Profile positions DeSantis as conservatives’ new folk hero

Photo illustration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with lines radiating from him.
Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who won the Florida governorship by less than 1% and whose name was virtually unknown to greater America just a few years ago, is now rising in presidential polls and presents voters with a quicker, sharper version of Donald Trump’s angry style of politics .

  • That’s the bottom line in a more than 10,000-word profile of DeSantis by Dexter Filkins in this week’s New Yorker magazine.

The big picture: Filkins positions DeSantis as a new conservative folk hero, unafraid of battling the left and presenting himself as the only one brave enough to do it.

  • And the kid from Dunedin has grown so popular within the GOP that, in a few polls, he comes out ahead of Trump in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Zoom in: Filkins reveals that DeSantis has what some describe as a photographic memory, and could hold in-depth conversations about medical research with epidemiologists.

  • Those who work closely with DeSanti say that he is unique among elected officials in his disregard for public opinion and the press.

The rub: Trump takes credit for DeSantis’ win in 2018. Trump also told Filkins repeatedly that he and DeSantis had a “very good relationship,” adding, “I’m proud of Ron.”

  • Others say that tension between the two has hardened into resentment. “He won’t kiss the ring,” a political leader who sees DeSantis often told Filkins.

What they’re saying: “It’s hard to tell how much of Ron DeSantis is ideological and how much is opportunism,” Filkins tells David Remnick in the New Yorker Radio Hour.

  • “He sounds like Trump, except that he speaks in complete sentences. And he’s very, very articulate, and very, very quick, but he’s competing for the same constituency. So, he’s very angry at the elite, even though he went to Harvard and Yale. He’s very angry at Washington … And so he’s kind of rallying the white, working class of Florida — of which the numbers are still quite large — and he’s angry.”

Read the full profile.

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