DeSantis loses the online battle against Trump

 October 23, 2023

There was a brief period when many believed that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) had a real shot at competing with former President Donald Trump in 2024.

That quickly faded, however, as a series of missteps and staffing shake-ups all but sank the Florida governor's campaign.

Part of DeSantis' strategy included cultivating a team of conservative influencers to counter Trump's large base of high-profile conservative influencers.

Breitbart noted:

DeSantis’s camp attempted to organize an online eco-system of prominent conservative influencers to lead the charge against prominent pro-Trump influencers and the 45th president’s campaign on social media in May at a secret meeting at the home of a DeSantis pollster, the New York Times first reported Saturday.

The secret meeting reportedly didn't go as planned, and Breitbart noted that it "backfired."

"Some of the guests at the meeting, which has not previously been reported, left doubtful that the DeSantis camp knew what it was in for," politics reporter Ken Bensinger and campaign reporter Nicholas Nehamas wrote.

It didn't take long for things to go from bad to worse for DeSantis and his campaign team.

Just a few weeks after the reported secret conservative influencer meeting, DeSantis' official campaign launch was set to be revealed exclusively on X, formerly known as Twitter. However, the announcement was riddled with technical difficulties.

Breitbart noted what took place at the failed launch:

The Twitter Spaces call, scheduled to launch at 6 p.m. Eastern, began several minutes late as one unidentified voice whispered that it was “quiet.” David Sacks, the entrepreneur hosting the event, began to introduce Elon Musk and asserted that this was “historic” before the audio cut out. From then on, the audio continued to cut in out several times, with continued echoing and seemingly random voices — not the voice of the governor, whom the conversation was all about.

DeSantis' team attempted to recover from the embarrassing launch in a follow-up post, writing, "It seems we broke the internet with so much excitement."

The governor would ultimately fail to drum up support from crucial online influencers and began to struggle in the polls, which came as a shock to many, given his previous momentum.

Experts pointed out that DeSantis' attempts to take on Trump on social media have coincided with his drop in the polls.

Trump has also grown significantly stronger in the polls in the wake of his four indictments.

DeSantis certainly isn't out of the fight, but like every other Republican primary candidate, there is a lot of road to make up before they deserve to be placed in the frontrunner category.