How Ron DeSantis went from GOP prom queen to MAGA wallflower

This week, the rumors became reality as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott announced their long-awaited presidential campaigns. The contrast between the two events foreshadowed all the big questions for next year’s Republican primaries.

Tim Scott, who is a favorite among his Senate colleagues — but who is mostly unknown outside of his home state and the Washington, DC fundraising circuit — preached optimism and unity while sharing the stage with his mother.

Ron DeSantis, on the other hand, did something a little different. He announced his campaign on Twitter Spaces with Elon Musk. But for many, the glitchy start to the event was more memorable than DeSantis’ stern message to fellow Republicans.

It was the perfect setup for the choice Republicans will have to make in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond: Do they want a president who follows in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan – an optimistic, idea-driven president – who shake hands and kiss babies? Or do they want someone like Trump: a leader who uses the internet to push the attack on the cultural issues that have divided the country.

Now Scott and DeSantis join a packed GOP field that includes former governors Nikki Haley and Asa Hutchinson; entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy; and of course, the dominant favorite, Donald Trump.

This week on Playbook Deep Dive, Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza talks about Scott, DeSantis and all things 2024 with POLITICO Political Bureau Chief Jonathan Martin; and co-author of the best-selling, This Won’t Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future.

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