In a botched livestream event on Twitter, Ron DeSantis officially launched his long-awaited 2024 presidential campaign Wednesday.
- The Florida governor held a Twitter Spaces event with Elon Musk that was delayed when a mass of listeners crashed the platform.
- In his video and discussion with Musk, he leaned heavily into cultural issues as part of his strategy to win the nomination over former President Donald Trump.
- “Our border is a disaster. Crime infests our cities. The federal government makes it harder for families to make ends meet, and the president flounders,” DeSantis remarked.
- DeSantis’ poll numbers have been falling, while the former president’s are rising.
why it’s news
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been in the spotlight as a de-facto presidential candidate since he won his statewide re-election in a landslide in November 2022. All the presidential polls have included DeSantis and the other declared candidates—often topping the list but more recently falling well behind Trump.
Now he had made it official. He is leveraging his leadership in Florida as a blueprint for the country and repeatedly discussed the culture war that he is leading in the sunshine state. As governor, he’s signed legislation to ban abortion after six weeks, waged a public fight with the state’s largest employer Disney, and challenged the education establishment over diversity initiatives and teachings on gender.
The DeSantis campaign posted a pre-recorded video, fairly traditional, with the governor walking onto a stage and then speaking against an American flag backdrop. Then he was to hold an online event with Twitter owner Elon Musk.
The feed from the event crashed several times before the program even started. Once it got underway, it froze several times.
The event eventually got underway on venture capitalist David Sacks’ Twitter account. In an hour-long talk with Sacks and Musk, DeSantis complimented Musk’s work with Twitter—backing his belief that social media in general has a left-wing bias.
DeSantis defended his fight with Disney and the anti-woke positions he has been taking in the state. Twitter reports that 478,000 accounts were tuned in.
“A self-described free-speech advocate, Musk has embraced his role as an online provocateur with stances that threaten to rankle the independent and suburban voters DeSantis needs in a potential election matchup against President Joe Biden,” Bloomberg reports.
DeSantis hopes the event is a boost to his sagging popularity. Most recent polling has the former president rising—from 47% in late March to 56%. Meanwhile, DeSantis has fallen from 33% support among potential Republican voters to 25%.