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Is Ron DeSantis Trump’s Heir or Just a Wannabe?

He’s found the key to the red-blooded MAGA voter’s heart.
October 6, 2022
DeSantis The Disaster Man | Not My Party with Tim Miller

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Tim Miller: A master troll or disaster manager? Trump imitator or Trump eliminator? Maybe all of the above.

Glenn Sturgis (Mark McKinney on Superstore): I can’t wait to find out!

Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. Once again the news is swirling around—

Saul Goodman voiceover (Bob Odenkirk on Better Call Saul over image of Tim Russert): Florida, Florida, Florida.

Miller: —and the state’s Governor Ron DeSantis is in the eye of the storm—

Diego (from Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs): Don’t worry. He’s where he wants to be.

Miller: —in part thanks to his own media manipulation and in part because the news blew across his shores.

Floridian: F*** you, Ian!

Miller: This week he’s been managing the devastating hurricane that blasted Florida. Dozens of deaths. Entire neighborhoods leveled.

Morgan Chesky: The barrier island, which is home to more than 6,000 year-round residents, is now only accessible by boat or helicopter.

Unidentified news anchor: More than 600,000 people remain without power as the number of people confirmed dead soars to at least 82.

Eric Cartman (from South Park): It’s gotten really bad!

Miller: Some parts of the response have been criticized.

Michael Paluska: Frustration mounted as civilians were told to pause their relief operations for several hours as Governor Ron DeSantis toured the area.

Miller: But one major element has worked better than anticipated: the local, state, and federal government working together again.

David Addison Jr. (Bruce Willis on Moonlighting): You wanna hear something crazy?

Joe Biden: This is not about our disagreements politically. This is about saving people’s lives, homes, and businesses.

Luz Noceda (from The Owl House): Whaaat?

Miller: Back in the Trump years, the president would threaten to not provide emergency services to blue states unless the local politicians bent the knee.

Miles Taylor: The California wildfires. . . . He told us to stop giving money to people whose houses had burned down because politically it wasn’t a base for him.

Louise Belcher (from Bob’s Burgers): Ugh, he’s the worst.

Miller: Not so with DeSantis and Biden, who have spoken a bunch of times and coordinated on the response.

Ron DeSantis: It’s my sense that the administration wants to help. . . . So we’re thankful for that.

Miller: Which might feel like a surprising level of cooperation after the shit DeSantis has been pulling lately.

Glenn Quagmire (from Family Guy): Oh yeah, that’s right.

Miller: If you missed his latest antics with the migrant flights, here’s the gist. DeSantis used taxpayer dollars to trick Venezuelans fleeing communism into getting on planes that were then sent to Martha’s Vineyard, a fancy beach town in Massachusetts. There he dumped the migrants on liberals’ lawns in a failed attempt to own them and to draw attention to the southern border crisis.

Jessica Easthope: All the migrants . . . were given food, water and shelter for the night. A harrowing journey made somewhat better by a community that stepped up in a moment of need.

Miller: Now there are a lot of problems with this. First of course is the morality. Using desperate human beings as pawns in a big troll is pretty sociopathic behavior. One said he wanted to cry. Felt destroyed inside. That he was tricked, frightened.

“Seth Rogen” (Seth Rogen in This Is the End): That’s fucked up.

Miller: Then there’s the question of using Florida taxpayer dollars to do this. Maybe the Texas governor transporting immigrants North would have a legitimate point about wanting to share the burden with other states about the crush of immigrants at his border.

Ross Geller (David Schwimmer on Friends): Little heads up would’ve been nice.

Miller: But DeSantis doesn’t have a border problem. Let’s consult a map. The border of Mexico is here. Florida is way over here. See that blue stuff around it? It’s water.

Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller in Zoolander): The essence of wetness.

Miller: The same thing creating a real crisis in Florida protects the state from the imaginary immigration crisis Ron DeSantis is pretending he’s dealing with.

Eret (Kit Harrington in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World): It’s all a game to him.

Miller: Nevertheless, this cruel, pointless, wasteful, possibly illegal stunt landed with the desired audience. Fox News hosts were getting turnt!

Jeanine Pirro: Ron DeSantis sending two flights of migrants to Obama’s favorite vacation spot! Martha’s Vineyard.

Greg Gutfield: Which makes sense. It’s a vineyard and those grapes ain’t gonna pick themselves.

Miller: Which is huge for DeSantis, cuz his eye’s on the White House, even if it means maybe going toe to toe with his small-handed hero.

Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe in Godzilla): Let them fight.

Miller: While I’m pretty skeptical this sniveling knockoff could actually take on Trump, the truth is of all the Republicans he’s got the best shot.

Stewie Griffin (from Family Guy): That’s depressing.

Miller: For two reasons. One, as he showed this week he can handle a real crisis without being a petty bitch who lives for drama. Which has appeal for the Republican normies who are sick of Trump’s s***. More importantly, he’s found the key to the red-blooded MAGA voter’s heart.

TikTok user @mrbeard: Hell yeah, brother! Own those libs!

Miller: He gets that the more he triggers the media, the wokerati, us Never Trump cucks, the more Republican voters believe that he’s enough of a fighter to replace their last love.

DeSantis: Never ever back down from a fight.

Miller: Now it’s easy to pick on poor, desperate immigrants for your political ends. It gets much harder when you have to stand on a debate stage next to the dude who has mastered the game of performative outrage. I’m pretty skeptical he’d come out on top, but maybe we’ll get to find out.

Cartoon pollster (from South Park): Will you be voting for the giant douche or the turd sandwich?

Miller: We’ll see you next week for more Not My Party.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.