Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is widely speculated to have White House aspirations — and this could be a very welcome development for conservatives wondering who will be carrying the torch left by former President Donald Trump.
Over the weekend, the Sunshine State governor welcomed conservatives to America’s “oasis of freedom” at C-PAC 2021. His speech was brief, but it hit all the checkpoints most conservatives are looking for these days. Most notably, DeSantis stood by his decision to keep his state open in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic even as he was pressured to do the opposite.
“We are an oasis of freedom in a nation that’s suffering — in many parts of the country — under the yoke of oppressive lockdowns,” he said. “We look around in other parts of our country, and in far too many places we see schools closed, businesses shuttered, and lives destroyed. And while so many governors over the last year had kept locking people down, Florida lifted people up.”
Indeed, DeSantis did resist the tempting calls from Florida Democrats and establishment Republicans to follow the examples of other states and issue authoritarian mandates to “stop the spread.” As Florida residents will recall, Florida did implement some mitigating measures at first. Restaurants, night clubs, gyms, and other “non-essential” businesses did close for a while — until DeSantis decided that enough was enough.
Now, as lockdown-obsessed states like New York and California struggle to get their COVID numbers under control, Florida continues to post case numbers below the national average. Under DeSantis’ leadership, Florida proved that the intense lockdown measures promoted by the Democratic Party simply don’t work. Of course, this makes DeSantis a target for leftists in the media. But while they try to dig up dirt on the Florida governor, their own messianic figures like California Governor Gavin Newsom and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are watching their own careers die in real time.
In many ways, DeSantis really is the perfect foil to these aforementioned figures. During the earlier phases of the pandemic, the Florida governor was held up as at the worst in the nation, while Cuomo and Newsom were presented as the best. Cuomo, we were told by the likes of CNN, was “presidential.”
As it turns out, only one of these men didn’t shove vulnerable patients into nursing homes as COVID numbers spiked — and then lied about it to the feds. Even the New York Times is having a hard time defending their usual suspects on this one.
So, how would a DeSantis campaign go? He enjoys support from the coalition built by former President Trump — the largest and most vocal part of the GOP’s voting base. Obviously, this would make him Public Enemy #1 in the eyes of the media — but this is treatment DeSantis already receives in his own state. To his credit, he has been able to take hits and punch back just as well as anyone else has.
It’s still very early before we can make accurate predictions about election season 2024, but as of now we can only identify two things that work against DeSantis in a GOP primary. First and foremost, if Trump does indeed run again, he will keep the base that he built. Second, thankful Floridians may end up wanting to him for themselves for a second gubernatorial term.