Ron DeSantis claims presidential campaign launch ‘broke the internet’ – but can he beat rival Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican race? | US News
As presidential campaign launches go, it was hardly smooth.
A live audio conversation with Twitter’s Elon Musk which didn’t quite work, at least not at the start.
It was silence at first as the listener count grew: 200,000, then half a million.
Then a screech of audio feedback. Then a whisper from the man of the moment.
“Now it’s quiet…” the presidential hopeful could be heard saying. It certainly was quiet for all those tuned in.
“Right, we are just reallocating more server capability to be able to handle the load here…” Twitter’s owner, Elon Musk, said after a few more silent moments.
“Obviously, very excited to have Governor DeSantis make this erm…” then, an abrupt cut again.
Another silence. Then: “So I think we’re back online again.”
A hint at an incompetent candidate from the off? Well, the spin of course was that Ron DeSantis broke the internet with so many wanting to tune in.
Read more: Ron DeSantis as American president is exciting for some, but frightening for others
That is, of course, if the less than a million who listened live is “so many”.
The “woke corporate media” who DeSantis loathes so much piled in.
The New York Times called it a “fiasco”. NBC News said it was a “meltdown”. The US Mail Online concluded it was “Ron’s Desaster”. (sic)
Later, on more traditional and friendly Fox News, he brushed it off.
“We had a huge audience. It was the biggest it ever had. It did break the Twitter space. And so we’re really excited with the enthusiasm,” he told the cable news channel.
The half hour interview was a chance to lay out his policies which had a somewhat of a Trumpian ring to them.
“We will construct the border wall…”
“Rip out Biden’s anti-American energy policies…”
“I’m against woke ideology and against the sexualization of children… [the] woke mind virus is basically a form of cultural Marxism…”
As he addressed Twitter and then Fox, downtown Miami provided just a hint of the fervor this election cycle will prompt. America is in for a ride.
“Drag queens are a bunch of paedophiles, protect your children,” one man screamed.
His “F*** Biden” flag only gave half a clue of his politics. It wasn’t clear if Trump or DeSantis was his man.
A group of black men with “Blacks for Trump” banners chatted enthusiastically with a white man wearing a t-shirt with the slogan “The Proud Boys did nothing wrong”.
Nearby, chants of “All of us against DeSantis” from a liberal crowd, some flying rainbow flags, some dressed in drag.
It was a snapshot of the topsy-turvy madness of today’s American politics.
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Ron DeSantis is Florida’s woke warrior, elected governor by a landslide, but here on the streets of this particular Floridian city, those who fear his politics were louder than those who love it.
If there is one theme which gets to the heart of what Ron DeSantis is all about, it’s culture wars.
His policy for Florida and pitch for America is that the nation has lost its way and needs to return to traditional conservative values.
Whether that’s abortion – banned here after six weeks, drag shows – no children allowed, or children’s books judged to be overly sexualised – restricted now in schools here, his polling proves he’s popular down here.
Polling puts him well behind Teflon-coated Donald Trump. But then Trump support has a ceiling. Ron DeSantis thinks he can break it.