DeSantis using popular social media shills

As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis soaked up the crowd’s adulation during a surprise appearance at last Sunday’s NFL playoff game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs, a lesser-known team was on hand to run a very different kind of play.

By the time the governor took his seat at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, video of his smile-and-wave routine—smoothly filmed in vertical mode, perfect for sharing—was already circulating online.

But the most important plank of DeSantis’ play was executed on a much different field: the arena of social media. Promptly after the clip was posted, right-wing Twitter accounts with thousands of followers amplified it and caused it to spread like wildfire among a DeSantis-loving audience. The clip would end up racking up over over 2 million views on Twitter.

That was no accident. It was—and is—a core element of the DeSantis team’s political strategy as he gears up for a possible run for the presidency in 2024.

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