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Inside politics

DeSantis doesn’t pass the “beer test”

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There’s an adage in American politics that voters generally plump for the candidate “they’d most want to have a beer with”, says Charlotte Kilpatrick in The New Statesman. Passing this “beer test” suggests a politician has a level of “authenticity, likeability and general charisma”. And that could be a serious problem for Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis. On paper, the Florida governor is the perfect candidate: a young Harvard graduate who spews the same “culture-war vitriol” as Donald Trump without the looming criminal investigations. The only problem? He has “zero personal charisma”.

“DeSantis speaks with the stiffness of a lolly stick.” His most recent speech was on a deeply emotive topic – the opioid addiction plaguing America – yet he delivered it with all the animation of “a bored teenager annoyed they have to look up from their phone”. Running a successful presidential bid requires schmoozing voters with powerful speeches: think of Ronald Reagan, or even George W Bush (who was, “for all his linguistic difficulties”, as affable as they come). DeSantis, in contrast, resembles a “Madame Tussauds wax sculpture”. President Trump loves to bash his former protégé’s “dull personality”. “For once, I have to agree with him.”