Ron DeSantis’s snub of Trump is a 2024 challenge

One: It’s an intentional humiliation of a man who hates humiliation. For all his braggadocio, Trump’s ego is a robin’s egg attached to a cinder block hanging from a thread above a candle flame. Every day, he struggles to blow enough hot air to prevent the flame from burning the thread and dropping the block on top of the egg…

Two: DeSantis’s punch was a declaration of independence from a man who thrives on dependence. Trump is never happier than when he is being groveled to. He surrounds himself with suck-ups and yes-men. People who need him. Trump would fly halfway across the country to promote a desperate candidate for Congress, but someone like Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), an independent power, drives him crazy…

Three: The Florida governor is attacking Trump with a more subtle version of the former president’s own tactics. Trump defeats his opponents by finding their weaknesses and hammering them. Remember the nicknames in 2016? Low-energy Jeb? Little Marco? Lyin’ Ted?

DeSantis struck first. He is savvy enough to realize Trump is surely mulling over a nickname for him. Reckless Ron? Without even saying the word, DeSantis slapped a preemptive label on Trump’s forehead: Irrelevant Donald. It will be difficult for Trump to shed.