DeSantis vs Trump: What the Florida governor has to do to win

Governor Ron DeSantis has a long road ahead if he wants to gain ground on Donald Trump. The latest FOX Poll shows DeSantis trailing the former president by over 30 points.

Trump and his team have not hesitated to take shots at their new competitor. The "MAGA War Room" launched a new campaign ad that attacked a 2015 sales tax plan that then-Congressman DeSantis proposed. The ad went to the beat of "Old McDonald".

"Ron De-Sales-Tax had a plan to make you pay more," the ad sang. "Here you’ll pay. There you’ll pay. Everyone will pay more."

Political experts say the ad is a classic play by Trump using nicknames to attack his opponents. Now they want to see how DeSantis will respond.

"Some of them try to ignore it. That didn’t work They just kind of got swamped. Others tried to fight back, come back at Trump and other ways or come up with nicknames. That didn’t work either," said UCF Political Science Professor Aubrey Jewett.

Political experts agree DeSantis has a long and difficult road ahead to cut into Trumps lead. Although, they don’t feel like his campaign launch did much to help that.

"The [campaign launch] is usually the best day for you as a candidate. At least it should be," said Jewett. "I will say this for DeSantis. If this is his best day as a candidate, he’s not going to beat Trump."

For DeSantis to defeat Trump, our experts believe he needs to find differences in their similar policies to separate the two and hope it’s enough.

"Americans like winners, right? We like winning and so I think if you find a way to have that message that Florida won the pandemic, he won Florida and ride that wave. That could be one way forward," said Stetson University Political Science Associate Professor Dr. Steven Smallpage.

They add DeSantis will have to prove effective at pulling away Trump supporters without alienating them. A task that could prove difficult.

"A lot of those Trump supporters, if DeSantis really goes hard after Trump, won’t be so forgiving, particularly, if Trump himself is not forgiving," said Jewett.

Many political experts also wonder if DeSantis will be effective campaigning beyond our borders. They say these next couple of weeks visiting in places like Iowa and New Hampshire will be a big test in gauging his reach.