Apparently, being a first-class jerk is a prerequisite for being the front-runner in Republican presidential politics. According to many in the media, current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sits atop the leaderboard. The real question, though, is why would that be?
Why would a guy who constantly criticizes the media, whines about anti-conservative bias, and flaunts a no mask policy in the middle of a pandemic, be a Republican voter’s first choice to run for the most powerful office in the world?
We’re left to conclude that it’s because most Republican voters kind of like their candidate to be an asshole. They want him or her to be mean to the media. They love it when someone talks tough and owns the libs daily. Oh, and if you have spoken openly about the fallacy of wearing a mask or shutting down economies to slow down the spread of the worst pandemic in 100 years, it most assuredly catapults your possible nomination into the stratosphere.
Or maybe it’s simply that DeSantis is, for now, the logical successor to the former guy – the disgraced 45th president of the United States. We saw for four years how the misogynistic and racially insensitive commander in chief constantly achieved approval ratings in the low to mid-nineties from the Republican Party. Even today, he’s primarily revered by Republican voters and would be the front-runner were he to announce his candidacy for the 2024 nomination.
So naturally, DeSantis rises to the top of the list. And it appears that some in the media are more than happy to oblige. Recently Politico did a puff piece on him, stating that the Florida governor has exceeded expectations, at least as it pertains to how he handled the pandemic. It was predicted that Florida would do so much worse when DeSantis didn’t shut down the state and didn’t do a mask mandate.
But it wasn’t a total and complete disaster, which for Politico is enough to credit DeSantis as conquering Covid. CNN also weighed in, saying in part, “DeSantis’ gamble to take a laissez-faire approach appears to be paying off, at least politically, for now.”
However, it might be DeSantis’ other ability that makes him especially attractive to Republican voters: He can fling the B.S almost as well as the former guy. Here’s what he said in a fundraising appeal last week: “Everyone told me I was wrong. I faced continued pressure from radical Democrats and the liberal media but refused to back down. It’s clear: Florida got it right.”
Florida got it right? Approximately 2 million Floridians have tested positive, and more than 32,000 have died. The vaccine rollout was a disaster, with lines out the door and lengthy waits – not to mention accusations of political favoritism for who could get the vaccines first. And throughout the pandemic, DeSantis came under fire for whether he manipulated the numbers for political purposes.
But for today’s Republican Party, lying doesn’t matter; stretching the truth is a virtue, and, as DeSantis’ quote above illustrates, sticking it to ‘radical Democrats’ and the ‘liberal media’ means more to them than governing or keeping citizens safe.
It’s never a good idea to float generalizations about a particular person or groups of persons. It certainly could lead one to say it’s nothing but a bias opinion. But how are we supposed to think otherwise when we see the fruits of a four-year disastrous presidency resulting in a January 6 insurrection at our nation’s capital?
Even after the violent attempt to overthrow a lawful and legal election, perpetuated by the former guy himself, is not enough to keep millions in his party from voting for him again. And if he doesn’t run again in 2024, there will be guys like DeSantis ready and willing to take the baton.
Are there Democratic jerks for politicians? Of course – and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo might be at the top of that list. But Democrats, in general, police their own. Prominent leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer have already called for his resignation. When we saw former Senator Al Franken in a photo fake-grabbing a woman’s breasts, his party promptly ran him out of town.
But Republicans these days do not seem interested in such things. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson made explicitly racist comments last week when he said he wasn’t worried one bit about the January 6 rioters because they were law-abiding patriots. If they had been Black Lives Matter or Antifa? Now that would be a different story. He’d be scared of those people.
Not one peep from Republican leadership. No condemnation or demand for an apology. Just Ron Johnson doubling down saying what he stated wasn’t racist at all. Never apologizing for anything, and doubling down on what you said, was the hallmark of the former guy.
It’s jerk politics through and through, perfected by the former guy, and now, a seeming prerequisite for anyone interested in the Republican presidential nomination. There will be others besides DeSantis vying for the crown of who can be the worst of the worst. Seditionist Missouri Senator Josh Hawley surely fits the bill, as does fellow seditionist and Cancun Senator Ted Cruz.
We’re a long way from 2024, but it simply gives the jerks and liars more time to solidify their base of support. If the former guy somehow decides to run again, all comers will meekly and gently step aside. If not, though, lookout. They will fall all over themselves, trying to out-jerk the other.
Republican voters love their jerks. Thankfully, for them, there’s plenty to go around.