The risks and rewards of retail politics

Candidates are weighing whether pressing the flesh will help or hurt their chances in the social media era

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in New Hampshire
(Image credit: John Tully for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

By now, you've likely seen them — the short clips of Florida Republican Governor and presumptive 2024 GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis uncomfortably laughing just a bit too hard at some innocuous comment in Iowa or stumbling his way through awkward introductions at a New Hampshire diner. His unguarded moments are "what it looks like when the joker gas hits," quipped columnist Oliver Willis. He's "maybe the worse retail politician ever," added longtime political consultant Keith Edwards.

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Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.