Among critics of the MAGA movement — from liberals and progressives to right-wing Never Trump conservatives—there has been a lot of debate over whether Donald Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would be more dangerous in the White House in 2025. Former GOP strategist Rick Wilson, a Never Trumper, is not a DeSantis fan but told The Guardian that if DeSantis seeks the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, he will be no match for Trump’s unmitigated “cruelty.” And Wilson seriously doubts that DeSantis would be able to defeat Trump in a primary battle.
The Bulwark’s Tim Miller, another Never Trump who left the GOP because of the MAGA movement, views DeSantis as “less of an existential threat” to U.S. democracy than Trump but nonetheless sees him as dangerously “authoritarian.” However, Washington Post columnist and Never Trumper Max Boot has argued that DeSantis could be more dangerous in the White House than Trump because he is also quite ruthless but has a lot more self-discipline.
Meanwhile, liberal Vanity Fair columnist Bess Levin — a scathing critic of both Trump and DeSantis — offers a Trump/DeSantis comparison in a January 2 column/listicle. Levin, however doesn’t argue that one is worse than the other; she views both of them as terrible and lays out 13 reasons why having DeSantis in the White House in 2025 would be a nightmare for the United States.
“Ron DeSantis has not yet said if he will run for president in 2024, but with approximately two years to go until the election, and with the caveat that about a zillion things can change between now and then, his candidacy appears to be a forgone conclusion,” Levin explains. “That prospect is exciting to a number of people — namely, his record-setting pack of billionaire donors — but, as it turns out, having the support of, say, Elon Musk does not mean someone should be president. In fact, it’s probably a good indication someone definitely should not be president. And when it comes to DeSantis, that is most certainly the case.”
The columnist continues, “But wait, you say: Wouldn’t DeSantis be a hell of a lot more preferable to send to the White House than Donald Trump? Shouldn’t we be happy about the fact that, at the very least, he doesn’t seem like the type of guy who would Sharpie over a hurricane map to cover his own a** or force people to think about what he gets up to in the bathroom? And the answer is no! We shouldn’t be!”
Levin emphasizes that DeSantis, as president, “would be no better” than Trump. And her 13 reasons are: (1) “He thinks it’s OK to treat human beings like chattel,” (2) “He’s dangerously anti-science,” (3) “He’s anti-free speech, particularly the kind of free speech that says the United States hasn’t always been great for non-white people,” (4) “He wants to make it harder for people to vote and had Floridians arrested as part of another one of his political stunts,” (5) “He’s waging a war on trans people,” (6) “Don’t Say Gay,” (7) “He’s a massive bully,” (8) “He’s anti-abortion,” (9) “He supported Donald Trump until it was no longer politically expedient to do so,” (10) “He saw ‘no need’ for the Respect for Marriage Act,” (11) “He’s made it harder for protesters to speak out about injustice and easier for anti-justice people to hit protesters with their cars,” (12) “He has no interest in preventing gun violence,” and (13) “According to people who know him, he’s an awful person and has been for many years.”
Levin’s columnist/listicle is as comprehensive as it blistering. And she makes one argument after another why DeSantis is cut from the same authoritarian cloth as Trump.
“To be clear, this is not an argument in favor of giving Trump, who announced in November that he will run for a third time, a second term,” Levin emphasizes. “That man should be legally prohibited from coming within 1000 feet of the Oval Office, and it would clearly be a boon for humanity if he was never heard from or seen again. Rather, it’s an argument that DeSantis — who some recent polls show thrashing Trump in a theoretical GOP primary — would be no better, and it would be great if people could avoid giving him the top job in Washington, too.”