DeSantis vs. Trump: The Gloves Come Off

The battle for the most puerile presidential campaign ad has begun – and it looks like there are only winners.

Credit: Canva

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Who has dirty chocolate “pudding fingers” and wants to cut Medicare, Social Security and raise Americans’ age of retirement?

Who used to be a semi-deity in the Republican party and is now a potential criminal, putting the ticket in peril?

After months of circling each other in the GOP coliseum, former president Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are finally unsheathing their attack ads and making a lot of conservative voters exceedingly jittery over the rising likelihood of a messy and acrimonious primary.

In what can only be called a graphically memorable and deeply creepy ad, the Make America Great Again Inc. political action committee ran a pro-Trump spot charging, “Ron DeSantis loves sticking his fingers where they don’t belong,” depicting a man eating fudge pudding with his bare fingers and implying DeSantis would deep-six benefits for senior citizens.

The ad riffs off a rumor that DeSantis once ate pudding cups with three of his fingers instead of a spoon, a story he mostly denies. “I don’t remember ever doing that,” he said. “Maybe when I was a kid.”

Meanwhile, DeSantis’s ad, released this week just days after Trump’s by another political action committee, pokes fun at Trump for being the first criminally indicted former president to ever make a bid for the Oval Office, who is also spending millions of dollars attacking DeSantis rather than the Democrats. “Whatever happened to Donald Trump?” it asks.

The ads commence what is likely to be one of the most contentious Republican races for the nomination in history, with one poll this week showing DeSantis beginning to edge out Trump in key battleground states.

While Trump is still seen as the Republican front-runner, the recent survey shows DeSantis would potentially win more votes than President Biden in Pennsylvania by 45 percent to 42 percent and Arizona by 48 percent to 42 percent in a 2024 faceoff. 

The poll, which assessed 500 registered voters in Pennsylvania and Arizona, indicated Trump would lose to Biden in those states if he was the nominee.

Not to be outdone, the Trump War Room on Twitter blasted the survey, calling it a “fake poll” with unreliable data and “Truly a POS poll.”

Glad to see everyone is keeping it classy. 

*Power Corridor is the newest publication from The Daily Upside. Delivered twice weekly, Lead Editor Leah McGrath Goodman gives readers a unique view into the interplay between Wall Street and Washington. Sign up for free here.*

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