How Long Does DeSantis Have?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivering remarks June 9, 2023 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Our friends the anti-anti-Trumpers like to say that if you’re not on board with Ron DeSantis in the Republican primary, you’re effectively pro-Trump.

I agree, to a point.

But I question their good faith. Backing the governor on the theory that he alone stands a chance of slaying the dragon is defensible and reflects my own position—for now. Yet the sense I get from many of them is that they’d go on backing DeSantis even if Trump quit the race tomorrow, leaving them ostensibly free to support Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, or any number of more classically liberal conservatives.

It’s not Trump’s illiberalism that offends most anti-anti-Trumpers, it seems. What offends them is that he’s bad at translating his illiberal impulses into policy, forever getting in his own way with “mean tweets,” breathtakingly stupid self-sabotage, and the occasional coup attempt.

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