In Brief: DeSantis 2024?
“Can he show that the people he loses by not being Trump are going to be outnumbered by the people he gains by not being Trump?”
Everyone knows Donald Trump is running for president in 2024. The question is what the rest of the field will look like. In one of a series of similar columns, political analyst Kurt Schlichter writes about some of the arguments against Ron DeSantis being a candidate.
So, I told someone hardcore that I would be writing a column called “The Case Against Ron DeSantis 2024,” and he asked “Oh, will it be blank?” Amusing, and not unexpected because we are still at the DeSantis infatuation stage. As I wrote in my previous column, “The Case For Ron DeSantis 2024,” there is a lot to like about the Florida governor. But this is not time to go moon-eyed over The New Shiny Thing. We need to be ruthless in our vetting of the candidates. I was when I wrote “The Case Against Donald Trump 2024” (he sent me a nice note about it, BTW), and I will do the same for Ron DeSantis here.
Understand that the case against Ron DeSantis is not a case against Ron DeSantis personally any more than it would be against Donald Trump as a person. For our purposes, his objective goodness is irrelevant. We are not going to be asked to elect him buddy or nice guy or whatever. His one job would be to win the presidency. It’s pretty clear he meets the basic qualifications to be president, which used to be that he won’t bankrupt us or get us nuked, and since those two things are apparently not qualifications anymore, DeSantis is certainly good to go. This is really about electability, whether or not he can get the voters to put an X by his name in numbers greater than those for Grandpa Badfinger or whatever other pinko nimrod the Dems put up in 2024. The case against DeSantis is really the case against him winning the general election. And there is a case to be made for that.
Schlichter notes that DeSantis has a lot of credentials, from military to education, but argues that he isn’t really that well known yet outside Florida or Twitter. He also argues, “His lane is competent and conservative,” but that’s true of a number of other potential candidates. Plus, that’s not what won in 2016 and nearly won in 2020.
DeSantis will have to show some fire, and he does overlap into the based and belligerent lane. He fights, and he wins. Further, his fighting is disciplined and targeted. Trump took on the media — yah! But he also took on Rosie O'Donnell — ugh. DeSantis does not get into personal beefs. His tweets are not mean, and while a lot of us dearly love the mean tweets, a lot of voters are exhausted by mean tweets. And remember, the goal is to own the libs by winning power, not just by mocking their pinko behinds on the tweet machine (Trump being allowed back on Twitter might be a mixed blessing).
But can Heavy D win over the people who used to vote Republican then stopped because they were too sissy to deal with Trump’s in-your-face vibe? Look, these kind of soft, mostly suburban moderate people are tiresome, and the men are impotent figuratively and probably literally while their wives are awash in Chardonnay and SSRIs, but we need their votes. Can DeSantis get them to vote for him, or will his toughness make the wine women squeal and the wine males ashamed? The evidence is that in Florida they came around, but that’s one state. How does he play elsewhere?
Here’s the question DeSantis needs to answer: “How do you win in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin?” Those are the real battleground states, and if he wants in the game, we need to know the plan to win these electoral votes away from the Democrats.
The final trick for DeSantis is beating Trump without alienating the people Schlichter amusingly labels the “Trumpanauts.” Given the divide among Republicans, winning by uniting would, of course, be a trick for any Republican, including Trump. “Can he show that the people he loses by not being Trump are going to be outnumbered by the people he gains by not being Trump?” Schlichter concludes:
DeSantis is an unknown quantity nationally. But most candidates are their first time, and lots of them win. The way for DeSantis to refute the case against him is to show exactly how he intends to do so in 2024.
But Trump won’t be a pushover. If DeSantis wants the nomination, he’ll have to take it.
- Kurt Schlichter
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