Like his fellow challengers to long-time GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has struggled to find a message, a wedge, and angle – anything that will put a dent on Trump’s hold on the party faithful.
One means of doing that, which outside observers have long advocated for, is to confront Trump directly, rather than be his mini-me. A taste of what such a confrontation looks like is a so-called “Trump Accident Tracker,” which uses the former president’s own words to demonstrate the ex-incumbent’s many, manifest, and lengthening list of fibs, flops, and flubs.
As one might expect, such a move drew a playground-worthy response from the Trump team:
Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung called it a “weak, bitch move by a dying campaign. They never have an original idea of their own.”
Which is rich coming from a campaign that swiped its “make America great again” slogan from Ronald Reagan.
But Team Trump does have a point that the DeSantis effort is, to be charitable, struggling to regain whatever momentum, direction, and support it had several months ago. And, quite rightly, the Trump campaign made an issue of the DeSantis though its own “Kiss of Death” countdown.
Which one is right? It really doesn’t matter. Campaigns and candidates have been taking rhetorical swings at each other since the notoriously venomous presidential election of 1800.
Compared to that contest between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the jibes and jabs the current crop of office seekers exchange are positively bush league. For example:
The Federalists attacked the fifty-seven-year-old Jefferson as a godless Jacobin who would unleash the forces of bloody terror upon the land. With Jefferson as President, so warned one newspaper, “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.” Others attacked Jefferson’s deist beliefs as the views of an infidel who “writes aghast the truths of God’s words; who makes not even a profession of Christianity; who is without Sabbaths; without the sanctuary, and without so much as a decent external respect for the faith and worship of Christians.”
The bottom line: “politics ain’t beanbag.” And the only difference between the “bitch moves” of assorted campaigns today, and the ones of long ago is how fast, and in how many different ways, they can throw elbows.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard. It first appeared in American Liberty News.