Washington, Dec 4

U

S Presidential hopeful Nikki Haley’s rapid ascension in the echelons of the GOP and donors endorsements in the primaries, just days before the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire meet, could be humiliating to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who had the early bird advantage in the race for the 2024 Presidential poll candidacy.

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Haley received a huge boost last week after her poll numbers jumped over DeSantis when the influential and deep-pocketed Koch political network endorsed her. This apparently left in cold the once-hailed DeSantis as the Republican Party’s next big thing, US media critics observed.

Haley gets Koch cash while DeSantis gets another kick in the ..., critics wrote in op-eds.

While Haley was counting all the new campaign cash she would get from Americans for Prosperity Action (AFP), linked to billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, DeSantis was desperately vying for attention by debating a Democrat who’s not running for president, namely California Governor Gavin Newsom on whether the Californian liberal model or the stringent DeSantis model was good for America’s future. The public opinion was only marginally in favour of DeSantis.

The once-heralded presidential candidate, trailing Haley in New Hampshire and South Carolina (where she was also the former governor) and tying up with her in Iowa, spent Thursday night on Fox News debating Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

It didn’t work very much in favour of DeSantis, critics pointed out saying viewers again saw Awkward Ron, a guy who struggles with smiling and other basic human facial expressions. He parroted his usual culture-war lines while Newsom – who again is not running for president and really doesn’t matter – battered him with facts and lured him into exchanges like his pandemic response.

Donald Trump continues to brutally mock DeSantis, who has lost his support in the GOP. Prior to the weird and unnecessary debate, critics said, leading GOP presidential primary candidate Trump’s spokesperson released a predictably crass statement that wound up being prescient: “Instead of actually campaigning and trying to turn around his dismal poll numbers, DeSanctus is now so desperate for attention that he’s debating a Grade A loser like Gavin Newsom", USA TODAY said in a special feature Sunday.

At the debate, Ron will flail his arms and bobble his head wildly, looking more like a San Francisco crackhead than the Governor of Florida. This isn’t a prediction. It’s a spoiler, a USA TODAY critic wrote.

“While the DeSantis campaign’s death rattle is satisfying to those of us who have found him, his often-cruel policies and his bullying demeanour repulsive, there is an orange-hued elephant in the room that minimizes Haley’s admirable progress," the critic wrote.

Trump remains miles ahead of both her and DeSantis in every poll, state or national. The former president again won’t bother to attend Wednesday’s debate at Alabama, and while the Koch endorsement of Haley clearly irked him, it’s going to take more than money for anyone to overtake Trump and his 90-plus state and federal indictments, unprecedented for a former president in American history and yet popular with voters.

His near-certain conviction in the New York civil fraud trial in March 2024 could change the scene for Trump as 15 per cent of his supporters are said to be thinking of dumping him if he's proved a tax evader.

If it comes down to Haley vs. Trump, the critic said she will need some big-time help.

DeSantis tried to out-bully Trump, and that's a fool's errand, the critic said pointing out that the only thing about Haley’s rise to “most-favoured No. 2” that matters is that she’s delivering another kick to the shins of DeSantis and what is arguably one of the worst presidential campaigns ever witnessed.

'Rise of Nikki Haley in GOP primaries can be humiliating to Ron DeSantis'

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