In an phone interview with Erick Erickson, newly announced Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the “buzz” from his technically glitchy announcement interview on Twitter with Elon Musk was significant. He called it the “biggest story in the world.” A massive exaggeration, but it does have some merit.
Misfortune has its own cachet. Professional wrestler Johnny Knoxville (Philip John Clapp) made a fortune off misfortune with the series “Jackass,” which—Hallelujah—has ended with 2022’s “Jackass Forever.” There’s a whole subset of popular YouTube videos of people doing stupid things, and sometimes getting injured in the process.
DeSantis said there’s plenty of time to give stump speeches and rallies. He felt that it was worth the technical risk to melt down Twitter, which of course is exactly what happened. About 700,000 people got to see DeSantis step on a rake, and the media ate it up.
Of course, the entire explanation from DeSantis could be a political equivalent of “I meant to do that.” But that’s irrelevant. In the first 24 hours since his announcement, the DeSantis campaign has raised $8.2 million, the New York Times reported. Some of that money was “pre-placed” by bundlers who attended the “Ron-O-Rama” at the Four Seasons (the hotel) in Miami. It’s unclear how much of the cash came from bundlers, high-worth donors or small donations.
However, it’s a good start for Ron DeSantis. The cash haul raked in from a rake-step far exceeded, in velocity, Donald Trump, who took six weeks to raise $9.5 million after his November 2022 announcement.
It’s not how you begin the race, it’s how you end. So if DeSantis’ campaign managed to plan a misstep up front—or at least account for it—and smoothly recover while hauling in the dough, kudos to them. If they didn’t plan it, but walked into the misfortune and in Forrest Gump-style walked out with only a wound in the buttocks, I’m sure they’ll take the win.
Follow Steve on Twitter @stevengberman.
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