As long as the real Trump is inundated with attention, “clever fake Trump” Ron DeSantis will be left behind

Javier Muñoz statue

Let’s say the real Trump hasn’t made a huge comeback in all of the Republican popularity polls in recent days: The best fake Trump, Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, was already close to winning the Republican presidential nomination. It is said to offer everything Trump offers, but without the childishness. They call him young Trump, rational Trump and controlled Trump.

The midterm elections last November turned out to be a worry for all of Trump’s candidates, but DeSantis was re-elected governor of Florida. This was the only major success that the Republicans could boast of. Understandably, DeSantis has received congratulations from the old partisan establishment: She hopes to secretly lure voters away from the real ones with the “rational Trump” who has frightened even this party’s elite with his undermining of the US Constitution.

Ronald DeSantis is 32 years younger than Donald J. Trump and has an IQ several points higher. In addition to Trump’s use of language, intonation, gestures, and phrasing, he has copied his hobby horses. In his campaign video, he had his young daughter build a wall against illegal immigrants. This caused a stir among people who looked into his family history: all of this politician’s great-grandparents were illegal immigrants from southern Italy. The story became known of Luigia’s great-grandmother, who could neither read nor write, when she arrived in the United States in 1917, where Congress had just passed a law against “unwanted illiterate immigrants”—if it ever went into effect, it was it will be returned.

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An officer at Guantanamo Bay

They say Ron DeSantis is built for tough competition. If there is something to be won, he will stop at nothing to win it. He had the highest grades in the class and the highest batting marks on the school baseball team. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale University (History) and summa cum laude from Harvard University (Law). The years after his studies were spent in the anti-terrorism service of the neoconservatives. He served as an officer in Iraq and the Guantanamo Bay prison.

In 2012, he entered the House of Representatives, but it was only when he began to imitate Trump that he experienced a major political breakthrough. The real Trump was flattered and threw his weight behind this young impersonator’s candidacy for governor of Florida in 2018. In 2018, DeSantis won by a margin of 0.4 percent, in 2022 by a margin of 19.4 percent. The next thing to land, as many predicted in November, is the Republican presidential nomination. But that was outside the realm of the original that DeSantis “rationally” tries to copy.

Quiet subversion

You might argue that rational Trumpism is as much a contradiction in terms as it is quiet subversion. Trumpian politics that do not come directly from the gut are strikingly similar to those of cold calculation. A case in point is DeSantis’ response to Trump’s subpoena in New York. He, the governor of Florida, where Trump now lives for most of the year, estimated that it would be smart to announce that he would not cooperate in the extradition of this famous resident. Fake Trump was pushed to the wheels by the real man: He felt that the spotlight and tons of attention the lawsuit was bringing was a salient way to regain lost ground. The flaw in all “Trump brains” scenarios in advance is that the real Trump is someone who does not willingly make room for someone else. Everyone still remembers January 6, 2021.

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