Whenever the hype surrounding Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ possible presidential bid starts going too far, some old hand will remind you that he still has to schlep to places like Iowa, glad-hand real voters, and survive the national press corps. With his laconic style and animosity toward the media, it’s not clear that DeSantis can make the jump to the big leagues.
The bigger question is whether he will actually have to. More and more, it seems possible that these rites of passage can be dodged. Sure, DeSantis (and other would-be Republican nominees) will give speeches, hold rallies, and the like. But these interactions can be managed and supplemented by Fox News hits (where arguably, more Iowans and Granite Staters would see them anyway).
This week saw a spate of stories about why Republicans have stopped talking to the media and candidates are avoiding debates and banishing media from rallies. This narrative was reinforced at a conservative conference in Florida that featured debates among Republican candidates.