ANALYSIS – ‘Run, Ron, Run.’ – It’s about as official as it can get without a formal filing – Florida’s conservative Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, is running for the GOP nomination to be President of the United States.
And he is clearly not afraid of Donald Trump.
With the end of the Florida legislative session now over – after making an exception to allow Florida officeholders to run for President or Vice President without resigning their office – DeSantis seems to have unofficially launched his campaign.
He is expected to formally file within two weeks but is already making waves with his speeches and weekend stops in Iowa, shortly after Trump canceled his planned Iowa stop due to “bad weather.” And even the New York Times took note with a story titled: DeSantis Impresses in Iowa, Showing Up an Absent Trump.
While echoing some of the policies and positions of Trump, DeSantis took some veiled shots at the former president who is leading massively among GOP primary voters, blasting Republicans (aka: Trump) as having been losers.
And that seems to be his initial strategy. Attacking Trump without attacking him directly.
This despite Trump striving to make his own GOP nomination appear inevitable and having launched numerous broadsides directly at DeSantis who he sees as his biggest potential GOP rival.
Trump has called DeSantis disloyal and said that his political career would have been over had Trump not endorsed the governor’s ultimately successful 2018 campaign.
“He was dead as a dog; he was a dead politician. He would have been working perhaps for a law firm or maybe a Pizza Hut, I don’t know,” Trump told reporters aboard his plane enroute to Iowa back in March, reported Politico.
Asked if he regretted endorsing Ron DeSantis for governor in 2018, Trump responded this March: “Yeah maybe, this guy was dead. He was dead as a doornail.”
Whether that is true or not, DeSantis has gone on to be a highly popular and effective governor. He has also won over conservatives with his battles against wokeness and Disney. During his time as governor, Florida has also gone from being a battleground state to one that is solidly Republican.
As Newsmax reported: “We had a lot of those folks in places like Miami who had been Democrats and voted for Democrats and they came on our side – not only voting for me, but now they’re registering as Republicans,” DeSantis said. “So don’t buy this idea that we can’t expand our bases of support.
“Of course, you can do that, he added. “You can’t win big with just Republicans, and we proved that. But here’s the thing: We didn’t do it by trimming our sails. We didn’t comport ourselves to be anything that we’re not. We lead boldly. We lead conservatively, and we delivered results and people responded.”
Trump appears to be having trouble picking an insulting nickname for DeSantis, something that proved effective against previous rivals. He has called him ‘Ron DeSanctimonous,’ but that one doesn’t seem to be sticking.
The former president has also reportedly nixed calling him ‘Meatball Ron,’ as being too crude. Meanwhile, in Iowa, DeSantis continued to reference Trump without naming him. DeSantis told the small, but passionate, crowd:
If we make the 2024 election a referendum on Joe Biden and his failures, and if we provide a positive alternative for the future of this country, Republicans will win across the board. If we do not do that, if we get distracted, if we focus the election on the past or on other side issues, then I think the Democrats are going to beat us again, and I think it will be very difficult to recover from that defeat.
DeSantis added his warning about the current and future state of our nation under Democrat rule:
I think our country is floundering, in part because so many of our institutions have become unmoored from the truth: They’ve been lost in a sea of relativism. And this is important because we’re really at a crossroads as a country.
As bad as things are going right now, if things do not go well for us Republicans in 2024, it’s going to get a whole lot worse. The left in this country is really playing for keeps. They are more aggressive and more strident than at any time in my lifetime.
Amen to that.
Still, even after being found liable for sexual assault and defamation, Trump’s status as the GOP front-runner was amplified Wednesday night during a CNN’s town hall event.
The fireworks are just beginning.
Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Great America News Desk.