X Close

Why Ron DeSantis can’t meme The Online Right has no time for frauds

Buyer's remorse is setting in (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Buyer's remorse is setting in (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


June 1, 2023   6 mins

Once upon a time, the Republican primaries were a soporific spectacle of speeches, policy discussions and debates. That all changed in 2016, when Trump’s trolling army descended on a sedate slate of centrists; Jeb Bush, for instance, was reduced to meme fodder, begging audiences to “please clap” for him. This time around, however, a fully fledged meme war is playing out — the battle for the soul of the Online Right.

At first glance, this group — made up of internet-savvy provocateurs, anonymous contributors, eccentric celebrities, and some vestigial “alt-Right” figureheads — still seems to be supporting Donald Trump, their once and future president. In 2016, they viewed him as a figure of entertainment, a political outsider who was wittily disruptive and assumed the status of a fantastical, Warhammer-esque “God-Emperor”. The portly University of Chicago graduate William Thomas Clark, also known as “Kantbot”, was among those who fervently amplified this narrative, riding a small wave of internet virality after he was filmed shrieking about Trump “completing the system of German idealism”.

Though pollsters and political scientists continue to debate the extent to which this group swayed the outcome of the election, there’s little doubt that their online activities played a role in shaping the larger narrative. Their memes and posts, known for their unique blend of political cynicism, irreverence and humour, served to attract some undecided voters and further embolden Trump supporters. Twitter user @Ricky_Vaughn99, one of the most prominent and vitriolic voices within this community, expressed a keen insight into the fiery populist movements emerging on both the Left and Right. “There is definitely anger among the youth,” he told me in 2016. “The Bernie people are angry. The #BlackLivesMatter people are angry.” (Vaughn, it bears noting, was later outed as Douglass Mackey and convicted by a federal jury of depriving individuals of their constitutional right to vote for his role in a conspiracy that used memes to convince black voters to vote via text, which is not possible.)

Trump, a master of obtaining free publicity in his own right, benefited immensely from the countless articles scrutinising the role of the alt-Right in his campaign — articles of which I wrote more than my fair share. However, it was only after the election, as the alt-Right splintered into factions such as the “Post-Left”, the “Based Right” and a partly tongue-in-cheek, partly earnest “racist Right”, that the complexity of the Online Right’s influence began to fully reveal itself.

Into this arena steps Ron DeSantis, an exceedingly unexciting and well-qualified gentleman known for his relentless pursuit of upper-middle-class excellence. Whether it was leading his Yale baseball team in batting average, graduating with honours from Harvard Law School, or earning a Bronze Star and other military medals in Iraq, DeSantis has consistently demonstrated an unwavering dedication to lining his CV. And now, he’s aiming to add the support of the Online Right to it.

As befits such a plodding overachiever, DeSantis’s approach has been methodical and overt. His systematic attempts to usurp Trump’s dominance in this arena reveal his characteristic ambition, yet also underscore a glaring deficiency in political charisma. Despite his obvious intellect, DeSantis’s rigid demeanour and unusually high-pitched voice can seem off-putting to those accustomed to Trump’s brash and theatrical style.

In a move that couldn’t be more emblematic of his ham-fisted efforts to capture the Online Right, DeSantis chose to formally announce his candidacy in a glitch-ridden Twitter Spaces session, alongside none other than Elon Musk, a veritable rock star within these circles. Despite technical difficulties and a less-than-stellar audience count of around 150,000 listeners, DeSantis pressed on, evidently reading his campaign announcement off a script. Immediately afterwards, DeSantis’s campaign released a video featuring Musk so prominently that one might have mistaken him for DeSantis’s running mate.

Elsewhere, DeSantis’s campaign seems to have actively courted Seth Dillon, the head of the Right-leaning satire site, The Babylon Bee. In return, apparently, the Bee has been churning out pro-DeSantis content in support of his ongoing dispute with Disney, and even purging those who publicly clash with DeSantis’s associates. Only last week, for instance, Gavin Mario Wax, a pro-Trump Bee staffer, was unceremoniously fired by Dillon for a brusque tweet directed at Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’s top media advisor. The spat culminated in Dillon telling Wax — via Twitter, of course, because this is how HR business is transacted today — to remove his association with The Bee from his Twitter bio, triggering a fiery response from its readers, particularly those loyal to Trump.

As DeSantis wrestled with these issues, Trump, who had seemed adrift on the meme and comedy performance fronts for months, found his groove again with a lively CNN Town Hall. Trump delighted the audience with memorably nasty lines, showing a return to form that contrasted starkly with his opponent’s struggles. Later, on the day of DeSantis’s fraught Twitter Spaces event, Trump’s team did not miss the opportunity to land a body blow: they shared a bizarre fan-made parody of the event, which was doctored to include figures such as Hitler, George Soros, and the devil. And the jabs didn’t end there. Donald Trump Jr. later posted an AI-generated video featuring DeSantis superimposed onto Steve Carell’s character from The Office.

Not everyone in the Online Right was forthcoming with applause, however. For instance, prominent figurehead @LindyMan, a lawyer named Paul Skallas, misses the charm of the 2016 meme war. In a now-deleted tweet, he mourned the loss of “crude photoshops”, deeming the recent onslaught of Trump memes “too much” and comparing their appearance to “encountering a neanderthal on the street”. Despite this, a number of high-profile Online Right figures have told me that Trump still maintains an edge as a captivating figure. But even so, the tenor of the meme landscape has undoubtedly evolved since 2016. Back then, the goal was conversion; today, the aim seems to be to galvanise an existing base.

By this metric, Trump’s recent performance is certainly better than it was following his 2020 loss, though not quite at its 2016 peak. DeSantis, meanwhile, merely provides meme material, Ă  la Jeb Bush, through a persona that lends itself to ridicule. His technical debacle during the Twitter Spaces event didn’t help his cause either. The stark contrast between the two candidates only fed the popular alpha/beta dichotomy that fuels many Online Right memes.

Even the proxy battles, such as the Babylon Bee incident, have taken an eccentric turn. An otherwise unremarkable Twitter scrap between Claremont fellow Dave Reaboi, a DeSantis supporter, and Trump-backing pundit Scott Greer led to an amusing ad hominem exchange over physical stature, age and marital status. This might seem absurd and pointless, yet it aligns with the dynamics of an online arena that amplifies and distorts, especially during political primaries.

These online dust-ups, all too easily dismissed as mere noise, play a critical role in shaping the narrative of a primary election. As thousands of them unfold in real time, they offer raw material for the media to dissect and amplify, drawing attention away from policy issues and focusing instead on personality clashes and personal drama. This can have a significant distorting effect, as perceptions of the candidates end up being influenced as much by these disputes as by their actual policy positions or leadership abilities — two areas in which DeSantis, at least on paper, would seem to hold an edge over Trump. Some Online Right posters have told me they hate seeing their cohort descend into this sort of linguistic violence, but this is precisely what happens during a political dogfight: a political poster can choose to either see the show — and thus risk losing the war for attention — or weigh in and gain followers by being the show.

In such a scenario, how can DeSantis hope to win? At present, his primary tactic seems to be to harvest online discourse and then turn off the internet — with the result that his attempts to sell himself to the Online Right come across as an application for admission to Harvard rather than genuine engagement. It’s as though the group’s highly memeable and mockable concerns — lax policing, black-on-white and black-on-black crime, corporate and public school diversity programming, transgender rights, unsafe lockdowns and hastily released vaccines — have been diluted in his new strategic approach, which merely involves attempting to address these concerns through legislation.

In other words, DeSantis, a decidedly offline figure, is attempting to serve up a beggar’s banquet of Online Right issues. The problem is that this offering feels disingenuous to the intended consumer. It’s akin to a diner at a restaurant, peering down at the plate of food they’ve ordered from DeSantis’s meme-inspired menu. A friend notices their hesitation and asks: “Is there a problem?” The diner responds: “This is what I ordered, but now that I see it, I realise it was a bad choice.” It’s as if there’s a growing sense of buyer’s remorse with regard to the dullness of DeSantis, or a shock that he is either cynically or selflessly attempting to turn their smoke-filled chatroom banter into a cohesive political platform.

From this perspective, the overarching lesson is that the best and most viral memes cannot be forced into existence through market research (a lesson Hillary Clinton’s social media team learnt all too well). They are an improvisational performance that one can neither script nor control. And, for the time being, despite his age and political scars, Trump remains the most adroit improviser in the Republican field. As we hurtle towards the 2024 election, this tale of two meme strategies will continue to unfold. For now, though, “The Donald” still appears to be winning the war.


Oliver Bateman is a historian and journalist based in Pittsburgh. He blogs, vlogs, and podcasts at his Substack, Oliver Bateman Does the Work

MoustacheClubUS

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

35 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
T Bone
T Bone
11 months ago

Reading Fake Narratives like this makes me like DeSantis even more.  Go watch his 2022 Victory Speech and then tell me he’s got no personality.   Compare his policies to Trump and then decide who’s the “RINO.” The comparisons to Jeb and Romney are silly. He’s not coming from a Political Dynasty. He’s worked his way to the top. He triggers what Nietzsche called ressentiment in people that reject the idea of Meritocracy. Meritocracy is a policy the Political Establishment doesn’t appreciate.

I’ve never seen so many people threatened by “a guy that poses no threat.”  The reality is that DeSantis is an extremely competent Public Servant in a world where few exist.  And that’s the knock on him. He’s good at his job. The Press wants a personality contest while the world spins out of control because that’s what they do…Narrate Drama. DeSantis makes it very hard for the Press to attack his ideas. When they do they end up defending objectively insane positions. So basically what we’re seeing is a Press that doesn’t want a Public Debate about Ideas.

DeSantis probably won’t win the nomination but no Republican can win the the Presidency anyways.  Republicans could reincarnate Lincoln and even he couldn’t beat the entire Press Establishment and new collectivist voting system.

Conservatives should focus on local control and rejecting Progressive Corporatism.  The pendulum isn’t going to swing until Gramsci and Marcuse’s culture is rejected and we return to some form of Meritocracy.  The Right will get roasted in the Press for their spats but they’re starting to win back the culture.  Does anybody think Progressivism is cool any more?  Name a funny comedian that doesn’t reject the new cultural hegemony?

Last edited 11 months ago by T Bone
Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
11 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Aye Aye! Reading Bateman in general, and this article in particular, is a continual reminder how much the Left needs Trump to be the Republican candidate – painting Desantis as somehow unelectable because of his competence.

But the night is young and Desantis is just getting his mojo workin’.

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
11 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Excellent!

jim peden
jim peden
11 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Meritocracy is a policy the Political Establishment doesn’t appreciate

You hit the nail on the head there!
DeSantis seems to have been one of the few people in power who actually made the effort to look at the counter arguments during the Covid catastrophe. He allowed the dissenters to express their rational views and as a result was able to justify removing the pointless and counterproductive mask mandates from Florida much earlier.
I don’t get a vote but I think he’d make a good US President – probably why he’ll never get the job.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
11 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Aye Aye! Reading Bateman in general, and this article in particular, is a continual reminder how much the Left needs Trump to be the Republican candidate – painting Desantis as somehow unelectable because of his competence.

But the night is young and Desantis is just getting his mojo workin’.

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
11 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Excellent!

jim peden
jim peden
11 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Meritocracy is a policy the Political Establishment doesn’t appreciate

You hit the nail on the head there!
DeSantis seems to have been one of the few people in power who actually made the effort to look at the counter arguments during the Covid catastrophe. He allowed the dissenters to express their rational views and as a result was able to justify removing the pointless and counterproductive mask mandates from Florida much earlier.
I don’t get a vote but I think he’d make a good US President – probably why he’ll never get the job.

T Bone
T Bone
11 months ago

Reading Fake Narratives like this makes me like DeSantis even more.  Go watch his 2022 Victory Speech and then tell me he’s got no personality.   Compare his policies to Trump and then decide who’s the “RINO.” The comparisons to Jeb and Romney are silly. He’s not coming from a Political Dynasty. He’s worked his way to the top. He triggers what Nietzsche called ressentiment in people that reject the idea of Meritocracy. Meritocracy is a policy the Political Establishment doesn’t appreciate.

I’ve never seen so many people threatened by “a guy that poses no threat.”  The reality is that DeSantis is an extremely competent Public Servant in a world where few exist.  And that’s the knock on him. He’s good at his job. The Press wants a personality contest while the world spins out of control because that’s what they do…Narrate Drama. DeSantis makes it very hard for the Press to attack his ideas. When they do they end up defending objectively insane positions. So basically what we’re seeing is a Press that doesn’t want a Public Debate about Ideas.

DeSantis probably won’t win the nomination but no Republican can win the the Presidency anyways.  Republicans could reincarnate Lincoln and even he couldn’t beat the entire Press Establishment and new collectivist voting system.

Conservatives should focus on local control and rejecting Progressive Corporatism.  The pendulum isn’t going to swing until Gramsci and Marcuse’s culture is rejected and we return to some form of Meritocracy.  The Right will get roasted in the Press for their spats but they’re starting to win back the culture.  Does anybody think Progressivism is cool any more?  Name a funny comedian that doesn’t reject the new cultural hegemony?

Last edited 11 months ago by T Bone
J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago

The internet has put a new shine on an old story: the glad-hander, kisser-of-babies, showman politician enthuses voters more than the dull but competent opponent. I still believe DeSantis would be a more effective president than Trump, but he’s not charismatic and the msm have their knives out for him now (I sometimes read Politico and I’ve concluded it must have formed a special task force just to write negative coverage of DeSantis). Maybe, just this once, substance will triumph over showmanship, but I’m not convinced.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Maybe you read in the Twitter Papers that media heavweights got together for what they called a table-top exercise (a term borrowed from the military) to decide how to handle the Hunter Biden laptop story, which they decided was to ignore it entirely in the two weeks before the election. And then it was blown off afterward as “old news.”

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Maybe you read in the Twitter Papers that media heavweights got together for what they called a table-top exercise (a term borrowed from the military) to decide how to handle the Hunter Biden laptop story, which they decided was to ignore it entirely in the two weeks before the election. And then it was blown off afterward as “old news.”

J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago

The internet has put a new shine on an old story: the glad-hander, kisser-of-babies, showman politician enthuses voters more than the dull but competent opponent. I still believe DeSantis would be a more effective president than Trump, but he’s not charismatic and the msm have their knives out for him now (I sometimes read Politico and I’ve concluded it must have formed a special task force just to write negative coverage of DeSantis). Maybe, just this once, substance will triumph over showmanship, but I’m not convinced.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago

What Ron DeSantis really needs to do is convince Republican voters he will not just be another Bush or Romney. When former Trump voters say they want to move on from Trump, what is unsaid is they also have moved on from Paul Ryan era neoconservatism. If they see the choice as between Trump and another neocon, they will go with Trump again. If only because they think the party did not get the message the first time around. At least DeSantis still has enough respect and dignity from GOP voters to possibly turn things around. Anyone see the pathetic shows that are Nikki Haley or Vivek Ramaswamy? How about even meeting someone who is somewhat enthusiastic about Chris Christie or Mike Pence?

J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I agree except for Ramaswamy. He calls out the corporate bs around wokeness better than anyone and he has set forth credible policy positions on a variety of issues. But he’s trailing far behind in the polls so I doubt his candidacy will go anywhere, or maybe this is his trial run for 2028.

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

And how I love RFK.

I dream of him displacing the utterly Evil Biden.

If it possible I would go for a Trump/R F Kennedy ticket, a reconciliation Party Ticket. That would be so great. Then ‘Drain the Swamp’!ï»ż

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

RFK is a real problem for the Democrats. He comes from Democrat royalty – even if he is a black sheep – and when he talks about his uncle and father being murdered by the CIA it is hard to ignore him. Certainly if anyone is entitled to talk about that topic it is him. Even though he is a true anti-vaxer Covid vaccines have given him a pretty sympathetic reception with much of the population when he starts pounding away at the CDC and big pharma. Finally – it is going to hard for Biden to avoid a debate if there is a serious contender and JFK would tear him to shreds. I don’t think he would hold back on showing how corrupt the Biden family is since RFK has no real interest in protecting the Democratic Party. In many ways he is like Trump in that regard.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

There’s a fundamental ‘flakiness’ with Robert Kennedy which will not take him over the line, not to mention his drug-fueled former life, his family problems and his family’s legacy.

T Bone
T Bone
11 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Or it’s the fact that he can’t get on a debate stage because “The Party” doesn’t practice Democracy, despite the name!

T Bone
T Bone
11 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Or it’s the fact that he can’t get on a debate stage because “The Party” doesn’t practice Democracy, despite the name!

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

RFK is going to be a big problem for DeSantis. Though DeSantis is a latecomer to the anti-science movement, RFK was one of the original leftist antivaxers who opposed childhood vaccinations before antivax sentiment spread to the right with Covid. In addition, he has held on to the lefty luddite antinuclear and food faddist demographics. These are all sticks he is going to lambaste DeSantis with in the primaries.
To put it another way, RFK has the bull manure vote all locked up. He can easily brand DeSantis as a latecomer.

Last edited 11 months ago by Alan Gore
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

There’s a fundamental ‘flakiness’ with Robert Kennedy which will not take him over the line, not to mention his drug-fueled former life, his family problems and his family’s legacy.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

RFK is going to be a big problem for DeSantis. Though DeSantis is a latecomer to the anti-science movement, RFK was one of the original leftist antivaxers who opposed childhood vaccinations before antivax sentiment spread to the right with Covid. In addition, he has held on to the lefty luddite antinuclear and food faddist demographics. These are all sticks he is going to lambaste DeSantis with in the primaries.
To put it another way, RFK has the bull manure vote all locked up. He can easily brand DeSantis as a latecomer.

Last edited 11 months ago by Alan Gore
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

Another pseudonym Sanford?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Leopard and spots and all that.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Leopard and spots and all that.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

A DeSantis/RFK ticket would be better.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

I guess we can all fantasize. I often think that if Trump and DiSantis could cooperate, with DiSantis as a makee-learn VP, we might see 12 years of conservatism. Trump antagonizes and polarizes a lot of people with his oafish communication style (and although his substance was good, oddly for a seasoned executive, he was not well-served 2016-2020) — whereas DiSantis is a bit of dark horse who needs proving that he is not on the hither side of RINO. A joint ticket would definitely knock the Democrats, burdened by the dismal Biden years, right off the board.

Last edited 11 months ago by E. L. Herndon
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

RFK is a real problem for the Democrats. He comes from Democrat royalty – even if he is a black sheep – and when he talks about his uncle and father being murdered by the CIA it is hard to ignore him. Certainly if anyone is entitled to talk about that topic it is him. Even though he is a true anti-vaxer Covid vaccines have given him a pretty sympathetic reception with much of the population when he starts pounding away at the CDC and big pharma. Finally – it is going to hard for Biden to avoid a debate if there is a serious contender and JFK would tear him to shreds. I don’t think he would hold back on showing how corrupt the Biden family is since RFK has no real interest in protecting the Democratic Party. In many ways he is like Trump in that regard.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

Another pseudonym Sanford?

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

A DeSantis/RFK ticket would be better.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

I guess we can all fantasize. I often think that if Trump and DiSantis could cooperate, with DiSantis as a makee-learn VP, we might see 12 years of conservatism. Trump antagonizes and polarizes a lot of people with his oafish communication style (and although his substance was good, oddly for a seasoned executive, he was not well-served 2016-2020) — whereas DiSantis is a bit of dark horse who needs proving that he is not on the hither side of RINO. A joint ticket would definitely knock the Democrats, burdened by the dismal Biden years, right off the board.

Last edited 11 months ago by E. L. Herndon
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

This is correct. Trump supporters hate the Republican Party almost more than they hate the Democrats. They only see it as a useful vehicle for Trump and Trumpism and they will never back a moderate candidate.

J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I agree except for Ramaswamy. He calls out the corporate bs around wokeness better than anyone and he has set forth credible policy positions on a variety of issues. But he’s trailing far behind in the polls so I doubt his candidacy will go anywhere, or maybe this is his trial run for 2028.

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

And how I love RFK.

I dream of him displacing the utterly Evil Biden.

If it possible I would go for a Trump/R F Kennedy ticket, a reconciliation Party Ticket. That would be so great. Then ‘Drain the Swamp’!ï»ż

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

This is correct. Trump supporters hate the Republican Party almost more than they hate the Democrats. They only see it as a useful vehicle for Trump and Trumpism and they will never back a moderate candidate.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago

What Ron DeSantis really needs to do is convince Republican voters he will not just be another Bush or Romney. When former Trump voters say they want to move on from Trump, what is unsaid is they also have moved on from Paul Ryan era neoconservatism. If they see the choice as between Trump and another neocon, they will go with Trump again. If only because they think the party did not get the message the first time around. At least DeSantis still has enough respect and dignity from GOP voters to possibly turn things around. Anyone see the pathetic shows that are Nikki Haley or Vivek Ramaswamy? How about even meeting someone who is somewhat enthusiastic about Chris Christie or Mike Pence?

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
11 months ago

‘These online dust-ups, all too easily dismissed as mere noise, play a critical role in shaping the narrative of a primary election.’
Evidence please? I’m as amused as the next person by jaded online memery, but I don’t kid myself that it’s going to overly concern voters in Michigan or Montana.
This is the Heavily Online overstating their importance as usual. Twitter isn’t the real-world. Nor is 4Chan or any number of click-bait angry YouTubers.
ï»żAlthough the Babylon Bee is much funnier than The Onion.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

“Twitter isn’t the real-world.”
ï»żI want to agree with this… but honestly I am not sure what *is* the “real world” now. People seem to talk an awful lot about social media blather around the water cooler and elsewhere in real life. What else is there to talk about? Or should I say, how else could we talk? We no longer have common sources of news and entertainment, and the entire idea of the “American cultural consensus” that provided so many common points of reference for so long, is under attack as ‘white supremacy’ or ‘anti-trans’ or whatever. Now they’ve rewritten James Bond to make him less objectionable, and Dr. Seuss, too. We no longer have anything stable to stand on, in the “real world” or on-line.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kirk Susong
Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

At the risk of telling you what you already know, there isn’t any evidence. Bateman just thinks there is, because he immerses himself in this crap, without realising that – as you say – voters in Michigan or Minnesota don’t.

DA Johnson
DA Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

That paragraph continues to say that those online dust-ups are “drawing attention away from policy issues and focusing instead on personality clashes and personal drama”–which is exactly what this article is doing. Oliver Bateman sneers at DeSantis for his achievements, apparently preferring politicians whose only skill is to produce–or be the subject of–viral memes. Character and competence are infinitely more important.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

“Twitter isn’t the real-world.”
ï»żI want to agree with this… but honestly I am not sure what *is* the “real world” now. People seem to talk an awful lot about social media blather around the water cooler and elsewhere in real life. What else is there to talk about? Or should I say, how else could we talk? We no longer have common sources of news and entertainment, and the entire idea of the “American cultural consensus” that provided so many common points of reference for so long, is under attack as ‘white supremacy’ or ‘anti-trans’ or whatever. Now they’ve rewritten James Bond to make him less objectionable, and Dr. Seuss, too. We no longer have anything stable to stand on, in the “real world” or on-line.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kirk Susong
Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

At the risk of telling you what you already know, there isn’t any evidence. Bateman just thinks there is, because he immerses himself in this crap, without realising that – as you say – voters in Michigan or Minnesota don’t.

DA Johnson
DA Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

That paragraph continues to say that those online dust-ups are “drawing attention away from policy issues and focusing instead on personality clashes and personal drama”–which is exactly what this article is doing. Oliver Bateman sneers at DeSantis for his achievements, apparently preferring politicians whose only skill is to produce–or be the subject of–viral memes. Character and competence are infinitely more important.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
11 months ago

‘These online dust-ups, all too easily dismissed as mere noise, play a critical role in shaping the narrative of a primary election.’
Evidence please? I’m as amused as the next person by jaded online memery, but I don’t kid myself that it’s going to overly concern voters in Michigan or Montana.
This is the Heavily Online overstating their importance as usual. Twitter isn’t the real-world. Nor is 4Chan or any number of click-bait angry YouTubers.
ï»żAlthough the Babylon Bee is much funnier than The Onion.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago

What a truly pathetic spectacle. If American politics is to be decided by lots of nerdy virgins sharing memes on Twitter then it shows what a basket case the whole system is over there. Policy seems to be almost irrelevant

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago

What a truly pathetic spectacle. If American politics is to be decided by lots of nerdy virgins sharing memes on Twitter then it shows what a basket case the whole system is over there. Policy seems to be almost irrelevant

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
11 months ago

Desantis wrecked his hopes by his flip-flop on the Ukraine War.

As every decent human would, he came out against funding the Proxy war at first, but then the Mainstream Republicans, the Neo-Con branch of military Industrialists, Uni-party, RHINOs got him in a back room and straightened him out – No peace talk cr* p if he wanted campaign funds. War and Black Rock and Vanguard are Good Business – so he burst back out as Pro War.

This was a spot light on his being under the thumb of the Corporatist Donor Class – and all that great aura of Honour and doing the right thing no matter what – that got trashed. His Swamp side showed.

By the way – how you can write (and with a lot of TDS, as always) on the Republican Primaries and not mention ‘Rumble’? shows you are not really up on things. That is where the MAGA hang out a lot – I often recommend the dreaded ‘Salty Cracker’ monologues there if people want to feel the pulse of the Populist Right. He will do one tonight….

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

It was not even so much his position as how quickly he reversed it under pressure. GOP voters are looking for someone who will not just cave in to whatever the donor wing of the party wants.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

You think voters are so naive believing Trump, that he can finish the war in one day? The first priority in the US isn’t foreign policy, but the economy. Trump seemed to be awfully quiet on the recent budget discussions. DeSantis is a much more fiscally conservative politician than Trump. Florida has a $21.8 Billion Budget Surplus. The US is hurtling towards bankruptcy, if presidents (including Trump) keep spending like if there is no tomorrow.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

You think voters are so naive believing Trump, that he can finish the war in one day? The first priority in the US isn’t foreign policy, but the economy. Trump seemed to be awfully quiet on the recent budget discussions. DeSantis is a much more fiscally conservative politician than Trump. Florida has a $21.8 Billion Budget Surplus. The US is hurtling towards bankruptcy, if presidents (including Trump) keep spending like if there is no tomorrow.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

It was not even so much his position as how quickly he reversed it under pressure. GOP voters are looking for someone who will not just cave in to whatever the donor wing of the party wants.

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
11 months ago

Desantis wrecked his hopes by his flip-flop on the Ukraine War.

As every decent human would, he came out against funding the Proxy war at first, but then the Mainstream Republicans, the Neo-Con branch of military Industrialists, Uni-party, RHINOs got him in a back room and straightened him out – No peace talk cr* p if he wanted campaign funds. War and Black Rock and Vanguard are Good Business – so he burst back out as Pro War.

This was a spot light on his being under the thumb of the Corporatist Donor Class – and all that great aura of Honour and doing the right thing no matter what – that got trashed. His Swamp side showed.

By the way – how you can write (and with a lot of TDS, as always) on the Republican Primaries and not mention ‘Rumble’? shows you are not really up on things. That is where the MAGA hang out a lot – I often recommend the dreaded ‘Salty Cracker’ monologues there if people want to feel the pulse of the Populist Right. He will do one tonight….

Rob N
Rob N
11 months ago

Odd. I don’t get the impression that RDS is boring (but then maybe I am) BUT even if he was I would not care. I would be very happy, now as always, with a competent and sane President.
Biden is certainly not sane in either a medical or philosophical case but, frighteningly, he/his administration may be competent. And that is really terrifying; that all this chaos and destruction is intentional.
Bring on boring and sane.

Rob N
Rob N
11 months ago

Odd. I don’t get the impression that RDS is boring (but then maybe I am) BUT even if he was I would not care. I would be very happy, now as always, with a competent and sane President.
Biden is certainly not sane in either a medical or philosophical case but, frighteningly, he/his administration may be competent. And that is really terrifying; that all this chaos and destruction is intentional.
Bring on boring and sane.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago

Despite his thin pretense of fair-minded analysis, this chipmonk-cheeked laptop jockey is clearly in the Trump camp. As time goes on, DeSantis’ calm stability will grow on voters as the smart-ass showmanship of the other guy turns more off. Unlike gigglers on the fringe like Bateman, people see the election as something rather more serious than watching a kind of infotainment. I hope DeSantis reminds voters of Trump’s inability to finish the wall and the many draft deferments he pulled off in a time of war. A lot of people forget that, but Ron’s service with the Navy and the SEALS gives him grounding to comment on the windbag’s heel spurs. Ha ha. Heel spurs!

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago

Despite his thin pretense of fair-minded analysis, this chipmonk-cheeked laptop jockey is clearly in the Trump camp. As time goes on, DeSantis’ calm stability will grow on voters as the smart-ass showmanship of the other guy turns more off. Unlike gigglers on the fringe like Bateman, people see the election as something rather more serious than watching a kind of infotainment. I hope DeSantis reminds voters of Trump’s inability to finish the wall and the many draft deferments he pulled off in a time of war. A lot of people forget that, but Ron’s service with the Navy and the SEALS gives him grounding to comment on the windbag’s heel spurs. Ha ha. Heel spurs!

James Kirk
James Kirk
11 months ago

Trump only gets another 4 years yes? Let RDS have a go afterwards. The world was a safer place pre Biden and Woke must go.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
11 months ago
Reply to  James Kirk

Trump will lose again at the ballot box in 2024. You don’t know how many Americans are turned off by Trump, especially the Independents. DeSantis is the only hope for the Republicans to win against Biden. I also know many Republican, who voted for Biden in 2000, because they can’t stand Trump.The Trump base is not enough to win an election.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
11 months ago
Reply to  James Kirk

Trump will lose again at the ballot box in 2024. You don’t know how many Americans are turned off by Trump, especially the Independents. DeSantis is the only hope for the Republicans to win against Biden. I also know many Republican, who voted for Biden in 2000, because they can’t stand Trump.The Trump base is not enough to win an election.

James Kirk
James Kirk
11 months ago

Trump only gets another 4 years yes? Let RDS have a go afterwards. The world was a safer place pre Biden and Woke must go.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
11 months ago

One of the things that has impressed me over the past few years is how the Hispanic vote in southern Texas along the Mexican border has trended strongly Republican.
Was that because of social media? Or brilliant campaigns? Or ordinary people talking to each other?
You make the call.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
11 months ago

One of the things that has impressed me over the past few years is how the Hispanic vote in southern Texas along the Mexican border has trended strongly Republican.
Was that because of social media? Or brilliant campaigns? Or ordinary people talking to each other?
You make the call.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
11 months ago

I’m a classical liberal and find the left vastly more lethal than the conservatives and have had to vote conservative for the last few elections. And will again pretty much without regard as far as the candidate is concerned. De Santis is one hell of a man. It would be a pleasure to vote for him although I would less happily support the Donald if the situation reduced to that option or the insane left.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
11 months ago

I’m a classical liberal and find the left vastly more lethal than the conservatives and have had to vote conservative for the last few elections. And will again pretty much without regard as far as the candidate is concerned. De Santis is one hell of a man. It would be a pleasure to vote for him although I would less happily support the Donald if the situation reduced to that option or the insane left.

N T
N T
11 months ago

I would like to think of myself as a member of the online right. Desantis was absolutely our guy during covid. He was absolutely our guy when insurance reform came, when a hurricane came, when Florida said, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and I will give them churros, and beautiful beaches, and no state income tax.”
He was absolutely our guy when the Parental Rights in Education bill was proposed. Of course third graders shouldn’t be exposed to sexual materials. We were cheering for him. He was going to be Reagan 2.0, and Trump was going to just fade away.
Then Disney decided to go methlab, picking the dumbest fight, ever. Desantis couldn’t just let it lie. He couldn’t say something pithy, and let Disney be ignorant and dig their own hole. No. He had to go full baby bully tyrant.
He did it in a way that stinks of unconstitutionality, and in that way, he suddenly looks and acts like one of Them. He made it about him. He threw his pudding. He stamped and threw his hands around, made a scene, and certainly broke the spirit of the constitution, if not the letter. Then, when, once again, he should just STFU, he says, in public, what everyone already knew: he was using the State of Florida to go after Disney, because of what they said. Desantis lost the room. Petulant, bully, disregarding the Bill of Rights.
I do not believe that my fellow online right peeps worship Trump. The online right values different things and sees the world through a different filter. It respects Trump. It sees his braggadocio as showmanship and noise. That’s what we get on Twitter, too. A lot of showmanship, and noise, but eventually, you learn how to filter it, and appreciate the people behind it, when they are saying something that is in the neighborhood of what we are thinking.
Trump is definitely is not perfect. We can go on, all day, about all the things that were not perfect during his first term, too. But if his first term is any indication, he’s good enough. As for the other R’s, they might be good enough, too, but we don’t know yet, because none of them are polling high enough to be taken seriously.
If it’s Trump vs. Desantis, it’s Trump all day.

Last edited 11 months ago by N T
N T
N T
11 months ago

I would like to think of myself as a member of the online right. Desantis was absolutely our guy during covid. He was absolutely our guy when insurance reform came, when a hurricane came, when Florida said, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and I will give them churros, and beautiful beaches, and no state income tax.”
He was absolutely our guy when the Parental Rights in Education bill was proposed. Of course third graders shouldn’t be exposed to sexual materials. We were cheering for him. He was going to be Reagan 2.0, and Trump was going to just fade away.
Then Disney decided to go methlab, picking the dumbest fight, ever. Desantis couldn’t just let it lie. He couldn’t say something pithy, and let Disney be ignorant and dig their own hole. No. He had to go full baby bully tyrant.
He did it in a way that stinks of unconstitutionality, and in that way, he suddenly looks and acts like one of Them. He made it about him. He threw his pudding. He stamped and threw his hands around, made a scene, and certainly broke the spirit of the constitution, if not the letter. Then, when, once again, he should just STFU, he says, in public, what everyone already knew: he was using the State of Florida to go after Disney, because of what they said. Desantis lost the room. Petulant, bully, disregarding the Bill of Rights.
I do not believe that my fellow online right peeps worship Trump. The online right values different things and sees the world through a different filter. It respects Trump. It sees his braggadocio as showmanship and noise. That’s what we get on Twitter, too. A lot of showmanship, and noise, but eventually, you learn how to filter it, and appreciate the people behind it, when they are saying something that is in the neighborhood of what we are thinking.
Trump is definitely is not perfect. We can go on, all day, about all the things that were not perfect during his first term, too. But if his first term is any indication, he’s good enough. As for the other R’s, they might be good enough, too, but we don’t know yet, because none of them are polling high enough to be taken seriously.
If it’s Trump vs. Desantis, it’s Trump all day.

Last edited 11 months ago by N T
Alan Gore
Alan Gore
11 months ago

I appreciate that DeSantis has the leadership skills, personal integrity and vision that Trump lacks, and that these qualities would make him a much more effective executive. But more effective doing what? Going anti-science and pandering to the abortion Taliban will not draw votes from the general public. To accomplish that the party needs to pull away from the Tweedlesantis and Tweedletrump catfight completely. I’m supporting Ramaswamy this time.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
11 months ago

I appreciate that DeSantis has the leadership skills, personal integrity and vision that Trump lacks, and that these qualities would make him a much more effective executive. But more effective doing what? Going anti-science and pandering to the abortion Taliban will not draw votes from the general public. To accomplish that the party needs to pull away from the Tweedlesantis and Tweedletrump catfight completely. I’m supporting Ramaswamy this time.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 months ago

Trump was honest enough to name his daughter after himself.. Iwanka…..

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 months ago

Trump was honest enough to name his daughter after himself.. Iwanka…..