Republican voters are not used to anybody telling them the truth, which makes Ron DeSantis’s latest strategy of trying just that very curious.
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing an incredibly steep path to the Republican nomination, and it’s tough to see how telling the truth to GOP voters is going to help him get there.
After all, that’s not something they are used to. Whether by Donald Trump and Fox News, other right-wing news outlets, or by each other on social media, GOP voters are lied to every day and all day long. As a result, they live in their own comforting reality where things are just the way they want them to be.
Any disruption to that is upsetting because it requires an adjustment of that fake reality. For example, an explanation has to be found as to why Trump lost the election against a feeble-minded Joe Biden or why all those patriots sacked the US Capitol.
With evidence to the contrary widely available, that’s not easy and often requires willful ignorance.
Therefore, it is really weird that DeSantis believes that (occasionally) telling the truth is a viable strategy to beat Trump, an undeniable virtuoso of lies who has successfully brainwashed tens of millions of people.
But, hey, more power to him for trying a unique approach, even though it seems more likely to hurt than help.
Telling the truth certainly backfired earlier this month when DeSantis faced a severe backlash for daring to say that the former president had lost his reelection bid in 2020. After all, it’s not called the “Big Lie” for nothing.
Still, DeSantis seems undeterred. Or maybe he just doesn’t care anymore in light of his dropping poll numbers.
On Saturday, he told some more hard truths, this one about the people who blindly follow Trump.
“If all we are is listless vessels that are just supposed to follow, you know, whatever happens to come down the pike on Truth Social every morning, that’s not going to be a durable movement,” DeSantis said in an interview with The Florida Standard.
Tough to argue with that (at least for anybody living in the actual reality).
But the governor wasn’t done. He also talked about how anybody not part of the former president’s MAGA cult is labeled a Republican in Name Only (RINO).
“[Y]ou could be the most conservative person since sliced bread. Unless you’re kissing [Trump’s] rear end, they will somehow call you a RINO,” he said.
The response was swift.
“To Hillary Clinton, Trump supporters are ‘deplorables.’ To Ron DeSantis, they are ‘listless vessels.’ The truth is, Trump supporters are patriots,” said MAGA, Inc., spokesperson Karoline Leavitt in a statement. “DeSantis must immediately apologize for his disgraceful insult.”
That statement is very on-brand: In today’s GOP, if you dare to say something that is true, it is not only an “insult,” but you have to apologize… or else.