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The Closing of the Florida Mind

The DeSantis campaign can fire as many people and hit as many reset buttons as they’d like, but DeSantis campaign watchers are pessimistic that things will improve unless the attitude at the very top changes.
The DeSantis campaign can fire as many people and hit as many reset buttons as they’d like, but DeSantis campaign watchers are pessimistic that things will improve unless the attitude at the very top changes. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Tina Nguyen
August 2, 2023

Somewhere far, far away from a courthouse where Donald Trump will soon be martyring himself, Ron DeSantis is tearing out his hair. The great hope for him, his backers, and the party’s remaining anti-Trumpers was that the base would tire of the former president, his losing streak and legal baggage, and pick a winner in the drama-free DeSantis. Instead, the opposite has happened: the median Republican voter is energized and belligerent over Trump’s latest and gravest indictment—his third in five months—and tuning out whatever high-minded policy debates his challengers hoped would break through. “This is the first Republican primary that is almost content free,” a Republican insider moaned. “We’re not talking about different tax plans. We’re not talking about different health care plans. We’re not talking about different visions on foreign policy.”