Already a member? Log In

DeSantis Fatigue & G.O.P. Grief Therapy

Ron DeSantis improving upon his stilted performance from the first debate, but on the whole he has unperformed.
Ron DeSantis improving upon his stilted performance from the first debate, but on the whole he has unperformed. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
September 28, 2023

The remaindered class of the Republican presidential field was in survival mode last night in Simi Valley, where seven candidates took the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to make their case, however weakly, against Donald Trump. They were visibly feral from the start, thirsty for airtime, stomping all over each other for a breakout moment, or a fight, whichever presented itself first. 

The polling, after all, is overwhelming: Trump has extended his lead over his rivals by more than 40 points, a fact that nobody on stage appeared ready to grapple with. Toward the end of the night, as the lead-up to an eye-rolling question about which rival they’d “vote off the island,” Fox News moderator Dana Perino expressed their dilemma in stark terms: “It’s now obvious that if you all stay in the race, former president Donald Trump wins the nomination,” she said. “None of you have indicated that you’re dropping out.”