At the renowned Iowa State Fair, an event often capturing political and media attention in the lead-up to presidential primaries every four years, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) encountered hecklers and even unexpected direct feedback from the sky.
As CNN reported, an aircraft circled overhead during DeSantis’s “Fair-Side Chat” with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R). This wasn’t just any plane, however — it was towing a massive banner with the message, “Be Likable, Ron!”
— 1776 (@TheWakeninq) August 12, 2023
While the party responsible for this airborne message remains unidentified, it echoes the recent sentiments from several media outlets and persons inside the Trump campaign. They’ve often painted DeSantis’s interactions as lacking likability and relatability to ordinary Americans.
The significance of this narrative shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially given that DeSantis recently overhauled key members of his campaign team. Could this aircraft message indicate broader perceptions that need to be addressed?
However, the “Be Likable, Ron!” banner wasn’t the only airborne distraction for DeSantis. The unmistakable presence of Trump himself seemed to literally overshadow the Florida Governor. Trump’s private jet cruised over the fairgrounds, eliciting enthusiastic responses from the crowd.
Ron DeSantis is caught on a hot mic saying that's his fcuking plane as Trump trolls him by flying his plane over the Iowa state fair while he is speaking. pic.twitter.com/Ay0ygUKLWx
— TMK (@TheMagaKing) August 13, 2023
While airborne messages and political fly-bys garnered much attention on the ground, DeSantis faced other challenges. Protesters, equipped with whistles and cowbells, sought to disrupt his event with Reynolds. The governor stood firmly next to DeSantis and addressed the disruptors, emphasizing the event’s purpose to let “each and every candidate” speak.
Apart from protesters, DeSantis’s message was also met with competition from ardent Trump supporters. As The Hill reported, as DeSantis was engaging with fairgoers and flipping pork chops, “We love Trump!” became the dominant chant.
Everyone started cheering for Trump while they were giving Ron their fast food orders.
Choose your fighter. pic.twitter.com/lPqH18TfQv
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) August 12, 2023
Although DeSantis and Trump were once seen as allies, the onset of the 2024 primaries has ignited a simmering rivalry. As of now, Real Clear Politics shows Trump leading DeSantis by a substantial margin in polling among prospective GOP primary voters.
It’s essential to remember that election seasons are long, and the Iowa State Fair is just one event in a series that will unfold over the coming months. While this particular Saturday held challenges for DeSantis, there remains ample time for strategies to pivot and narratives to evolve.
One message is clear in all this: politics, especially in the age of instant digital communication and fervent grassroots movements, is never just about policy. Personality, perception, and, yes, likability play a pivotal role in shaping electoral fortunes. As DeSantis gears up for the road ahead, the banner’s message offers food for thought, however cheeky it might seem. The 2024 race is heating up, and every signal, from the ground or the sky, matters.