In an unexpected twist, an strategy memo from “Never Back Down,” a super PAC linked to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has leaked online. Its contents? Tactics for the upcoming Republican primary debate scheduled for August 23. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Targeting Vivek Ramaswamy: As revealed by The New York Times, DeSantis is seemingly prompted to hard-hittingly tackle entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Nicknaming him “Fake Vivek” or “Vivek the Fake” is among the strategies.Why Vivek? Ramaswamy’s Republican support has surged since he kicked off his campaign. Besides ex-President Donald Trump (who might be a no-show at the debate), only DeSantis and Ramaswamy have managed to pull double-digit polling numbers, as per Real Clear Politics stats.

  • Defending Trump: Interestingly, the leaked memo suggests a dual-edged approach to Trump. On one hand, DeSantis is encouraged to shield Trump from any jibes by ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. An imagined line against Christie is: “Trump isn’t here. He can’t defend himself. Are we really siding with a potential MSNBC host on this stage?”Yet, on the other hand, DeSantis is seemingly guided to use Trump’s recent legal entanglements to his advantage. He’s supposedly advised to frame the charges against Trump as distractions that hinder Trump’s national focus. This, it is inferred, makes DeSantis the ideal successor for the Trump movement.
  • DeSantis’ Polling Blues: After soaring at 30% in late February, DeSantis’ popularity appears to have waned, hitting below 15% recently.
  • Upcoming Debate: Governor DeSantis is also gearing up for a face-off with California’s Democratic Governor, Gavin Newsom.
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