DeSantis Went to War With Mickey. Mouse Sinks Campaign.

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

There are people I love who live in Florida and I truly, truly wish that they lived anywhere else. None of them are Republicans — in fact, they are all very liberal. And while one could argue that Florida needs all the liberals it can get, one could also argue that a sprinkling of liberals is no match for the ultra-right extremists who have a lock on the state government and openly embrace fascism.

And now that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (a man who seems to have garnered a lot more interest in his height than in his campaign) has dropped out of the presidential race (and endorsed Trump, of course), he can get back to making Florida even worse.

DeSantis lost bigly, and he spent a hell of a lot of money doing it. The DeSantis campaign and his Never Back Down PAC coughed up about $35 million before the Iowa caucus. Total votes: 23,000. That puts the cost per vote at about $1,500. Not a great return!

DeSantis never had a chance. Republicans are married to Donald Trump (they believe he is the legitimate president, after all. Also maybe Jesus). It’s gross. I hate it. But I can’t say I’m sad to see DeSantis humiliated.

I mean, just Google his name. The headlines are scathing:

USA Today: “Ron DeSantis 2024 campaign was doomed by fatal flaws, awkwardness.”

Business Insider: “DeSantis’ campaign was over when he tried to compete with Mickey Mouse.”

NBC News: “‘A total failure to launch’: Why Ron DeSantis was doomed from the start.”

And then there’s The New York Times: “Ron DeSantis Made Smiling Look Hard.”

“The more people saw him, the less they seemed to like him,” writes Michelle Cottle in the piece. “On the presidential campaign trail, he was robotic and awkward, rude and arrogant, with the interpersonal skills of poorly designed A.I.”

An article in Mother Jones called DeSantis “a guy famous for interpersonal awkwardness who based his campaign on performative acts of dickishness, like using Florida’s funds to fly migrants without their consent from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.”


A lot has been made of Scott Wagner, head of the Never Back Down super-PAC, assembling a jigsaw puzzle in the office for hours in the days leading up to the Iowa caucus. He’s getting a lot of criticism, but, honestly, it looks like Wagner was the only one using his time wisely in the lead-up to DeSantis getting his total and whole ass kicked. Jigsaw puzzles are self-care.

“DeSantis’ staff, including press aides in Tallahassee who regularly attacked reporters critically covering culture war politics like his ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law and book bans, could probably all have benefited from chilling out and doing some puzzles with a nonbinary friend or perhaps a librarian,” writes Dan Friedman in Mother Jones.

Granted, plenty of articles said something along the lines of, “Despite his success in Florida…” And even I have to admit that DeSantis has been wildly successful at making Florida an unwelcome place for women, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people. Congrats, Ron, you’re someone who hurts people on purpose, whether for political gain, personal satisfaction or both. You’re a mean creep.

Without DeSantis in the race, the only real threat (ha!) to Trump is Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and U.N. ambassador under Trump.

Make no mistake, Haley isn’t as terrible as Trump, but she’s still terrible! Recently she answered a question about the cause of the Civil War by saying it was over “the role of government and what the rights of the people are.” When she was criticized for not mentioning slavery (because the Civil War was fought because of slavery by and large), she defended herself by saying, “I had Black friends growing up.”

Black friends growing up, huh? OK, sure. (She did not.) Even if that was true (it isn’t), I doubt she has Black friends now. Because, you know, she’s racist and all.

And she’s no friend to LGBTQ+ people, either. According to the Human Rights Campaign, “Haley has been loud in her opposition to LGBTQ+ issues, opposing initiatives such as allowing transgender kids to participate in sports to supporting a more extreme version of DeSantis’ ‘Don’t Say LGBTQ+’ bill.”

So, yeah, there are no good Republican choices for anyone who isn’t a racist homophobe. And that’s by design. They did this to themselves. The Republican Party has been extremist for a long time, but they are lurching ever rightward with no end in sight. Don’t give any of them your vote.

D'Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living life with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter.