A recently posted photograph on social media has shed light on the challenges faced by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. The image depicted an overwhelmingly sparse audience, with more empty green bleachers than attendees at a campaign event in Iowa.
Mr. DeSantis, known as a Republican presidential candidate, had been actively engaging in a series of events across Iowa, including a meet-and-greet at an auction house in Tama. The photograph captured just over three dozen people in attendance at this particular event, raising questions about the level of enthusiasm for his campaign.
Internal discussions within DeSantis’ presidential campaign had hinted at a “reset” in strategy. However, since a somewhat tumultuous campaign launch on Twitter Spaces alongside Elon Musk back in May, characterized by technical issues and poor poll performance, DeSantis has struggled to gain traction in polls and establish meaningful connections with voters in early primary states. The Washington Times reached out to Mr. DeSantis’ campaign for commentary on the photograph, highlighting the significance of the visual portrayal of the event’s attendance.
Desantis Event Photograph Shared By Trump:
Former President Donald Trump, a prominent figure in the Republican Party, further contributed to the conversation by sharing the photograph on his social media platform. He referred to Mr. DeSantis as “DeSanctimonious” in a not-so-subtle jab. Trump also shared another photograph from a DeSantis campaign livestream event in Cedar Falls, Iowa, which reportedly had a mere 10 active viewers, adding a sarcastic “WOW.”
Recent weeks saw efforts from the “let Ron be Ron” faction within the DeSantis campaign, as they pushed for a renewed agenda. This involved scheduling numerous appearances for the Florida Governor around Iowa, with the aim of forging connections with Iowa Republican caucus voters. While some of these events were well attended, others were marked by low turnout, culminating in the photograph circulating over the weekend.
Tim Miller, a writer at The Bulwark, shared an image on social media, depicting a sparsely populated crowd at Spanky’s Livestock Auction on Saturday. The image garnered substantial attention, amassing more than 935,600 views since its sharing on August 5.
Miller acknowledged that DeSantis was engaged in a variety of events that weekend, implying that not all gatherings suffered from such low attendance. This situation was characterized as a consequence of the campaign’s reboot and the necessity to hold multiple smaller events in an attempt to connect with voters. Nevertheless, skepticism was apparent in the tweet that concluded, “If this is the reboot, maybe it’s worth uninstalling the most recent update.”
The challenges faced by the DeSantis campaign extend beyond event attendance. Recent reporting by Bloomberg has highlighted the internal struggles of the campaign, with allegations of a lack of coherent strategy and message. Anonymous sources familiar with the campaign’s workings have indicated disorganization, with different teams pursuing their own agendas and limited communication between groups. Even posting official messages on social media has been bogged down by bureaucracy, with Governor DeSantis and his wife personally approving many messages, causing delays in responding to campaign developments.
The campaign leadership’s concerns are apparent at the highest levels, as they fear that the operation’s flaws are endangering DeSantis’ chances of securing the GOP nomination. Furthermore, despite DeSantis’ impressive record as Florida Governor, his connection with voters is questioned, raising doubts about his ability to secure the nomination.
A recent photograph depicting a sparsely attended livestock auction site is seen as more of a warning signal than a campaign-ending event. However, it symbolizes a series of alarms that have been ringing within DeSantis’ campaign headquarters for weeks, signaling the need for substantial course correction.
The campaign’s financial situation also adds to its challenges. The largest financial supporter of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential aspirations, Las Vegas billionaire Robert Bigelow, has indicated that further funding hinges on policy moderation and the ability to convince significant backers of DeSantis’ viability. Bigelow contributed $20 million to the super PAC supporting DeSantis’ campaign, a substantial portion of the organization’s initial fundraising of $48.1 million. He emphasizes the need for DeSantis to appeal to moderates in order to ensure success, expressing concern that extremism won’t lead to victory.
The campaign’s recent woes have been compounded by gaffes and scandals, including the firing of a campaign speechwriter for creating a video with Nazi imagery, financial irregularities involving consultant Jeff Roe’s network of companies, and leaks exposing a divisive communications strategy. The campaign’s struggles to attract small donors and declining performance in state primary polls have further complicated its situation.
At last, the challenges facing Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign are multi-faceted, encompassing issues of attendance, strategy, message coherence, and financial backing. The criticism and skepticism voiced by multiple sources, including within the campaign and external figures like former President Trump and billionaire donor Robert Bigelow, paint a complex picture of a campaign in need of urgent adjustment.