In a head-to-head match-up, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis defeats former U.S. President Donald J. Trump. If one were to produce a trendline of the last years’ worth of polling on DeSantis and Trump, one would see that DeSantis’ support among Republican voters has increased whereas Trump’s has declined.
Some colleagues of mine in MAGA-world insist that it won’t matter who wins the Republican nomination in 2024 until voter fraud is addressed. While I certainly agree that our elections have been corrupted by the Left, how can one say that our elections are hopelessly—systemically—rigged against Republicans and then spend so much time and effort worrying that Donald Trump won’t be our nominee? If things were that hopeless, why would anyone care?
As with most Trumpworld criticisms of DeSantis, that argument displays deep cognitive dissonance.
The biggest issue our federal elections face is not absentee and/or early voting, which has been with us in one form another as long ago as 1980. and historically has benefited Republican candidates. The problem, as others have rightly assessed, is in the fact that many swing states in 2020 lowered their standards for mail-in voting as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. When those changes to mail-in-voting occurred in the spring of 2020, Trump—the president at the time—did little more than complain about the problem at some of his rallies.
Meanwhile, there was one Republican leader who spent the last two years addressing the problems in our election system at the state level: Ron DeSantis. Because of his visionary leadership, Florida had the cleanest election in the country in 2022. Imagine scaling his policies up and making them national as would happen if he were president.
Another argument the budding “Never DeSantis” movement is making is the false claim that DeSantis must “wait for 2028.” Destiny does not wait. Imagine if the founders had waited to declare independence from the British Empire until a more opportune time had arisen (spoiler alert: life rarely presents perfect moments of the kind Trumpists think DeSantis should wait for).
These arguments bely a dangerous degree of decadence on the part of those making such specious claims. Imagine the chutzpah it takes for one to insist, as everything is burning, that our best and brightest should “wait their turn” to step forward. Simply to protect the bruised ego of a former president whose negative attributes now outstrip his positive ones in the eyes of most voters?
What’s more, the country needs both competence and courage from its potential presidents. I can’t think of a greater sign of courage than that of the upstart Ron DeSantis (David) challenging a deeply flawed and rapidly aging giant, like Donald Trump (Goliath) for the party’s nomination in 2024.
An even more cringe variation of the “wait ’til ’28” argument goes that “Florida needs” DeSantis in 2024. What the Boomer transplants from the North who argue this clearly don’t know is that DeSantis is term limited as governor. Unless Florida law is changed, he cannot run for a third term. As an actual Floridian (who was raised in this state and lives in the hometown he was raised in), I do not fancy changing my state’s constitution just to appease the Boomer Northerners who want to see their fellow Boomer New Yorker, Trump, back in office by not being challenged from a younger, more popular, and disciplined Ron DeSantis.
Alas, carpetbaggers usually don’t understand the states south of the Mason-Dixon to which they routinely condescend. And that’s precisely what that argument is: rank condescension. The fact an argument like that is so often coming from Trump supporters who were subjected to similar condescension from the elitist, globalist Bush Family side of the Republican Party in 2016 is especially disheartening. They should know better.
The last several presidential cycles have begun a minimum of two years before the actual campaign took place. In that time, those who wanted to run usually began organizing for their runs while they held office or continued working at their day jobs. Trump himself has already announced his bid for the presidency and there’s nothing stopping a politician from running while holding another office. In fact, that’s how most candidates have to run.
One other overwrought accusation Trump supporters wrongly lob at DeSantis is that he’s somehow a tool of the “globalists.” They say that because Ken Griffith, a wealthy hedge funder who has a history of bankrolling Republican political campaigns, is behind DeSantis now that is evidence of his perfidy. Of course, these same voices completely ignore the fact that Trump has spent his entire presidency sucking up to big Republican donors. In fact, he staffed most of his administration with the same swamp creatures he was sent to defeat!
Others of these pundits claim that supporting DeSantis is a “trap” the elites have set for us foolish yokels. They never address the fact that DeSantis’ record as governor is more Trumpian than even President Trump’s was. Want to see a state that ended its COVID lockdowns or refused to impose vaccine mandates? How about a government that took on corrupt mega corporations and their satanic social agenda—rather than just rage tweet about it? It wasn’t the Trump Administration that did these things. It was DeSantis’ Florida.
Nor do these DeSantis opponents seem to be aware that there’s no public figure who can galvanize record numbers of people to vote against him than Trump.
DeSantis’ detractors on the Right often bring up the fact that the likes of former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) or Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) have all made positive statements about DeSantis’ potential presidential bid. However, they refuse to close that particular mental loop by acknowledging that basically every conservative with a voice has uttered some form of support for DeSantis’ eventual run.
Beyond that, DeSantis’ critics on the Right neglect to acknowledge that as president, Trump happily handed his legislative agenda over to the likes of Paul Ryan and endeavored to make Mitt Romney his secretary of state (which is one reason why the Trump Administration failed to build a wall but easily gave us more tax cuts and Mideast bombing missions).
For his third presidential run, Trump is the weakest he’s ever been politically. He’s also going to be in his mid-70s. Trump’s record is mixed at best. His heart is in the right place. Sadly, he has consistently shown his inability to overcome his own political inexperience or his own personality quirks to achieve the great task of bringing the administrative state to heel.
This is not the case for Ron DeSantis. His time is not in 2028. It is now, heading into 2024. Or it will never happen.