Ron DeSantis pulled out of the Republican presidential race Sunday — throwing his support behind former President Donald Trump, who is currently leading the polls.
Following a disappointing loss in the Iowa caucus, where the Florida governor trailed Trump by 30 percentage points, DeSantis acknowledged that there is “no clear path to victory.”
Nikki Haley now remains as the sole challenger to Trump ahead of the New Hampshire primary.
Western media consensus: DeSantis’ biggest problem was Trump
The Florida governor was “plagued by a slew of problems during his run, some before his campaign even began,” the Semafor Principals team wrote in a list of reasons for his loss, including his “people problem” and his awkwardness on the campaign trail. But his other issues paled in comparison to one: “Ron DeSantis ran into a bump and the bump was named Trump,” a top DeSantis donor told Fox News. DeSantis focused less on appealing to donors and more on “culture war issues,” one person involved in his campaign told the Washington Post. “It wasn’t a well-run campaign, but I don’t think the best-run campaign would have beaten Trump,” the person said. A YouGov poll conducted by The Economist found that among first-choice DeSantis voters, 44% said that they would choose Trump as their second choice, while 24% would vote for Nikki Haley.
‘Less than charismatic’ DeSantis failed to appeal to Trump fans and skeptics
“DeSantis faltered with a poorly managed campaign, ultra-conservative messaging, limited public speaking skills, and a generally less than charismatic demeanor,” wrote DC-based reporter Prashant Jha from the Hindustan Times, a leading Indian daily. DeSantis could not appeal to Trump’s base after failing to distinguish himself from the former president on core GOP issues, and his conservative messaging turned away Trump skeptics as well, Jha argued, giving Haley a leg-up in the race.
China believes ‘Biden vs Trump 2.0’ will tear the US apart
“Pro-establishment elites,” who were concerned about Trump’s legal hassles, “have failed in their bid” to pit younger politicians like DeSantis against the former president who has “reshaped” the GOP, China’s state-owned tabloid Global Times wrote. “Biden vs Trump 2.0” will make the election “unexpectedly fierce and… will further tear the US apart,” the tabloid opined. Hawkish Republican candidates will find that playing “the anti-China card” won’t help set themselves apart from each other, Global Times argued, and U.S. voters will soon realize that the country “might suffer more losses if it unwisely confronts China.”