Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) seems determined to find out whether highlighting Donald Trump’s string of gaffes will make the former president look senile.
Listen To This Story
Republicans and their allies in the media have been trying to paint President Joe Biden as an old, tottering fool since even before he took office. It is a line of attack that has proven to be highly successful. Now, the campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) seems determined to find out whether this strategy will also work on Donald Trump following a string of gaffes that make the former president look senile.
That is why the governor’s team recently launched a feature that measures how long Trump hasn’t had an “accident,” which is likely a term chosen for its ambiguity.
For example, on Monday, the campaign highlighted the former president’s most recent “senior moments.” During a speech in Iowa, Trump forgot what city he was in and messed up the geography of Europe.
Despite strict adherence to the teleprompter yesterday, Donald Trump managed to:
— Forget what state he was in
— Claim that Hungary borders Russia
— Say only losers believed his promise to get Mexico to pay for the wall
And that’s why he’s still 0 days accident free! pic.twitter.com/XrX8oosw6g
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) October 30, 2023
If this kind of thing happened to Biden, you would hear about it non-stop for a day or two on Fox News.
And that has had an effect. More than three-quarters of Americans believe that the president is too old to effectively serve a second term. Conversely, “only” 48 percent of voters said the same thing about Trump, who is three years older.
However, the same poll also shows that the DeSantis campaign has its work cut out for itself.
If you look at the results based on political ideology, you see that 90 percent of Republicans believe the 80-year-old Biden would be too old for a second term while a mere 23 percent of GOP voters feel that Trump would be too old.
Conversely (and hilariously), more Democrats (64 percent) think that Trump is too old than think Biden is too old (56 percent).
The findings illustrate the challenge for anybody who wants to convince Republicans that their hero is no longer fit to govern.
However, if Trump continues to be a gaffe machine, this new strategy for DeSantis could pay off.
It also offers a narrative that allows them to not seem disloyal to Trump, which has been one of the main criticisms that GOP voters have levied against the governor.
DeSantis himself tried out that line of attack last week.
“This is a different Donald Trump than 2015 and ’16 — lost the zip on his fastball,” he said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “In 2016, he was freewheeling, he’s out there barnstorming the country. Now, it’s just a different guy. And it’s sad to see.”
It remains to be seen whether this strategy will work as well against the former president as it does against Biden… and whether DeSantis will have enough time to make it stick before the primaries begin.
At the very least, it will make it more difficult for Trump to play the senility card against the president in a general election.
One thing seems certain: If they just keep watching Trump’s long, meandering rallies, the DeSantis campaign won’t run out of “accidents” to document any time soon.