'Desperate' DeSantis is catering to Trump's trolls -- and it will blow up in his face: columnist
Ron DeSantis speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

In a column for the Daily Beast, longtime political observer Ruben Navarrette Jr, suggest Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is in danger of losing his edge as the Republican most likely to replace Donald Trump as the face of the party -- as well as being the 2024 GOP presidential nominee -- by trying to appease every whim of Donald Trump's most rabid supporters.

Calling DeSantis "a terrible governor who is failing his leadership course with flying colors," Navarrette said that the Florida governor has "gold-plated resume that includes legislative experience from a stint in Congress, degrees from Yale University and Harvard Law School, and even military service as a former lieutenant commander in the Navy" but has been throwing it all away.

"Like the wacky state he leads, DeSantis seems to be a 'crazy story' factory. Every few days, you'll see a new story about DeSantis' latest antics or half-baked policy initiative, as he constantly strives for the spotlight and hopes for a reserved seat on the GOP express from Crazytown to the White House in 2024," he wrote. "Some of the attention-grabbing is comical, and a lot of it is crude. Much of it also seems reflexive, as if the governor is a puppet and his own ambition is pulling the strings. DeSantis doesn't lead; he follows."

The columnist notes he almost feels sorry for the Florida governor because his desperation is showing because "he is pandering like mad on multiple fronts as he tries to stay in the good graces of the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party," adding, "The governor goes along with it, because he apparently has no core beliefs other than the unshakable conviction that he should sit in the Oval Office."

As Navaratte sees it, unless DeSantis changes course, he may see his frontrunner status wither away.

"It's respect that he is in danger of losing by inching closer and closer to the radical fringe. This is high-stakes poker. If he doesn't play his cards right, he could easily fall off the leaderboard of likely 2024 GOP presidential candidates and become just another freak in the ever-expanding Republican freakshow," he wrote before adding, "If he panders to the crazy right, he loses. If he doesn't, he still loses. His is a cautionary tale of what happens when an elected official gets led by voters, instead of the other way around."

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