That Irritating Trump–DeSantis Thing - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
That Irritating Trump–DeSantis Thing
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during his inauguration ceremony on Jan. 3, 2023 (image courtesy Gov. Ron DeSantis)

As 2023 is shaping up to be one of the dumbest years in American political history, virtually nothing is a surprise anymore. Even so, stupidity is often painful to watch.

Yesterday’s column in this space dealt with the Democrats’ stupidity biting them, as the ancient and feeble Dianne Feinstein, who stayed a term too long in the U.S. Senate and is now out of action, can’t handle being on the Judiciary Committee. That’s a problem for the Democrats, because without Feinstein’s vote on that committee, the parade of incompetents the Biden administration seeks to inflict on the public has now ground to a halt.

All that was required for there to be negative consequences and a gumming-up of the works as a result of Feinstein’s interminable lingering was a modicum of Republican unity in opposing a change in committee assignments. That requires 60 votes, and on Tuesday even Mitt Romney, the epitome of a Stupid Party Republican, signaled he wouldn’t be caving in.

So that looks like a win, and a win of significance for Republicans. It would be a reason to feel better about the party’s potential rehabilitation.

But then, something stupid happened inside of the party.

First, there was a Ron DeSantis interview on the Bud Light controversy, in which the Florida governor and likely entrant into the 2024 presidential race opined that conservatives should continue prosecuting a boycott of Anheuser-Busch for its promotion of transgenderism.

DeSantis’ communications shop then leaned in with a parody of the old Bud Light Real Men of Genius ads:

The conservative boycott of Bud Light is one of the few success stories we’ve seen of late, in terms of keeping the movement relevant in an America that is rapidly spiraling out of control.

But while DeSantis’ take on the subject may have been laudable, his endorsement of Guinness was less than helpful to the cause:

We’ll call that a C+, at best. It’s like the Stupid Party attempting not to be stupid and … getting not-so-great results. The parody ad was decent, though.

But then this was relatively hard to explain:

Donald Trump Jr. says boycotts of Bud Light should end, telling his fans on Rumble the company’s conservative credentials are solid and the outrage over its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney was unjustified.

Bud Light — and its parent company Anheuser-Busch — have faced a firestorm of controversy from many in their core audience after using Mulvaney in its marketing.

“We looked into the political giving and lobbying history of Anheuser-Busch. And guess what? They actually support Republicans,” said the former first son on Rumble.

“Last cycle their employees and their PAC gave about 60 percent to Republicans and 40 percent to Democrats. That’s literally almost unheard of in corporate America, where it’s really easy to go woke, where they do so constantly, where there’s a consequence to actually being a conservative. So 60/40 to the conservative side is kind of a big deal.”

Nobody at the senior level of the company had been aware of the marketing campaign, Trump Jr. said, touting their support for recent high profile GOP candidates like Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Well, there’s a classic Stupid Party response. “Sixty cents of every political dollar they spend goes our way, so let’s let this company torch our culture.” Did Don Jr. start channeling Mitch McConnell all of a sudden?

And the Trump Jr. white-knighting of the Anheuser-Busch moneybags came before DeSantis’ interview, so it doesn’t appear that this is about reflexively disagreeing with DeSantis. It’s a completely voluntary own goal.

And then there was more of the same:

What the hell?

This came after further developments in the Disney case, in which that company is engaged in some political shenanigans aimed at wriggling out from under the negative consequences of a state takeover of their autonomous Disney World tax district. DeSantis joked that he might consider building a new state prison next door, which generated some passionate, if mixed, reactions.

If you’ve read this column, you know I’m exasperated about this moronic pissing contest between Trump and DeSantis, the only two viable presidential candidates on the GOP side at this point. We ought to be attempting to define what the Republican Party is for, what its political style will be, what coalition of voters it will build a majority from, and what challenges will get top priority.

In other words, this phase of the 2024 cycle should be about ideas and strategies.

Instead, it’s about cultural fights that, frankly, are better executed by meme-makers, activists, and influencers than by clay-footed politicians who have botched the culture wars constantly over the last two decades.

That and childish mudslinging between people we would hope could competently lead the party.

And don’t you dare say that Trump is playing 3D chess. That dog stopped hunting a while ago. Trump is clearly the frontrunner for 2024; he’s racking up endorsements and the stupid indictment against him in New York has made him the sympathetic favorite among GOP voters. But that’s probably a function of DeSantis’ failure-to-launch presidential campaign, which has come off as the same flaccid Usual Suspect pre-run but with a slightly better candidate. His handlers have managed to sell him as the Second Coming of Marco Rubio.

All Trump had to do was ignore DeSantis, embrace his role as the presumptive nominee, and spend his time making the case for what a disaster Joe Biden is and how four more years of this can’t happen.

But we get this?

Can’t anybody play this game?

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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