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Tags: election | iowa | stolen
OPINION

Is DeSantis Getting Ready to Rock 'n' Roll?

republican politics iowa

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., speaks at the Republican Party of Iowa's 2023 Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa: July 28, 2023. (Sergio Flores via Getty Images) 

Susan Estrich By Monday, 07 August 2023 10:12 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

It's certainly about time for Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who remains the main challenger to front-runner Donald Trump, to stop pulling his punches.

On the campaign trail this week, responding to the latest indictment, DeSantis came closer than usual. In answer to a reporter's question, he actually acknowledged, "All those theories that were put out did not prove to be true."

In other words, they were false.

In other words, the election was not stolen.

How long will it take for him to come right out and say that?

And if the election wasn't stolen, what does that say about the effort to overturn it?

Storming the Capitol to overturn an election that wasn't stolen?

What do you say about that?

Based on "theories that were put out (that) did not prove to be true."

What is striking about DeSantis' move, however modest, is that it comes on the same day as a new poll showing the race in Iowa to be closer than the nationwide contest, with DeSantis running second at 20% to Trump's 44%, still a double-digit lead but less commanding than in the national polls, where Trump enjoys majority support.

This is according to The New York Times/Siena College poll of likely Iowa caucus participants. It suggests that DeSantis' efforts in Iowa are having at least some impact.

Will he be willing to take on Trump's "theories" that did not "prove to be true" in the days ahead and actually hold him responsible for spreading lies?

And will that help him or hurt him with the voters, some of whom are currently leaning toward Trump, who he needs to persuade to win the Iowa caucus?

Obviously, from the care and the baby steps he has been taking, it's a difficult strategic dance for the Florida governor.

He needs to win the support of Trump backers without losing his credibility entirely in the process. Of course the election was not stolen.

Of course the claims of fraud were not true.

The fact that we are even playing these games is a bit ridiculous in and of itself.

But this is the dance for the nomination.

Does it escape mention that Chris Christie, who has been the most outspoken of the Republican candidates in his criticism of Trump, does not break 1% in the Iowa poll?

One point to note from that survey: 67% of Iowa Republicans, when offered a choice, said they preferred a candidate who was focused on "restoring law and order in our streets and at the border" than one trained "on defeating radical 'woke' ideology in our schools, media and culture," which sounds like Trump over DeSantis — or, rather, it sounds like Iowa isn't necessarily buying what DeSantis has been trying to sell.

Which raises again the question of what he should be selling: likeability, for certain; electability, for certain; and maybe, as the key component to both of those, traits of character and integrity that used to be the stuff of presidential campaigns, what contests were said to be all about, the measure of the man — exactly the sort of measure that Donald Trump seeks to evade at all costs.

When it comes right down to it, the question about election fraud is a question about integrity, and there is only one answer.

The answer is integrity, and that is, ultimately, what DeSantis needs to demonstrate, and what he needs to sell.

Susan Estrich is a politician, professor, lawyer and writer. Whether on the pages of newspapers such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post or as a television commentator on countless news programs on CNN, Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS and NBC, she has tackled legal matters, women's concerns, national politics and social issues. Read Susan Estrich's Reports — More Here.

© Creators Syndicate Inc.


Estrich
A new poll showing the race in Iowa to be closer than the nationwide contest, with DeSantis running second at 20% to Trump's 44%, still a double-digit lead but less commanding than in the national polls, where Trump enjoys majority support.
election, iowa, stolen
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2023-12-07
Monday, 07 August 2023 10:12 AM
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