Ron DeSantis fired his campaign manager. As the first Republican primary debate is approaching, DeSantis was acutely aware that his political strategy was not working. President Trump is currently polling at 53% while Gov. DeSantis is at 15%, according to the latest polls of FiveThirtyEight. In January 2023, when DeSantis was presumed to be a candidate, he was nearing 40% in the polls. From January to August, the Governor of Florida declined significantly in the polls to the point that it started alarming political experts.
Ron DeSantis is now shaking up his campaign leadership in order to boost his candidacy in the polls. He replaced Generra Peck with James Uthmeier, his longtime chief of staff, as his new presidential campaign manager, which is the latest move in a rest that is now almost a month in the making.
There are two main reasons why Gov. DeSantis decided to part ways with Peck. The first reason is that she was seen as a liability. Indeed, she had been criticized for her handling of the campaign, and some Republicans believed that she was not up to the task of running a national campaign. For example, she was criticized for her decision to cancel a fundraiser in Iowa, a key early primary state.
The second reason is that DeSantis needed to shake up his team in order to make his campaign more competitive. The campaign was not going as well as DeSantis had hoped, and he may have felt that a change in leadership was necessary. He may have also wanted to bring in someone with more experience in national campaigns.
The problem with DeSantis’ campaign is more fundamental than what we see. The real issue is that DeSantis capitalizes on the wrong factors. Like Hillary Clinton, he believes that it is his logos that will enable him to win the presidency. But at the national level, where emotions and passions are intermingled within voting blocs, Republican voters are not looking for a policy expert. While policies are undeniably important because they are the instruments of governance, they are not truly relevant during the campaign trail. Their relevance becomes apparent once the candidate is elected.
Republican voters are looking for a candidate who can connect with them emotionally, someone who can fight for them against the deep state and uphold patriotic values. This requires the use of the pathos more than anything else. And this is essentially why Donald Trump dominates the Republican primaries. Donald Trump successfully built a voting bloc that is absolutely loyal to him, and he was able to do that because he capitalized on his pathos.
That being said, Ron DeSantis is required to change his campaign strategy by becoming a man of the people rather than a policy expert. It is the role of James Uthmeier to make DeSantis a man of the people if he wants to stay competitive in this race. Besides Donald Trump who is already known to be a populist leader, Vivek Ramaswamy is also taking this man-of-the-people approach, and this is why he is surging in the polls.