Uncategorized

The DeSantis campaign was doomed from the start


It’s said that discretion is the better part of valor. Ron DeSantis’s endorsement of Donald Trump as he withdrew from the Republican presidential race Sunday is an excellent example of that. Thanks to that move, he has a political future, either a Trump Administration or in 2028.

DeSantis was once viewed as the MAGA movement’s future. Young and coming off a massive re-election win in hitherto marginal Florida, he looked to some like Trumps’ natural successor. He sounded MAGA-friendly themes on foreign policy when he questioned open-ended military aid to Ukraine and won culture warriors over with his battles to remove wokeness from Florida schools. Surely, many reasoned, conservatives would move on from the Trump era when they could get all the goodies with less drama.

That didn’t happen for a host of reasons. Trump pummeled DeSantis from before the governor entered the race. The man whose motto was “never back down” backed down from responding in kind. Once he was in the race, he failed to provide a clear vision for America other than to say it would look a lot like his Florida. That combination – weak positive vision and no effective contrast with the frontrunner who shared many of DeSantis’s views – meant the campaign stalled and then died.

DeSantis could have chosen to go on futilely. Many candidates do stay in a race for too long, damaging their future viability as they rack up loss after loss. Finishing second in Iowa, where he had spent almost all of his time and money, wasn’t good enough when polls showed him running a poor third in the next primary states. Getting out now was smart.

Smarter was the way he did it. The video in which he announced his decision struck positive, MAGA-friendly themes. DeSantis, who can sometimes look goofy on camera, looked friendly and warm, someone who you might want to have a beer with. Praising his young children and his more charismatic wife, Casey, helped to leave a lasting image of a decent conservative family man.

The kicker, though, was his decision to back Trump while swiping at Nikki Haley. Saying she represented “a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism” that “kowtow[s] to large corporations” and “cave[s] to woke ideology” clearly was meant to freeze her out of the MAGA supermajority that dominated today’s Republican Party.

That can only have been meant to damage the woman who outlasted him as he looked forward to the future. He is only 45 years old. Had he become president, he would have been the second youngest person ever to be elected. He’s got time to lick his wounds, figure out what went wrong, and come back.

Ending his race on Sunday afternoon ensured that his Trump endorsement would be big news right as New Hampshire residents decide who to support on Tuesday. It deprived Haley of free air time on local and national news, and added to the growing sense that Trump’s nomination is inevitable. Trump is not known for his gratitude, but he surely knows DeSantis gave him a huge gift.

DeSantis can’t run again for governor in 2026, so he has to decide where to go from here. The outcome this November will clearly play a significant role in his decision. If Trump loses, he likely starts as the presumptive front runner for 2028. If Trump wins, that position may go to Trump’s vice president but may not. Kamala Harris and Dan Quayle are proof that someone may not be up to the job just because they’ve got it.

An important position in Trump’s Cabinet could be an interesting way to stay relevant and boost DeSantis’ profile. Assuming he can get along with longtime Trump aide Stephen Miller, DeSantis could benefit from being the Secretary of Homeland Security. That position is in charge of border control, and Trump may like having someone who is politically and administratively competent in the top job. DeSantis would likely relish the idea of being known as the man who either stopped illegal migration or battled Democrats daily as they tried to stop him.

Becoming Defense Secretary might also be appealing. It’s not the governor of Florida, but this role would boost DeSantis’s foreign policy chops while putting him in the popular position of backing America’s military. He could also be the conservative hero who ended “woke” practices in the military, an increasingly important staple in conservative policy circles.

DeSantis could also choose to follow Ronald Reagan’s footsteps and simply stay put. Reagan chose to do that after his failed run at the 1968 GOP nomination, and that set him up for his future national campaigns. DeSantis could even run for a Senate seat in 2028 if incumbent Marco Rubio decides not to seek a fourth term. 

The decision to drop out now must have been painful, but it was the right one. DeSantis lives to fight another day, and sometimes that’s all one can ask for. 



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button