Advice to DeSantis:
Wait for ’28

Reports surfaced two weeks ago that Florida Republicans are considering changing the state’s “resign-to-run” law so Governor Ron DeSantis could throw his hat in the ring for the 2024 presidential nomination without losing his governorship. It is one sign among many that DeSantis, or those close to him, are thinking about taking on Donald Trump in the primary. 

A word of warning and wisdom to DeSantis: Don’t do it.

DeSantis is a promising politician with a real future on the national scene. He should want to be president. But not yet. DeSantis needs to understand his true self-interest. Running for president in 2024 isn’t it.

I can save DeSantis and his team a truckload of money and an embarrassing performance in the primaries by stating the obvious right now: There is no way to win against Trump in 2024 for the GOP nomination. Period.

DeSantis, look, you’re a good governor with a bright future but you don’t stand a chance against the most popular Republican candidate of all time. That’s not a slight. It’s just a fact. You don’t want to learn this reality the hard way!

Donald Trump won 74 million votes in 2020—far more than Obama in ’08. Trump won Democrats, nonvoters, and independents in massive quantities. Had it not been for the illegitimate election machinations preceding the 2020 election (mail-in ballot harvesting operation), Trump likely would have won a second term in a landslide. Trump is personally popular in the Rust Belt on a scale DeSantis simply cannot hope to reach in the next two years. Driving through rural Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania one would think The Donald is permanently running for president in each state based on the sheer number of bumper stickers, yard signs, and billboards bearing his name. 

DeSantis doesn’t have this kind of support. But he needs it if he wants to be president. 

Instead of running a suicide mission against the man who elevated him to his current office, DeSantis should bide his time. DeSantis should position himself as the heir apparent, ready to inherit the MAGA mantle after Trump ends his second term in 2024 . . . assuming, of course, that America’s oligarchs allow Trump to both run and win. 

That is a contentious prospect to say the least. It points to the core problem DeSantis faces once he has the nomination in hand—mere popularity is not enough in American politics anymore. Democrats can run stroke victims, dead people, and geriatric former vice presidents who don’t campaign and have zero personal popularity and still “win.”

Avoid the Establishment Creeps

If DeSantis wants to win, he needs to stay away from the dead consensus politics of the loser D.C. establishment. The way of Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan is the path of political death. DeSantis needs to be more ambitious than these losers. He needs to stay away from their petty intrigues. Of course, the D.C. bow-tied class would love it if he committed seppuku fighting with Trump. They would love nothing more than to permanently cripple the American Right by pitting its most promising young talent against the swaggering billionaire who humiliated them in 2016.

No one hates the GOP’s base more than good ole’ boy GOP politicians. DeSantis should want nothing to do with these cretinous failures. 

Instead, DeSantis needs to chart a different course. He should woo the Trump base by first showing loyalty to Trump and secondly (and more importantly) by adopting the winning bipartisan consensus issues that got Trump elected in 2016. 

That means running on a platform of national survival just like Trump did. The core issues for DeSantis should be immigration, trade, war, and law and order. He should, for the next six years, never open his mouth in public without mentioning one of these four issues. Critical race theory, transgender kids, abortion, gay marriage—these are important issues, but they are not the winning issues. You cannot win a culture war when you don’t even have a country.

Fundamentals come first. Always. And the fundamental issue in our time is securing American sovereignty. This means limiting legal and illegal immigration (by building the wall), returning American manufacturing to American soil through favorable trade deals, ending America’s stupid foreign wars and involvement abroad, and securing Americans from the threat of crime and political corruption.

This populist platform is pro-worker, pro-America, and pro-middle class. It is anti-foreign meddling, anti-communist, and anti-oligarch. The Left wants to destroy America as a discernable sovereign entity. It wants to dispossess white middle-class Americans, disparaging them as racist deplorables. Liberalism is a giant shakedown operation designed to replace healthy communities with fentanyl-infested hellholes that are easier for them to control. The people who have been screwed by this system need a champion. Right now, that champion is widely recognized by them to be Trump. When he is gone, they will need another. This is where DeSantis comes in.

Time to Build Popular Support

He has six years to build his brand. He can start by patching things up with Trump. DeSantis should endorse Trump publicly, as soon as possible. Then he should hit the campaign trail with the president. He should denounce the Nick Fuentes/Kanye/Milo fiasco as a psy-op and a media-driven circus. He should blast the fake news media and cowardly GOP politicians for betraying Trump by slandering his name and through weak guilt-by-association charges. He could point out that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been a regular associate of war criminals like Barack Obama and Joe Biden!

DeSantis must understand that the D.C. elite class is his enemy. He should treat them accordingly. He doesn’t need big donors and D.C. praise. An alliance with America’s degenerate elite might get him a cushy CNN gig, but it won’t get him what he really needs to become president: popular support. DeSantis must side with the people over the elites. He must turn to the silenced majority and become their avatar and hero.

DeSantis has come a long way by imitating Trump. He can go even further. DeSantis may not have Trump’s chutzpah and sense of humor. But nothing is stopping him from adopting Trump’s message and surrounding himself with real allies who will stay focused on the goal. 

DeSantis should use the next two years to do what he can to build real political power that will translate into election victories. He can start by strengthening Florida’s election laws. DeSantis should use his substantial political capital to crack down on mail-in and early voting. The model is simple: voters should cast a paper ballot, in person, at a secure polling place, on Election Day, after showing official photo ID. Just like the French.

DeSantis should also push to change Florida law to require that all voters re-register for each and every election in which they intend to vote. The more secure Florida’s elections become, the more striking the result will be in favor of Republicans. Democrats abuse the rules of the electoral game in order to “manipulate procedural outcomes” in favor of their preferred candidates.

By requiring a brand new voter roll for each and every election, it makes fraudulent election manipulation, no matter how allegedly rare (lol), that much harder. Requiring in-person voting means activists won’t be able to get “ballot access” out in the unsupervised wild. Ballots should be treated like valuable secure documents. They should never leave the watchful eyes of election officials and partisan observers designed to keep the process above board and honest. 

DeSantis should point out that early voting is illegal. Federal law, in accordance with the Constitution, specifies an Election Day, not an Election Week, Month, or Season. Voting is an important civic responsibility. Voters should take that obligation seriously enough that they are willing to arrange their lives so they can actually be at a polling place when an election is being held. If a voter will be out of state, the state of Florida should arrange to have a ballot sent to an official polling place or embassy where said voter can fill out the ballot on the day of the election. 

As of now, Florida allows for forms of non-photo ID, like debit and credit cards, to be accepted as identification. This practice should be ended. So should the practice of allowing voters without ID to vote provisionally. If you cannot show an official government ID to prove your identity to a polling official, you should not vote. Simple as that. 

Without secure elections, Republicans will never again have a chance to win a national election. DeSantis should push Florida to become a model for the rest of the nation. Wildly disparate results between states with secure elections and those without them will make obvious to everyone just how corrupt and illegitimate the American electoral process has become. That will help generate popular pressure to reform American elections at a national level. It is high time Our Democracy™ endured a few mass protests and general strikes in favor of real democracy!

The Right Policies

DeSantis should lean into free speech issues as well, attacking Big Tech for censoring right-wing voices. DeSantis must strike hard against corporate rules (created in collusion with government agencies) that favor communists while treating ordinary patriotic Americans as right-wing extremists. 

America’s public forums are not private entities. Stripping Americans of their natural right to freedom of speech is wrong, no matter whether it’s done by individuals or the state. Without unmediated access to the people, DeSantis won’t be able to win in 2028 because he won’t be able to craft a message independent of D.C. machinations. That is why he must stay firm on questions of internet free speech.

It is also crucial that DeSantis avoid getting drawn into becoming a sop for foreign powers. When asked to take sides in the Russo-Ukraine War, he should side with . . . America. How does sending American treasure abroad to go kill Russians, protect Americans from fentanyl flowing across the southern border? It is a question worth asking and one that DeSantis should use as a bludgeon against America’s out-of-touch D.C. foreign policy class.  

On social issues, DeSantis should adopt a stable set of talking points that allows him to avoid distracting fights that pull away from issues of national sovereignty and survival. On abortion, for instance, he should call for “common sense” reforms and attack Planned Parenthood. Point out that Democrats want a North Korean abortion policy of unlimited abortion on demand. Then get back to talking about immigration, trade, war, and law and order. This is the recipe for victory. 

DeSantis has six years to make his case to the American people and to become the hero they need. His aim should be to become a major player in the 2024 election, lending support to Trump and riding his coattails as he wins a second term. With a Trump victory, DeSantis should work out an agreement that he moves into a foreign policy-centered role, probably as secretary of state either in ’24 or ’26, when his governorship concludes. 

If Trump doesn’t win, DeSantis will be thrust into the spotlight even sooner. Trump cannot live or dominate the GOP forever. He needs an heir who will lead the resistance against the worst excesses of liberal insanity if the worst comes to pass. DeSantis needs to be ready.

He needs to surround himself with real friends who seek to help him, not frivolous D.C. consultants just trying to make a buck. The wise leader knows from whom to seek counsel. Is DeSantis wise? We are about to find out. 

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About Josiah Lippincott

Josiah Lippincott is a Ph.D. student and a former U.S. Marine Corps officer. You can find him on Telegram at https://t.me/josiah_lippincott or subscribe to his Substack here.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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