Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is flying high these days. He’s fresh off a breathtakingly lopsided victory in his state, the likes of which has literally never been seen before. He led Sunshine State Republicans to wins up and down the ballot, decimating the Democrats, and repudiating the news media. For the first time since 1873, Democrats will be shut out from statewide office in Florida. The Left and the press launched an endless stream of attacks on DeSantis throughout his first term, and he fought back aggressively. In doing so, he’s achieved governing results so positive that Florida voters saw fit to endorse his continued leadership by nearly 20 points last week. A dramatic vindication. DeSantis improved upon his 2018 victory margin by almost exactly 19 percentage points. That would constitute a blowout virtually anywhere, but in Florida, it’s an unthinkable tsunami. The governor seems to be relishing his moment, stepping up his role as a leader within a national GOP still reeling a bit from a surprisingly underwhelming overall midterm cycle. Many Republicans are looking for good advice on electoral success, and DeSantis is uniquely positioned to offer it right now: While former President Donald Trump was announcing his 2024 comeback campaign Tuesday night, his chief potential Republican primary rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, was 168 miles to the north, outlining a different electoral path forward for the party. During a closed-door appearance before the Republican Governors Association meeting at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Orlando, the governor gave a detailed explanation on how he scored a lopsided reelection last Tuesday — including examples laden with implicit contrasts to the former president, who went unmentioned...DeSantis argued forcefully against the widely shared Trump-era conventional wisdom that the party couldn’t appeal simultaneously to suburban and rural voters, saying that he “won overwhelmingly” with suburbanites while also racking up massive “Saddam Hussein margins” in the state’s rural areas, according to a recording of the one-hour appearance... The appearance came during a two-day conference where governors, donors, and senior party officials grappled with last week’s disappointing midterm election and conveyed the desire for a new blueprint for the party. With the Florida governor and other prospective candidates waiting in the wings, many of the attendees said it was time for Republicans to move forward, blaming Trump for their failure.
December 20, 2022
The coming DeSantis balancing act