It’s true that The Donald is 76 years old, but his approval ratings are at least 10 times higher than those of Nikki Haley. And if he wins the nomination, he will seem middle-aged in comparison to Joe Biden.
Nowadays, Donald Trump’s problem is not attacking Joe Biden over how he is managing the “balloon crisis” or ridiculing Pete Buttigieg — transportation secretary and another possible contender for the White House — for railway disasters and various episodes of air traffic chaos, as Fox TV anchors who support Trump are doing. Trump’s problem is not even the challenge that Nikki Haley threw down in the Republican camp, seeking younger candidates. It’s true that The Donald is 76 years old, but his approval ratings are at least 10 times higher than Haley’s; and if he wins the nomination, he will seem middle-aged compared to Biden.
His real problem, nowadays, is what nickname to pin on his most threatening rival, Ron DeSantis. It may seem frivolous, but it’s Trump’s true talent: creating brands that uplift or destroy. Being the incredibly skilled communicator that he is, Trump is convinced that elections are not won on platforms but by imposing one’s own personality — and by demolishing adversaries with ferocious accusations and insinuations, and transforming television debates into dialectic brawls. However, the first step is always choosing a withering nickname to label, humiliate and cut down to size anyone who crosses his path. Trump is convinced that, in a world where you can grab people’s attention for only a few seconds, a crushing word is the winning move. In 2016, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz ended up on the mat before they even entered the ring, bearing the nicknames “Low Energy Jeb” and “Lyin’ Ted.” “Crooked Hillary” was enough to fry Hillary Clinton. It was harder in 2020 with Biden. Trump began with “Crazy Joe,” then moved on to “Sleepy Joe.” Everyone knows how that turned out (although Trump continues to claim that he won). It’s hard with DeSantis, too. Before the November 2022 midterm elections, Trump tried “Desanctimonious,” but DeSantis was reelected governor of Florida in a landslide while many of Trump’s candidates lost. It seems that Trump is now convinced that “Desanctimonius” didn’t work because it had too many syllables. “Meatball Ron” is better. Why? Some say it’s because of DeSantis’ face, but “meatball” was once a derogatory term for Italian Americans — and DeSantis has Italian roots.
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