Could Fetterman’s Campaign Strategy be the Winning Secret for DeSantis’ Presidential Run?

What do Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have in common? Politically, not much. However, they both have beautiful wives who actively participate in their political careers.

Fetterman married his wife Gisele in 2008 and the couple have three young children together. While Fetterman recovered from a debilitating stroke during his Senate campaign, Gisele stepped up as an effective surrogate, attending rallies, talking to the press, and helping to promote the campaign platform.

Meanwhile, Ron and Casey DeSantis got married in 2009 and the couple also have three children. Casey has been active in her husband’s political career, acting as his booking agent in the early days and now running her own projects, adeptly engaging crowds and reporters alike. She was the first to tease her husband’s campaign launch on Twitter this week.

Both women have faced criticism their larger-than-usual role in their husbands’ political careers. Since they are not themselves elected, it is reasonable to wonder how much influence they have over their husbands’ political decision making. This is particularly significant in Fetterman’s case, given his mental and physical health struggles.

While the women’s professional and personal roles seem to intersect in many ways, the similarities seem to be lost on the corporate press.

The press gave Gisele glowing profiles as more than a surrogate, but effectively a “running mate,” lauding her intellect, “life of activism,” and overall grace. Vogue ran a gushing spread on her featuring a photo shoot more suited to a high fashion ad campaign than a political figure.

Casey, predictably, has not received the same treatment from a press hellbent on destroying her husband’s presidential aspirations.

recent hit piece from Politico titled, “The Casey DeSantis Problem,” spills an absurd amount of ink attacking Florida’s First Lady. It describes her as DeSantis’ “greatest liability” and compares her to Lady MacBeth — the Shakespearean queen who manipulates her husband into killing the king so she can be queen. It’s worth noting that similar references have not been made about Gisele, despite her husband’s vulnerable health status.

The “king” in this metaphor is former President Donald Trump, the presumed Republican nominee who DeSantis must overtake if he hopes to become president. Politico would have us believe that Casey is a plotting, evil mastermind behind a potential usurpation.

Such a framing is clearly purposeful. The corporate press hopes to maximize the conflict between Trump and DeSantis. It’s good for ratings and subscriptions, and keeps the attention away from a Biden campaign flailing on everything from the border to the debt ceiling. Republican infighting is the best way to wear out Independents during the primaries and push them toward giving the seat filler currently in the White House another four years.

Given that both couples appear to have an idyllic family life from an outsider’s perspective, one might think a left-wing press hostile to traditional family formation is merely reacting to the threat they perceive in a beautiful, loving, and devoted Republican wife. However, when juxtaposed with Gisele’s coverage, one once again sees how the media really has no principles — it’s all about power. The same reporters attacking Casey would certainly call the same attacks against Gisele a form of hostile misogyny.

Where Gisele is a brilliant campaign surrogate, Casey is clandestine manipulator. Gisele embodies an “unapologetic advocate” while Casey seeks to be “the power behind the throne.” When Gisele spars with the press, it is a noble fight against “ableism” toward her ailing husband, while Casey is “twice” the “vindictive motherfucker” her husband is, according to comments made by a staffer to Politico.

Despite the nauseating hostility and hypocrisy, the attacks against Casey are likely to backfire.

The attacks against conservative women are nothing new — just look at the way former First Lady Melania Trump was treated, with attacks on everything from her marriage to her cold and detached personality. Despite this, the former supermodel took the hits with poise and grace.

Melania entered the White House when her only son, Barron Trump, was approaching his teen years. Casey is a mother to three small children aged five, four, and two. She is also a cancer survivor, having publicly waged her fight against breast cancer while her husband campaigned. It is hard to attack a recently cancer-free mother of three small children without making yourself look like the bad guy. 

Growing up in Ohio, Casey has a relatable background. Her story of helping her husband go door-to-door struggling to sell his first book resonates with the “Stand By Your Man” mentality that many Americans nostalgically remember.

Additionally, she is very politically involved — she has her own record to run on in addition to her husband’s. She launched a Mamas For DeSantis initiative to bring more women into the governor’s campaign for re-election. She also recently launched an online cancer initiative to provide resources to cancer patients.

The Fettermans represent a successful model of electoral politics. Giselle helped get her husband elected against all odds. This should serve as a warning to the corporate press — attacking Casey DeSantis for being a loving and involved wife could give her husband the boost he needs to overtake Trump in the primary season.

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