The headline wrote itself.

“Ron DeSantis” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

I don’t have a ton to say here, but seeing these headlines immediately brought to mind my headline above.

First, via NB News: Ron DeSantis bashes Trump and teases plans to ‘supersede’ Obamacare. I think it is fair to suggest that the “replace Obama” ship has sailed, and this feels like retro-desperation.

“Obamacare hasn’t worked,” DeSantis said in the interview with moderator Kristen Welker, which aired Sunday morning. “We are going to replace and supersede with a better plan.”

Also, “repeal and supersede” in place of “repeal and replace” just seems so very DeSantis.

As does this:

He declined to provide details about how his plan would “supersede” Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, adding that his campaign would most likely roll out a proposal in the spring.

So, for the record: retro-topic, terrible slogan, and details to come later.

That’s how you win ’em!

Second, DeSantis says he will win Iowa. I know he has to say things like that, but still. DeSantis is currently just shy of 30 points behind Trump. And given that Trump is already the most scandal-plagued major presidential candidate of all time (I mean, who else could it be?) then no revelations will change the dynamic at this point. Apart from a major medical event, I cannot see the dynamic of the Iowa contest changing at all. Even if Trump somehow became unable to run in the next two months, I am not sure that the beneficiary of that wouldn’t be more Haley than DeSantis.  

No doubt, he can ride “repeal and supersede (details to follow)” to close that 30-ish point gap.

FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, US Politics, , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    And yet, the rubes and MAGAts will still reply “Repeal and supersede! Yeah, that’s the ticket!”

  2. Kathy says:

    I know he has to say things like that

    One man I’ve a lot of respect for is Jim Mora, because he didn’t say things like that. When asked about playoffs, his response was epic.

    To stay on topic, the very concise summary I saw on the DeSatanis-Newsom debate, left me the impression the former attacked the latter with adjectives and no facts. Newsom did cite facts and used few adjectives. For some reason, the DeSatanis method seems to work best with voters.

  3. Jen says:

    Even my dyed-in-the-wool conservative father has acknowledged the importance of the ACA (which he now refuses to call Obamacare). This turnaround, as with most conservatives, was when he figured out that without the ACA, my sister would be without insurance.

    That ship has well and truly sailed, Ron.

  4. Andy says:

    It’s fun to make fun of DeSantis and his weirdness, but in the back of my mind, I see this non-trivial chance that Trump could die or implode from his criminal prosecutions, and then we might have to take DeSantis more seriously.

    Especially after the weird DeSantis Newsome debate (which I didn’t watch), I’m coming around to the theory that some of these candidates are hedging and positioning themselves to step into a potential vacuum should Biden or Trump stumble and fall (perhaps literally).

  5. @Andy: I mean, sure. But I really do think, as I noted in passing in the post, that a Trump exit would help Haley out more, but such as exit would elevate DeSantis as well.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    If something were to happen to trump, and here’s hoping, Haley would be the likely beneficiary. I don’t know about Iowa, but it is entirely possible that DeLusional can finish 4th here in NH behind Christie and w/o trump in the race, Haley should win SC. That would leave DeLusional with a steep hill to climb.

  7. gVOR10 says:

    @Andy: I’m sure wanting to be in line if Trump or Biden fail somehow is in the back of all their minds. And I was worried about DeUseless somehow getting the nomination and being able to beat Biden. After watching my beloved /s governor on the national stage, I don’t worry about him much anymore.

    Some were running hoping to be veep to Trump. That hasn’t gone well for Tim Scott. I think a lot of them run because they’re ambitious pols, they’ve got nothing else pressing to do, and apparently running for prez pays well. Others are running, realistically or not, to position themselves for ’28. Fortunately, DeUseless is term limited as governor. He seems to be a one trick pony, abusing his power as guv to look “strong”. Well that, and wearing high heeled boots with lifts to look tall. By ’28 he won’t have been able to use his one trick for a few years.

  8. Scott F. says:

    There isn’t partisan symmetry here. If something unexpectedly were to happen physically or legally to Biden between now and November 2024, there is no reason to believe that Marianne Williamson, Cenk Uygur, or Dean Phillips will become the Democratic nominee in his stead. It will be VP Harris in all likelihood or someone else due to Dem Party kingmaking in a stretch.

    If Trump doesn’t end up being the nominee due to a major medical event or due to the criminal proceedings working with unprecedented expediency – that is if Trump is out due to any reason other than Republican voters rejecting him – then, yes, one of the other Republican presidential candidates would likely come into the nomination. But, they won’t be filling a vacuum. Trumpism will still be served, as Trump martyrdom will be what the Republican voters will want. The GOP platform will be retribution for Trump’s criminal culpability or homage for Trump’s untimely health crisis.

  9. al Ameda says:

    de facto DeSantis / Republican Platform:
    Oppose women’s right to control her reproductive health care decisions.
    Criminalize those who assist women in work around of Red State abortion restrictions.
    Repeal ACA health insurance coverage which covers over 30 million Americans.
    Oppose teaching the actual history of slavery in America.
    Oppose teaching that there is an enduring legacy of slavery.
    Teach that slavery was a beneficial job apprenticeship program.
    Oppose Drag Queen Story Hour sessions.
    Oppose vaccination and coordinated Public Health action.

    Ron reminds us, through his demeanor, that there is no smiley face to current Republicanism.
    It’s all brutal all the time.

  10. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Hard to speculate who it would help more, but clearly it would help both. Personally, I have difficulty subscribing to the theory that the populist GoP base would get behind Haley.


    After watching my beloved /s governor on the national stage, I don’t worry about him much anymore.

    Top put it charitably, he’s underperformed and run a bad campaign. But I don’t know who else the populist base would support- Vivek maybe?

    Well that, and wearing high heeled boots with lifts to look tall.

    One of the underappreciated things about politics (and much else in our culture) is the continuing bias against “short” people as evidenced by the need and desire to compensate for it or give the illusion of tallness (looking at you too, Tom Cruise).

  11. @Andy:

    Hard to speculate

    Au contraire mon frère, speculation is easy. Accurately predicting the future, that’s hard 😉

  12. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:


  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I think that conservatives and Republicans are just as able to do “yeah, we want a woman, just not her” as anybody else. Conventional wisdom may favor Haley over DeLusional, but I’d have to see it.

  14. Kurtz says:


    the need and desire to compensate for it or give the illusion of tallness (looking at you too, Tom Cruise).

    OT part:

    It’s fun to make fun of Cruise’s height, but I think it’s also fair to point out that two of his three ex-wives are clearly taller than he is. The other appears be about his height. Also, I seem to recall at least a couple shots in Dead Reckoning wherein Hayley Atwell appeared to tower over him.


    Your point about Haley being unlikely to pull much from Trump supporters is solid. But I have serious doubts about whether DeSantis really fills the Trump space. He isn’t even a Diet Coke version of Trump–he is more like the flat Faygo version.

    My point is that a decent chunk of Trump support doesn’t necessarily have to go to another candidate. I suspect that DeSantis’s conversion rate of Trump backers would be much lower than people assume.

    A candidate like Haley has the potential to pull quite a few people off the sidelines who otherwise would have chosen to sit out the nomination process.

    The relative size of those groups would be a key factor in the contest.

  15. JohnMc says:

    @Kurtz: About height and movie stars, I recall learning the Errol Flynn was also short guy. I was amazed! I’d watch all kinds of his movies. Had a chance to watch Robin Hood lately. Famous sword fight with Basil Rathbone — stairway, furniture, camera angles completely hid the platform that Flynn was standing on.

    Several visual media folks here, must be amused @ my naivete. Oh well, but I bet there’s a good size group of the public has no idea of the work ourRon goes to in order to seem tall. Or how short Cruise is.

  16. Andy says:


    I guess it depends on what one thinks the maga populists faction will do and how decisive they are/would be in a primary without Trump.

  17. Barry says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    “Conventional wisdom may favor Haley over DeLusional, but I’d have to ”

    This is assuming that Trump is out – IMHO, the GOP base will go to DeLusional, as he’s a Trump substitute.

    I can see some people going from Trump to Haley, but not for any rational reason.

  18. Kurtz says:


    I didn’t know Flynn was short, either. I was trying to think back to Top Gun, because Kelly McGillis is quite a bit taller than Cruise as well.

    I didn’t quite finish my thought. I’m average height for an American male in my age group. I’ve known quite a few guys who avoided dating women of the same height or taller. I was just thinking of my experience as a contrast with Cruise’s history.



    I think there is a decent chance that Trump has a uniquely significant effect on the mix of GOP voters. One that is far more impactful than even outlier traditional candidates.

    Here is an analogy. Years ago, I read an article about how record companies often select singles from an album. I don’t recall if this was particular to a few genres, new artists, restricted to non-lead singles, or was the process for only a period of time.

    The gist was that they would use a focus group. The participants would listen to the songs under consideration and rate each one on a scale of 1-10. It may seem intuitive that they would choose those with the highest ratings, but most of the time, they gravitated toward the ones with middling ratings (4-6). The thinking was that songs that got ratings toward the ends of the scale are likely to also elicit the opposite response.

    To me, that is a decent way to think about this. A candidate who has to appeal statewide (Senate, Gubernatorial, Presidential) usually positions themselves as a 3 or a 7 during the primary, but tacks back toward the 4-6 range during the general.

    But Trump is Trump–no matter what he’s a 1 or a 10. He may have a group of people who follow him on tour, buy every album on vinyl, seek out rareties and bootlegs, but he also elicits revulsion from a large number of people. He’s the Nickelback or Spice Girls of politics.

  19. just nutha says:

    @Barry: That’s correct. I was commenting on the suggestions of who would (noting a conditional situation) be a more likely candidate should (indicating another conditional) Trump withdraw.

  20. just nutha says:

    @Kurtz: I disagree slightly. Even the people who claim Trump is a 10 know that he’s a one. They’re trolling the rest of us or believe that the “village” needs to be destroyed to be saved.

  21. Mimai says:


    Who could be an “authentic” replacement for the “realDonaldTrump”?

    I wonder if Freddie Wong’s 3.5 star review logic might be applied here.

  22. Kylopod says:


    Also, I seem to recall at least a couple shots in Dead Reckoning wherein Hayley Atwell appeared to tower over him.

    Hollywood absolutely will have male actors stand on boxes if the female love interest in a film is deemed too tall. There are numerous examples of this. And in Back to the Future, when they switched the 6-foot Eric Stoltz for 5’4″ Michael J. Fox mid-production, they fired the original actress who played Marty’s girlfriend (Melora Hardin) simply because she was significantly taller than Fox.

    Cruise obviously doesn’t have a problem with dating and marrying women who are noticeably taller than him, it’s the studios that are insane on this matter.

  23. CSK says:


    Sigourney Weaver once said that she’s lost a lot of roles because of her height. “Producers are short,” she remarked.

  24. gVOR10 says:
  25. Ken_L says:

    One has to admire his optimism in thinking he’ll still be in the running next spring.

    The primary has always been about who would get the nomination if Trump is forced to drop out. Putting health issues to one side, there’s no way there’s going to be a verdict in any of his criminal trials before the primary is effectively over. Should he be imprisoned after that but before the convention, I expect his delegates would be free to vote for whomever they liked, and I expect most would reluctantly choose DeSantis as the most obnoxiously similar substitute for their man.

    Should he be sent to jail after being nominated, it would get really interesting. Presumably the RNC would have to choose a new nominee, and whoever had come second in the primary would have a compelling argument to be picked, especially if there was a big gap between them and the rest of the field.

    But it’s all very speculative. The overwhelming likelihood is that Trump will be the nominee and nothing will happen prior to the election to change that.

  26. Kurtz says:


    I know that they do. What I was saying was that Atwell definitely looked quite a bit taller than Cruise in a few shots.

  27. Kingdaddy says:

    And let’s not forget Alan Ladd, who regularly stood on boxes to hide his 5’6” stature.

  28. @JohnMc: Errol Flynn short? Where did THAT baloney come from?! He was 6’2″
    Robert Florczak, author of “Errol Flynn-The Illustrated Life Chronology” Lyons Press