Here is my recap of the launch of the DeSantis and Musk campaign.
As you should know by now, it all started with a huge, humiliating technical glitch that brought down the entire Twitter space. Twenty minutes or so later (I didn’t time it) they launched a new one – now hosted on the account of Musk’s friend David Sachs rather than Musk’s account – and this one basically worked. Huge failure. And it will probably make headlines for most news organizations. DeSantis then read a hurried and prepared campaign announcement that was essentially a mess. But once they get down to talking, DeSantis is pretty good at talking about issues that are important to him.
The problem is what matters to him. This is a very, very, very online campaign. Extremely online, as the tough guys say. The whole conversation is directed to the world of keyboard warriors of the far right.
To understand what I mean, think of it this way. What issues will the winning Republican presidential campaign tackle in 2024? I would say inflation/economic malaise, border, weakness abroad, crime. DeSantis, Musk, and host David Sacks settled on the topic of immigration near the end, almost admitting it barely even came up at all. Basically, the whole conversation was about everyone lashing out at Elon Musk for buying Twitter, redeeming those who spoke the truth who were banned under the old Twitter regime. After that, there were mainstream media, DEI and “gender ideology”. The only thru-line that brought most of them together was the re-examination of COVID lockdowns.
For the most part, it’s super, super niche stuff. Even the COVID debate, which has a deeper reach, has taken a very niche place. Most people probably won’t even realize that the things these guys were talking about helped. Lots of jargon, very internal stuff.
One way to sum up the conversation, which was about 50%, was that various guests said that Elon Musk is absolutely amazing; the other 40% were DeSantis, who said DeSantis was absolutely amazing. I budget 10% in case the connection fails.
Near the end, as they delved into the “awakening crowd,” arming banking and more, an excited Sachs said that President DeSantis would be “a cold-blooded, ruthless killer” who would destroy the awakened crowd. and anxious. Most people don’t try to elect a top ninja or mass shooter. This is what estranged teens are saying on their gaming Discord channels or maybe 4chan between Sprite chugs.
As a result, DeSantis did get it step if those themes are your themes. But they are not the topics of most people. This is a group of people who are really into “Twitter Files” and share memes on social media. In any case, most news coverage will initially only focus on the unfortunate technological crisis. So it probably doesn’t even matter.
While all of this was going on, conservative commentator Eric Erickson noted that… sure, it was an embarrassment, but no one ever remembers campaign launches, and these things basically don’t matter by the time you get to the general election. Hey right. DeSantis’ problem is that his campaign will be over by the time you get to the general election. In fact, it’s already over. He just doesn’t know it yet. Most of the press fails to acknowledge this fact. If he still has a chance, the chances are good. He needs some really strong and game-changing headlines right now. It definitely wasn’t.