Of all the (many) things the mainstream media has done wrong in 2021, one of the most bizarre has been its ongoing insistence on propping up Florida Governor and national punchline Ron DeSantis as somehow being a 2024 frontrunner for President. Even though DeSantis has spent the year falling apart and his approval rating keeps dropping, the media is still desperate to keep him alive until 2024. Why? His disastrous, controversial, and likely-to-fail 2024 campaign would be great for ratings (sound familiar?).
One would think that as 2021 has gone on and DeSantis has fallen apart, the media would simply move on and try to build some other Republican bumbler into a 2024 ratings juggernaut. After all, DeSantis is damaged goods. Instead, some major media outlets are now bending over backward to try to hand the 2022 Florida race for Governor to DeSantis, because he needs to win reelection in order to have any chance of even trying to run for President in 2024.
Take, for instance, yesterday’s Washington Post headline which says “Facing a historic challenge, Florida Democrats stumble against DeSantis.” Wait a minute here, really? The Post has decided that DeSantis is such a juggernaut, Florida Democrats are facing a “historic challenge” in trying to unseat him? Sheesh. The numbers make clear that unseating DeSantis will be easier than, say, unseating Greg Abbott in Texas. But it gets worse.
What exactly have Florida Democrats done to “stumble” against DeSantis? The Washington Post article mainly just throws around words like “concern” and “angst” without bothering to spell out any ways in which Florida Democrats have actually stumbled. That’s not surprising. Liberal news outlets love using the trick of chasing ratings by telling liberal audiences that they’re definitely going to lose, which keeps them glued to the screen in fear. It’s an old trick, and in 2021 it seems to be in use more than ever.
This also highlights the danger that Democrats and liberal activists run when they run around talking about how they’re losing, or how they’re going to lose. The Washington Post article in question takes advantage of some foolish defeatism that one Democratic Party county chair in Florida made the mistake of saying out loud. A lot of liberals seem to think that obsessively talking about how they’re going to lose somehow translates to vigilance or activism. In reality, if you keep talking publicly about how you’re going to lose, the media just uses it against you, and it demotivates the activists on your side who should be out there fighting for you, while also telling swing voters not to bother voting for your side because your side is going to lose anyway.
Unfortunately, the great post-Trump ratings dip of 2021 has led the mainstream media to sink to a number of new lows when it comes to dishonesty trying to gin up ratings and page views (one need look no further than CNN’s almost fictional coverage of Afghanistan for evidence of this). This means liberal activists will need to work harder than ever in order to work around the media and get a winning message out to voters. But it absolutely can be done.
Ron DeSantis is more vulnerable right now than he’s been at any point in his political career. He is not on track to win reelection in 2022. But we’ll have to put in the basic work required to win any election – volunteering, donating, phone banking, making sure people are correctly registered to vote by the deadline and know where and how to vote, and so on – if we want to keep DeSantis on the path to defeat.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report