Ron DeSantis gives America the chance to move on from its punch-drunk stupor

POLITICS: Ron DeSantis gives America the chance to move on from its punch-drunk stupor

Ron DeSantis’ entry into the 2024 race for the White House offers a fighting chance for America to dodge a Donald Trump versus Joe Biden rematch that almost nobody (except Trump and Biden) craves: According to most polls, this punch-drunk nation just wants to move on.

Trump clearly sees the danger in DeSantis, judging by the increasing velocity, ferocity and downright absurdity of his attacks on the Florida gov. Consider the $15 million Trump’s SuperPAC dumped into dumping on DeSantis before he even announced his candidacy.

But he failed to strangle the candidacy in its cradle: DeSantis enters with the war-chest (north of $110 million, well ahead of Trump) and polling numbers to potentially de-throne the frontrunner.

Yes, other talented Republicans might yet rise to the top or even enter the race: It’s a long way to Iowa, let alone the ’24 convention. But at the moment, it looks like an exclusive heavyweight bout between the two. 

DeSantis is a proud son of the working/middle class — mom a nurse, dad a TV tech — who played elite baseball as a kid and at Yale, working his way through college while managing to graduate magna cum laude before heading to Harvard Law and then to the Navy, where he served our country as a JAG in Iraq and elsewhere.

Donald Trump has been attacking Ron DeSantis over truth social for months.

The bio alone is huge contrast with silver-spoon-born Trump and lifetime politician/grifter Biden. And, at 44, he’s just over half their age.

As Florida governor he’s proved tough, smart and independent-minded. 

Crucially, he showed immense courage and leadership once COVID hit. He sought out independent advice, really looked at the science and rapidly reopened his state despite a savage onslaught from the establishment and media, who wrongly hurled grievous claims that he was condemning the masses to a certain death.

He fought off the DC “expert” advice, the major-media scolds and even his own then-President Trump, who wound up following almost to the letter whatever Dr. Tony Fauci ordered.

The result? The Sunshine State boomed without the doom that was predicted as COVID fortresses such as New York and California still reap the harm wrought by their lockdown fanaticism. 

Yes, other DeSantis policies have driven that boom: He’s controlled state spending, taxes and regulation to nurture the economy, and even reformed Florida’s once-insane liability laws.

And he delivered big-time on other issues. 

His 2022 Parental Rights in Education Act handed power back to families by preventing schools from hiding woke brainwashing and social transitions — and he expanded it this year.

He defunded racist “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” initiatives at public colleges and universities across the state, moved against Critical Race Theory in the private sector with his Stop W.O.K.E. Act and cracked down on migrant traffickers and businesses that illegally employ the undocumented. 

He’s proven that in Florida, at least, he doesn’t just talk the talk, but also walks the walk. 

DeSantis is now taking it up a notch. 

Joe Biden
Joe Biden defeats Donald Trump in most polls.
MediaPunch / BACKGRID

In just his first night in the race, he did multiple events displaying a mastery of subjects far beyond showman Trump or senescent Biden. 

While Trump played golf (for the Saudis!) on Thursday and Biden got ready to leave his basement for yet another vacation, DeSantis prepped for a four-day, multi-state tour packed with events in Iowa and New Hampshire — where voters pride themselves on giving prez candidates a good grilling. 

He’ll need that energy and his COVID cojones for the central mission of our next president: ripping out the roots of radical ideology that the majority never voted for, but has nonetheless burrowed deep into every foundation of American public life far beyond just the federal government.

He’s taken the fight to Disney; as president, he’ll need to take it to BlackRock, the Justice Department and the Ivy League.

DeSantis (or any non-Trump GOP nominee) would also have time to undertake this momentous task — the potential for eight years in office while Trump would be term-limited. 

For all his strengths, there are weaknesses he must accept and face. 

Voters expect in their president not just a mastery of detail but also a likable looseness. They expect them to wear the great burden of office lightly (or at least appear to do so).

The campaign trail is long and it may well be that as DeSantis gets in his stride he finds he can relax a bit more.

Voters want to know their president by his most humble human nature, too.

They also want to be soothed, not just girded for each morning’s new life-and-death battle.

Ron DeSantis
DeSantis trounced his Democratic competitor in his reelection bid for Florida governor.

The greatest statesmen can also connect all those concrete plans to something higher, nobler and more hopeful: a vision of a healed, prosperous America, confident of her place in the world and her domestic stability. 

DeSantis must also explain more fully his position on the issues that will likely dominate the next general election. 

With recession looming and the world in growing turmoil, the election will turn on pocketbook issues and facing down the nation’s overseas adversaries.

With Trump dodging and feinting to the left and the wider GOP grappling with competing views on the ballooning deficit, welfare budget and Ukraine (plus America’s role in the world at large), DeSantis must robustly articulate where he stands.

Man does not live (nor Republicans win) by culture wars alone. 

We look forward to the campaign to bring debate clarity on all of this, from DeSantis and the rest of the pack. 

With his much-anticipated entry, the race is truly on.

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