Key Point: “As long as Ron DeSantis stays on message and makes Trump go to the Left he can win. The more conservatives see that Trump is actually just a New York businessman and opportunist the weaker he will become and the stronger DeSantis will become.”
With Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis poised to enter the 2024 GOP presidential contest this week formally, questions surround how he can win.
Polls show him running far behind former President Donald Trump.
Trump leads DeSantis by a 56% to 19.9% margin. The key to eating into Trump’s margin for DeSantis will be creating cognitive dissonance in the minds of Trump voters between Trump’s rhetoric and his actual governance.
Trump Failed to Pick the Right People
He talks about “Draining the Swamp,” yet the Durham Report shows he could not manage the FBI or the CIA. Trump could not keep the Justice Department nor any other federal agency from undermining him and his administration. He also proved unable to keep the FBI or the CIA from supporting the Biden campaign’s operation to keep the Hunter Biden laptop hidden.
Trump said he would pick the best and the brightest to run his administration. He let his son-in-law Jared Kushner staff his administration with people like Secretary of State Rex Tilllerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Amb. John Bolton, Chief of Staff John Kelly who fundamentally disagreed with his policy goals. He appointed CIA Director Gina Haspel who frustrated his effort to declassify documents related to the Russia collusion conspiracy against him.
The same is true of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley who publicly criticized Trump
Trump never understood that personnel is policy. He also didn’t understand that running a private company where his wish was his company’s command was not how government bureaucracies function.
Ron DeSantis Must Emphasize Competence
As a lawyer and Navy veteran, DeSantis understood how to navigate complex bureaucracies. His success in Florida has been due in part to his ability to effectively lead and put the people in place who will enact his vision.
As a result, DeSantis won key battles by will and conviction. He abolished all COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the summer or 2020 and reopened Florida’s key tourist industry. Anthony Fauci is especially unpopular among Republicans. DeSantis would need to use Fauci as a weapon against Trump because the former president kept him in place even as he harmed his standing politically.
DeSantis already has said he thinks Trump mishandled the pandemic.
“The approach to COVID was different. I would have fired somebody like Fauci. I think he got way too big for his britches, and I think he did a lot of damage,” DeSantis said.
Unlike governors in other states, DeSantis kept his state’s schools open and won battles by latching onto the “War Against Woke.” He learned from Democrats by picking a target and polarizing it when he chose to make an example of Disney after it opposed him and the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. DeSantis too punitive measures
DeSantis Must Build a Coalition
Polling has consistently shown him outperforming Trump. The Democrats would be less able to make the campaign about shiny object issues like Trump’s civil judgement for sexual abuse in the E. Jean Carroll lawsuit, or the indictments.
They would be forced to defend Joe Biden’s record as president including the inflation, the decline of America’s global standing, and a youthful DeSantis debating an elderly president would not work to their advantage.
Democrats Fear DeSantis More Than Trump
DeSantis’ opponents fear him more than Trump, which he should play up to Trump’s base. Biden says he can beat Trump “like a drum” like he did before, but DeSantis would be a different threat.
As long as Ron DeSantis stays on message and makes Trump go to the Left he can win. The more conservatives see that Trump is actually just a New York businessman and opportunist the weaker he will become and the stronger DeSantis will become.
“I believe addiction to the power of the presidency is the only reason Trump is giving the presidency another go — he has no real interest in legislative movement that doesn’t line his pockets. DeSantis, however, is a different brand of threat,” Dustin J. Seibert wrote in HuffPost. “He managed to become a beast of a governor, anchored by a Republican Florida Legislature that, as the recently closed legislative session has shown us, bends to his whims like some do to Darth Vader using the Force.
Seibert continued: “But [Trump is] the devil I’ve already experienced in the White House, and he’d only have one term to go. Eight years of DeSantis terrifies me far more.”
FROM 19FortyFive: The War in Ukraine Is About to Explode
FROM 19FortyFive: Does Putin Have Cancer?
John Rossomando was a senior analyst for Defense Policy and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.