in front of the greatest audience he has ever faced. He has been practising for the discussion on a regular basis, and he is likely to highlight his suggestions on immigration, the economy, and dealing with China. DeSantis has also started participating in interviews with mainstream news sites, where he has been asked difficult questions.
Former President Donald Trump’s attendance at the debate is still questionable. In any case, taking on Trump will be a problem for DeSantis. The Never Back Down materials instruct him to defend Trump when detractors like Christie attack him, but also to emphasise that he is the candidate who will carry on Trump’s movement.
DeSantis becomes the de facto front-runner in the absence of Trump and may face a storm of insults from opponents. Wearing the bull’s-eye can be unsettling for DeSantis, especially given his history of reacting defensively to criticism. His opponents will seek viral moments that portray him as awkward and robotic, overshadowing his perceived strength as a policy expert or strong leader.
DeSantis’ previous debates with Charlie Crist and Andrew Gillum, his opponents in the Florida governor’s race, do not inspire confidence in his fans. These discussions will be remembered for exchanges that left DeSantis irritated or at a loss for words.
Overall, Governor Ron DeSantis is facing a critical moment with the impending debate. He must negotiate the hurdles given by his opponents, control his performance in the spotlight, and establish his capabilities as a presidential contender in 2024.