Ron DeSantis Aborts His Presidential Campaign

The Florida Governor tried to run to the right of Trump on abortion, and it backfired spectacularly.

Ron DeSantis Aborts His Presidential Campaign
America wiping Gov. Ron DeSantis from its memory. Photo:Shutterstock

Floria Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed former President Donald Trump on Sunday night, days after finishing an embarrassingly distant second in the Iowa caucuses. He ended his campaign two days before the New Hampshire primary, where he was polling in third place with a truly anemic average in the single digits.

Once upon a time, DeSantis seemed like an actual contender for the GOP nomination, but he never offered any real reason for voters to pick him over Trump, other than saying that the quadruply-indicted president would be tied up with his various legal cases and could only run for one term. DeSantis also had a lot of personal and strategic deficits, including acting like a robotic weirdo, betting it all on Iowa, and preferring to fly by private jet. But possibly his biggest strategic deficit proved to be running to the right of Trump on abortion—because it backfired spectacularly.

Since the spring, GOP megadonors have been worried about DeSantis’ hardline stance on abortion (and book bans). Not only did he sign a bill banning abortions after six weeks, he also said he supported a nationwide ban after 15 weeks. Trump said the six-week ban was “a terrible thing,” which prompted DeSantis to claim that Trump wasn’t pro-life and had flip-flopped on the issue—a laughable criticism given that Trump is the person most responsible for the end of Roe v. Wade. A DeSantis pollster even warned him that abortion was a losing issue by pointing to the party’s losses in the 2022 midterms, as The Messenger recently reported. DeSantis responded by saying it didn’t matter because “Evangelicals in Iowa are pro-life.” Well, Trump won Iowa by 30 points and dominated among Evangelicals.

Trump also won’t commit to endorsing a federal limit. Instead, he just continues to spout nonsense like “I would sit down with both sides and I’d negotiate something, and we’ll end up with peace on that issue for the first time in 52 years.” Trump is acting like a moderate on the issue—even though, again, he appointed three Supreme Court Justices who voted to overturn Roe. It’s just more gaslighting from the same man who claimed during a 2020 debate that we couldn’t possibly know how then-nominee Amy Coney Barrett would vote on abortion.

But it still feels good to laugh at a candidate as bad as DeSantis—and to see that even Republicans don’t like explicit abortion extremism—but now we get to the much less funny part where Trump is the presumptive nominee.

Thus far, Trump has gotten away with saying almost nothing about his concrete plans on the issue. But multiple outlets have reported that conservatives are pushing him to drastically restrict access to the abortion drug mifepristone nationwide—either by prohibiting it from being mailed or directing the Food and Drug Administration to revoke its approval altogether.

Here’s former Vice President Mike Pence talking openly about targeting abortion pills at Saturday’s March for Life:

Barring some kind of earth-shattering event between now and November, like Trump getting convicted or dropping dead, he will become the GOP nominee, and the prospect of a rematch between him and a battered President Joe Biden is terrifying. But for now, we get to dance on the DeSantis campaign’s grave.

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