The New York Times just published a report detailing how former President Donald Trump essentially won an internet battle with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
The report is titled, How Ron DeSantis Lost the Internet: The G.O.P. contender's campaign tried to take on Donald Trump's online army. Now it just wants to end the meme wars.
To put the article into perspective, Trump and DeSantis are two of the frontrunners to win the Republican Party's 2024 presidential nomination.
Trump, to be clear, is dominating the matchup, in particular, and the Republican field, in general. He currently leads DeSantis, the second-place nominee, by a margin of 46.3 percentage points, according to Real Clear Politics.
At one point, Trump and DeSantis were considered rivals. But, given what has happened in recent months and given the way Trump has emerged as the dominating force while DeSantis has faded out of the spotlight, it is hard to call it much of a rivalry any more. To put it simply, Trump has won.
The Times' report focuses on how Trump won a part of this rivalry with DeSantis, using the internet.
The Times begins by reporting on how DeSantis, back in May, brought together "about a dozen right-wing social media influencers" with the purpose of combatting Trump's online influencers.
DeSantis's plan, however, did not work. In fact, according to the Times, it "had the opposite effect."
"Some of the guests at the meeting, which has not previously been reported, left doubtful that the DeSantis camp knew what it was in for," the Times reports.
The outlet continues:
Four months later, those worries seem more than justified. Mr. DeSantis’s hyper-online strategy, once viewed as a potential strength, quickly became a glaring weakness on the presidential trail, with a series of gaffes, unforced errors, and blown opportunities, according to former staff members, influencers with ties to the campaign, and right-wing commentators.
DeSantis's campaign was well aware of this failure. And, it tried to "reboot" itself. But, according to the Times, the reboot has also been unsuccessful.
Per the outlet:
Even after a recent concerted effort to reboot, the campaign has had trouble shaking off a reputation for being thin-skinned and meanspirited online, repeatedly insulting Trump supporters and alienating potential allies. Some of its most visible efforts — including videos employing a Nazi symbol and homoerotic images — have turned off donors and drawn much-needed attention away from the candidate. And, despite positioning itself as a social media-first campaign, it has been unable to halt the cascade of internet memes that belittle and ridicule Mr. DeSantis.
That's How DeSantis lost the internet.