I want people to stop lying to themselves about Ron DeSantis

Michael Arceneaux
5 min readAug 17, 2022


The Florida governor has enjoyed success as the discount version of Donald Trump, but that doesn’t make him worth the hype.

Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A lot of folks are working hard to sell themselves on Ron DeSantis and his political future, but some are more animated about it than others.

Last Sunday, during a Turning Point USA rally in downtown Phoenix, Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake went on a bit of a tangent about how great she finds the Florida governor, who was in attendance.

“Love the guy, fantastic,” Lake said. “He is gutsy. The guy has bigger…wait, let me think about how I want to word this.”

“That guy has a backbone made of steel,” she continued. “I’ll tell you what he’s got, I don’t know if anybody’s heard about this, but he’s got BDE. Anybody know what this means? Ask your kids about it later. I call it ‘Big DeSantis Energy.’ Right? He’s got the same kind of BDE that President Trump has. And frankly he has the same kind of BDE that we want all of our elected leaders to have.”

I’m assuming Kari Lake found out about BDE from The Cut and/or Latto’s single “Energy” or something, but the term obviously must be given a proper burial now.

Surprisingly, not every Republican loved Lake’s categorization of DeSantis.

“Am I the only young conservative who thinks this kind of rhetoric at a TPUSA event is grossly inappropriate?” tweeted Jenna Ellis, best known as the lawyer for Donald Trump who wrote a memo arguing that former Vice President Mike Pence could stop Joe Biden from becoming president.

I love that someone who helped tried to facilitate a coup for an authoritarian racist that’s been credibly accused of sexual assault by over a dozen of women takes umbrage with sexual innuendo (even if vomit-inducing).

Separately, Ellis told Newsweek: “I endorsed and still fully support Kari Lake. What I don’t support is the notion that strong conservative women have to make comments with clear sexual innuendo to connect with a young audience or be popular. I’ve definitely said and tweeted things I’ve thought better of later, and I hope Kari does the same here. I admire her for what she is accomplishing in Arizona and look forward to her winning in November.”

Kari Lake doesn’t seem to give a damn about such critiques, though.

In fact, she is reveling in the attention she’s getting.

On Twitter, she wrote, “Uh-oh! Twitter is on fire because I said President Trump & Gov @RonDeSantisFL both have ‘BDE’

I stand by what I said.”

Shamelessness does not absolve her from her sins.

Given DeSantis is a champion of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, I imagine he would find it illegal for me to even think about his dick and the energy it gives — and for the record, I want nothing more than to not think about his dick or his purported “Big Dick Energy.”

I definitely don’t want to think about Donald Trump’s dick — especially since someone more familiar with it compared it to Toad from Mario Kart.

But Kari’s Lake is to blame, not me.

As far as energy is concerned, it all ends and begins with the fact that Ron DeSantis is a horrible human being.

I know this doesn’t matter in Republican circles, but for everyone else involved, it is largely forgotten that he ran one of the most racist gubernatorial campaigns in recent memory.

This is someone who felt more than comfortable taking money from racists and making comments about the election like “don’t monkey this up” by choosing his opponent, Andrew Gillum.

Gillum’s political career may be over due to several questionable choices he’s made, but he was never wrong about DeSantis.

“First of all, he’s got neo-Nazis helping him out in this state,” Gillum said in a debate with DeSantis.

“Now, I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist, I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist,” Gillum said.

Based on his work as governor — notably the attempts to whitewash American history — those racists have every reason to believe he’s on their team.

DeSantis has only since spread the bigotry to queer and trans people. Someone exploiting marginalized communities for the sake of secure bookings on Fox News primetime to boost a likely presidential bid is not “gutsy.”

Or perhaps she’s referring to DeSantis trying to strong arm Disney and the Tampa Bay Rays into submission by abusing the powers of Florida’s governorship.

Others would brand such antics to be facist.

After all, she thinks he has BDE.

As goofy she sounds, though, she doesn’t sound any less ridiculous than the news anchors, columnists, pundits, and government hacks with too much time on their hands to tweet that continue to push this notion that DeSantis is Trump’s political heir. I don’t know why they bother considering DeSantis has long displayed an openly hostility to the press that’s only grown worse as he consolidates power.

For several months now, there have been countless profiles, articles, op-eds, and news segments pushing this idea that even if Trump runs for president again, DeSantis could still beat him.

This includes people like David Frum, who may not be talking about Ron’s BDE, but arguably sounds like he’s swinging from his…well, I’ll stop there.

The former speechwriter for former President George W. Bush (which should tell you everything about the value of his opinion) actually tweeted: “Others disagree, but in my opinion, a DeSantis GOP nomination in 2024 represented a much better outcome for the whole country than a Trump return. Maybe you don’t like DeSantis’s manner or record, but he’s a recognizably normal US politician. If defeated, he’d go peacefully.”

Ron DeSantis does not have BDE.

Ron DeSantis does not behave like a “normal politician.”

Ron DeSantis is a discount Donald Trump with dreams of seemingly becoming our very first chancellor.

And for the record, new polling indicates that in another crowded GOP presidential primary field, Trump will dominate.

DeSantis is a socially awkward jackass that bullies people for the pursuit of power. That might not hurt him with GOP voters, but he’s not the Donald, celebrity racist with comedic timing. All Trump has to do is give that awful man a silly name and punk him in a debate and the crowd will go wild — as it has since 2015.

Ron DeSantis is dangerous and should be covered as such, but he is not Trump’s successor. He is not the Trump killer. Some are more desperate and gross than others arguing otherwise, but I wish they would stop trying to make fetch happen with Ron DeSantis.



Michael Arceneaux

New York Times bestselling author of “I Can’t Date Jesus” and “I Don’t Want To Die Poor.”