I confidently speak on behalf of many who greatly fear that split Republican loyalties will cede the ’24 election to a continuation of the most transparently corrupt, disastrously incompetent, incumbent presidential administration in modern American history.
Now enter the official campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose broad conservative popularity can hopefully avoid triggering exactly that.
Although latest among other GOP hopefuls currently trailing far behind former President Trump in the polls, DeSantis may yet prove a formidable contender with about $90 million left over from his previous reelection bid for governor, a supporting super PAC which expects to raise a $200 million budget, and an estimated field of 2,600 voter outreach workers.
DeSantis’ campaign spokesman Bryan Griffin stated on Twitter that despite technical glitches, enthusiasm for the announcement had "literally busted up the internet" and raised about $1 million during the hour.
Having said this, the Twitter announcement format proved an inauspicious choice for launching a formal late-date bid for the nation’s highest office.
Plagued with broadcast problems which delayed proceedings for about 15 minutes, the audio-only event which initially drew more than 600,000 listeners retained fewer than 300,000 by conclusion.
With a late start and Trump presently beating him by more than two-to-one in the polls, DeSantis will need to considerably step up his game before the first GOP nominating caucus occurs in Iowa early next year.
Nevertheless, Donald Trump and his political action committee have clearly recognized the DeSantis threat to a leading hold on his party’s primary bid, hammering the governor with millions of dollars of negative ads which can be expected to accelerate in number and hostility.
DeSantis will be wise to demonstrate great contrast and restraint to resist firing back with attacks that will alienate the Trump voting base he would ultimately need as a successful GOP primary pick and presidential contender.
If DeSantis is Trump’s greatest competitive threat, he’s potentially the left’s worst nightmare as well.
This applies most particularly for any White House aspirations of California Gov. Gavin Newson whose state leadership performance would face a starkly indefensible comparison on virtually every key voting front; economy, inflation, taxes, education, energy, and population exodus … to Florida.
Recent U.S. Census data shows that California lost nearly 350,000 residents in 2022; Florida added 444,484.
As a son of middleclass parents, Yale baseball captain, Harvard Law School grad, Navy Iraq veteran, three-term member of Congress, and twice-elected top executive of the nation’s most populous state, DeSantis has already accomplished much over his young 44-year-old life.
It’s especially worth noting here that DeSantis won re-election by 19 points with strong support from Hispanic counties and others that traditionally vote Democratic.
DeSantis’ legislative record as governor is remarkable, most particularly being among the first governors to end economy-killing COVID business shutdowns and to reopen schools in 2020 based upon trusting his state’s own health risk-benefit research above provably faulty advice of federal “experts” such as Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Breaking with federal medical establishment and powerful teachers’ union orthodoxies took inordinate determination and courage to overcome opposition lawsuits and disregard nonstop media malignment as an “angel of death.”
Other notable achievements include passing significant state tax cuts while simultaneously providing tort and insurance reform, paycheck protection for workers and public unions, a $3.3 billion Everglades restoration program, and challenging excessive economic and woke ideological dominion by the powerful Disney establishment and public-school child gender identity and systemic racism indoctrination lobbies.
DeSantis tweeted, along with a video, that he’s “running for president to lead our Great American Comeback."
He said: "Righting the ship requires restoring sanity to our society, normalcy to our communities, and integrity to our institutions. Truth must be our foundation — and common sense can no longer be an uncommon virtue. In Florida, we proved that it can be done."
The video added: "We chose facts over fear, education over indoctrination, law and order over rioting and disorder. We held the line when freedom hung in the balance."
Pundits are quick to point out that running an entire country will require far greater domestic and foreign policy knowledge and vision than presiding over state matters.
Whereas this is an entirely valid observation, DeSantis wouldn’t be the first governor to disprove any such limitation.
Think, for example, a very different sort of former California governor and president, Ronald Reagan, who incentivized the economy around pro-growth free market principles, rallied patriotic pride and national optimism, and did much to orchestrate the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Some will recall how his mainstream media detractors had uncharitably dismissed him as merely a Class B movie actor.
In any case, we can all expect that many unpredictable domestic and global developments will significantly alter the electoral landscape by election time.
As for me, whether those events ultimately favor a Trump or DeSantis presidency is of relatively small consequence so long as it combines their joint commitments that return sanity to our society, normalcy to our communities, and integrity to our institutions to make an America we love great again.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 12 books is "Architectures Beyond Boxes and Boundaries: My Life By Design" (2022). Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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