Iowa voters don’t think DeSantis’ Twitter failure is real life
“I knew it was coming today on Twitter,” he acknowledged, “but I’m not a Twitter fan.”
Not Curtis Kull, a 30-year-old behavioral health professional who showed up with his girlfriend around 6 p.m. to hear Scott speak.
“I didn’t,” he replied when asked if he had heard the news.
And not Scott Bowman, a 65-year-old UPS steward who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 but came here looking for a new face and cited DeSantis as someone he could support.
DeSantis’ deployment was, without a doubt, a disaster for the governor of Florida. To see it from Iowa, the events on the track highlight the risks of an untested social media extravaganza versus the traditional retail campaign, a skill in which DeSantis is already seen by his rivals. as missing. It also threatened his image as a calculatedly competent candidate, a narrative that – if materialized – could seriously damage his campaign.
And yet, here in the nation’s first caucus state, that didn’t seem to hurt him immediately — even in a crowd of people who came to see campaign rival Scott. Among nearly a dozen voters interviewed by POLITICO, only two had heard of the news.
Bowman — well-versed enough in the early rhythms of the race to trot out talking points like saying DeSantis was “going to be Trump’s body bag,” the candidate Trump most wanted out — looked confused when he was informed of the social media spectacle unfolding on timelines across America.
“I think DeSantis is going to get a lot of heat, and I just don’t know if DeSantis can answer questions,” he said seconds earlier. “It’s an escape through his campaign,” he admitted.
And then there was Gwen Sturrock, a substitute teacher in her 50s who drove 2 1/2 hours from Marshall, Minnesota, to get Scott’s measurement, but found herself leaning towards DeSantis.
“I just heard he did,” Sturrock said. “And he kept stalling or whatever.”
What would the news mean for his campaign? She replied, “That could mean a lot of people were very interested.”
The Scott event voters were also insightful — people were engaged enough to walk to a town hall on an otherwise gorgeous spring evening in Iowa, but not enough dopamine to follow every twist of a race in which the first votes will not be cast for seven months.
It was one of the busiest days in the Republican primary contest so far, with the field growing every week – a split screen between the Twitter verse and a part of the country where people on Wednesday were more concerned about meeting their quotas selling, getting their kids to school on time, and talking about the weather as Washington’s scandal du jour. And it offered a remarkable window into the political moment, with Trump and DeSantis at each other’s throats in the digital firmament while rivals such as Scott and former Vice President Mike Pence had the state of the game. huddle for themselves, squeezing the flesh in a more traditional way. while fighting for the crumbs.
Watching the Evangelical vote in Iowa, Scott and Pence both attended events at Christian schools about three hours apart on Wednesday, with Scott hitting Siouxland Christian and touting school choice while Pence went to Des Moines Christian School, where he shared his faith with a room full of adore and delight middle and high school students and signed autographs afterwards.
Both Pence and Scott lingered with voters at their respective events as the Trump world bombarded DeSantis on another online platform, Truth Social, for his rocky launch.
Neither Pence nor Scott mentioned Trump or DeSantis, but both checked Ronald Reagan’s name. And minutes after DeSantis finished talking about obscure academic studies on Covid and the NAACP travel ban, Scott was talking about economic opportunity and sharing his “life verse”: Ephesians 3:20, which he quoted, “But God is able to do exceedingly, far above anything we ask or imagine.
Scott and Pence both got more than they could ask for on Wednesday, though Trump and DeSantis still remain strong favorites in the race. If DeSantis and Trump were content to wage war online, Pence, in particular, covered traditional media in the Des Moines market.
Pence sat with the Des Moines Register Editorial Board for a story leading their homepage and the largest local television station. He recorded an interview with Bob Vander Plaats, the energy broker and CEO of The Family Leader, an influential conservative Christian organization. That’s not to mention an Omaha affiliate bleeding into an Iowa market. The former Tory talk show host himself even hit out the studio of the largest conservative talk radio show in the state.
There were no glitches with maintenance.