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AOC is Right: Ron DeSantis is Weaker Than Donald Trump

AOC on MSNBC. Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot.

I don’t often agree with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. More often than not, I find AOC to be either wrong, or misguided, or incoherent, or all of the above. But I found myself agreeing with the “progressive” congresswoman’s assessment of the GOP field.

In conversation with MSNBC’s Jen Psaki, AOC said she believes that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is “weaker” than former President Donald Trump.

“I think that Governor DeSantis has made some very large critical errors,” AOC said. “And I think he’s weaker [than Trump].”

In my view, AOC is correct.

DeSantis Stumbling

AOC’s comments come as DeSantis is expected to finally announce his candidacy for presidency. And while DeSantis was surging in the polls last fall and winter, he has lost significant ground while opening himself up to criticism from the right for his handling of the whole Disney thing.

In short, DeSantis’s petulant grudge match with Disney has opened a window for fellow Republicans to criticize DeSantis for being anti-business, for antagonizing one of Florida’s largest employers  and largest taxpayers.

“You can’t out Trump, Trump, right?” AOC said of DeSantis. “And that’s what he has really been trying to do. He may be trying to win a base, but that base belongs to Donald Trump.” AOC added that DeSantis’s policies “go way too far in the state of Florida and that “he has sacrificed I think the one thing that others may have thought would make him competitive, which is the idea that he would somehow be more rational than Donald Trump, which he isn’t.”

Looking ahead to the GOP primary, AOC said that “the Republican Party is so disorganized that I really don’t see someone who can unite that party, even beyond Donald Trump.”

(Sidebar: the Republican Party has been unable to consolidate behind an alternative to Trump, but at least the Republican Party is allowing some form of competition, rather than Bernie Lomaxing an incumbent.)

Does AOC Prefer Trump?

I don’t want to give AOC too much credit, I don’t think of her as a psychological chess player, but it is possible that AOC prefers Trump win the GOP nomination, and that her comments are meant to support Trump over DeSantis.  

AOC could prefer Trump take the GOP nomination for two reasons. One, the most obvious, is Democrats are confident Biden can defeat Trump in the general election; Biden has already beaten Trump in a general election. So, Trump is a surer bet, a known entity, and in many respects, a has-been. DeSantis on the other hand is relatively fresh and undefeated.

Second, AOC could prefer Trump to DeSantis as president. This is less likely, but possible, given that DeSantis may well be more conservative and more hostile to the moderate-liberal agenda than Trump. Also, Trump is so discombobulated, so regularly engaged with exterior crises, he has difficulty enacting his own agenda. DeSantis could lock-in, stay focused, and accomplish more over the course of a four-year presidential term than Trump.

Trump the Frontrunner

Whatever AOC is up to, Trump is clearly the GOP’s frontrunner right now, leading every poll with a healthy margin. DeSantis, who consistently places second, has a healthy margin over the rest of the pack – Mike Pence and Nikki Haley and Co., who are all polling in the single digits.

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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.