I am no fan of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. His use of the word “woke” is nothing more than a racist dog whistle, the 2024 equivalent of the N-word. He is a terrifying threat to academic freedom and racial and gender preference tolerance.
He is also dangerous, because contrary to the belief prevailing in the liberal media, he is highly intelligent and politically shrewd. DeSantis is an alumnus of Yale and Harvard Law School, and neither of these two revered academic institutions are notorious for admitting dolts.
He announced his presidential candidacy this past week, and his candidacy is supported by the SuperPac, Never Back Down, which has already raised over $30 million and hired as its consultant Jeff Roe, the most effective GOP campaign strategist in America. Within 24 hours after announcing his candidacy last week, the DeSantis campaign itself proclaimed a record fundraising total of $8.2 million.
The main media focus on DeSantis has been his ongoing conflict with Disney World regarding his efforts to limit their autonomy. The political punditry, by and large, have described this as a major political and policy DeSantis debacle.
Those predicting DeSantis gloom and doom claim that his effort is a retaliation for Disney’s opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation that he signed last year. Specifically, this new act prohibits classroom instruction and discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in some elementary school grades.
The conventional wisdom among these largely self- anointed political gurus is that the legislation is a presidential general election disaster for DeSantis. While that may be true, the evidence thus far also indicates that the legislation may prove to be a presidential primary election DeSantis political masterstroke.
DeSantis must win the January, 2024 Iowa caucuses and the March, 2024 Florida primary in order to capture the GOP presidential nomination. There is compelling evidence that the Don’t Say Gay bill is enhancing the DeSantis campaign chances of victory in both states.
In Florida, three reputable polls have revealed that Republicans overwhelmingly support the DeSantis Disney position. These polls refute dramatically the conventional wisdom that the Disney World controversy is hindering the DeSantis presidential campaign in his home state.
Yet the DeSantis advocacy of the Don’t Say Gay law and the ensuing Disney World controversy may have an even more salutary impact on his outlook in Iowa. In Republican primaries in the Hawkeye State, the cultural warrior is king. And the Disney controversy is giving DeSantis in Iowa the reputation of being the foremost cultural warrior in the 2024 Republican presidential sweepstakes. This has resulted in 37 Iowa state legislative endorsements for DeSantis.
If DeSantis prevails in Iowa and Florida, he will be the frontrunner in the 2024 GOP presidential nomination contest. And the entry of Chris Christie into the race, which he will announce next week, may have the impact of ensuring a DeSantis nomination.
The key month in this regard will be August, 2023. It is in that month that the indictment of Donald Trump in Georgia on attempted election stealing charges is anticipated. In that same month, the first GOP presidential debate is scheduled for Milwaukee, to be nationally televised by Fox.
Whether or not Trump shows up for the debate, it will be a decisive event where Christie will make a compelling case for the unelectability of Trump. The Monmouth Poll published yesterday makes it abundantly clear that among GOP voters, Trump is loved while Christie is loathed. Yet even MAGA voters will no longer be able to deny the Christie claim of the inevitability of Trump’s catastrophic defeat. They do not want to see a loss of such magnitude where even MAGA office holders and party officials are swept away in the landslide tide. They will look for a cultural warrior alternative to Trump, and while Christie is thoroughly unacceptable in that regard, DeSantis is not.
So DeSantis will emerge as the GOP nominee, and Christie’s presidential dreams will be over. Well, almost. Christie may well emerge as the DeSantis Attorney General, as I wrote in March. His presidential dream stays alive. Stay tuned.
Alan J. Steinberg served as regional administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.
(Visited 141 times, 141 visits today)