Republican Ron DeSantis Challenging the Political Arena: The Trials of Campaigning and a Call for Respect.

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( During a campaign stop in Iowa, a man holding an item walked up to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The man sarcastically said, “Gov. DeSantis, I want to present to you this participation trophy. Now, you’re probably not going to win the election, right? But we’re proud of you for trying.”

Republican Ron DeSantis Challenging the Political Arena: The Trials of Campaigning and a Call for Respect.

As the DeSantis security team pulled the prankster away, he shouted, “He’s special. He’s unique, and he’s our little snowflake.” It turns out the campaign crasher co-hosts a comedy show about politics. The show’s Wikipedia page states, “Their primary focus is infiltrating conservative rallies and campaign events to interact with, interview and troll politicians and their supporters.”

This sort of thing demonstrates why good people, whether conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, refuse to run for office. It requires no real skill to mock a political candidate. But try to become one.

It is hard. It is grueling. It is physically, emotionally, and spiritually taxing. I know. With no experience running for office, I took time from my radio and TV career to run for governor of California in 2021 and then to run for president of the United States in 2024. A typical day involved several meet-and-greets, print, radio, and TV interviews, a fundraiser rally or two or three, and most difficult of all, a couple of hours were set aside to ask people for money, in person or by phone.

As for the meet-and-greets, many in the same day, the supporters and prospective supporters expect a vibrant, energetic, upbeat candidate, no matter how dog-tired you are.

If you are conservative, and since only 3% of journalists are Republican, expect unfair treatment, biased coverage, and to have your words taken out of context or completely distorted. The closer you get to winning, the more the media focuses on accusations against you, however baseless.

Whether running as a Democrat or Republican, some 40% of the electorate will dislike you — and not just because of your policies, which you would expect, but because they dislike you personally. Run as a conservative Republican, the personal disdain becomes more intense. A 2018 Axios poll found that 61% of Democrats see Republicans as “racist/sexist/bigoted” versus 31% of Republicans who feel the same way about Democrats. A 2019 Quinnipiac poll found that half of U.S. voters consider Donald Trump “racist.” A Washington Post poll found a whopping 83% of blacks consider him “racist.” CNN’s then-host Don Lemon said, “And anyone who … is supporting him is complicit in their racism, as well.”

Assuming you’re not financially flush, and you’ve put your career, job or work on hold, you lose money. Many voters think personal expenses, whether mortgage, rent, college tuition, car insurance, etc., are paid for out of campaign funds. There is a term for that — stealing.

Voters and the media expect a candidate running for a national office to be knowledgeable about a range of state, national, and international issues. This includes, but is not limited to, gas prices; inflation, the budget; taxes, spending, the borders; crime; education; health care; immigration, Ukraine; China; Taiwan; Russia, Iran, Israel; Hamas; the Houthis; race relations; abortion; trade; the Jan. 6 “insurrection”; climate change; social security; Medicare; Medicaid; homelessness; the First Amendment; the Second Amendment; the Fourth Amendment; the Fifth Amendment; the 14th Amendment; whether the 2020 election was “stolen”; whether we have a two-tiered system of justice and many others. The candidate, while campaigning, must stay on top of current events and comment on the latest news.

And in the end, one person wins. Everybody else loses.

I endorse Trump for president. But DeSantis is a former House member and a successful governor. He is a decorated Navy vet who served in a war zone and, among other commendations, earned a Bronze Star. So, how about a little respect?

As for the guy who tried to hand out the participation trophy, it appears he has not run for so much as poop inspector for San Francisco and did not volunteer for military service. Perhaps Lieutenant Commander DeSantis should have accepted the trophy — and given the jerk a pacifier.

Columnist; Larry Elder

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