May 25, 2023

Ron DeSantis Makes It Official

Florida’s governor, Trump’s most significant competitor, is on his way.

There’s an old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and Governor Ron DeSantis is now putting that proposition to the test. The hugely popular Florida governor joined Elon Musk to officially announce his entry into the 2024 Republican presidential race, but not before experiencing some technical difficulties on the Twitter Spaces platform.

But the good news is, the difficulties were due to high public interest in the announcement — the Twitter servers could not handle the traffic.

The event moderator, noted Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Sacks, explained the snafu to Fox News’s Laura Ingraham last night: “We had a million people simultaneously trying to get into a Twitter Spaces, which is an online room. And, I mean, DeSantis just melted the servers. We had so much interest. I’ve got to hand it to him, normally it takes a Kardashian to do that. … We’ve never had that much scale before on Twitter. I think the biggest room has been about 100,000. And so, after about 15 minutes, we just moved the room to my account from Elon’s account, and then it really worked perfectly.”

Predictably, DeSantis’s critics were quick to pounce on his entry to the race. Among them were, first and foremost, Failed President Joe Biden and Failed Governor Gavin Newsom, both of whom have now-abysmal records in their respective Demo fiefdoms, unlike DeSantis, whose record is outstanding. (Newsom is one of two candidates Mark Alexander predicted last year will replace Biden.)

DeSantis’s discussion with Musk and Sacks covered plenty of good territory. It can be found here.

Mark Alexander notes, “Among other things, DeSantis responded to the bogus race-bait Florida ‘travel advisory’ issued by the NAACP — which could have been scripted by its socialist Democrat Party puppeteers.” Responding to that charade, DeSantis said: “Claiming that Florida is unsafe is a total farce. I mean, are you kidding me? You look at cities around this country, they are awash in crime. In Florida, our crime rate is at a 50-year low. You look at the top 25 cities for crime in America, Florida does not have a single one amongst the top 25. … This is a political stunt. These left-wing groups have been doing it for many, many years. And they are colluding with legacy media to try to manufacture a narrative.”

In conjunction with his Twitter event, DeSantis also posted a one-minute campaign launch video, which he also trusted to Twitter. That task went much more smoothly.

“Our border is a disaster,” he began. “Crime infests our cities. The federal government makes it harder for families to make ends meet. And the president flounders. But decline is a choice. Success is attainable. And freedom is worth fighting for. Righting the ship requires restoring sanity to our society, normalcy to our communities, and integrity to our institutions.”

He continued: “Truth must be our foundation, and common sense can no longer be an uncommon virtue. In Florida, we proved that it can be done. We chose facts over fear, education over indoctrination, law and order over rioting and disorder. … We need the courage to lead, and the strength to win. I’m Ron DeSantis, and I’m running for president to lead our great American comeback.”

After his original announcement, DeSantis appeared for primetime interviews with Mark Levin and then his former congressional colleague, Trey Gowdy. No glitches there!

He has his work cut out for him. Of course, Donald Trump is currently dominating the Republican field — as one would expect for a high-profile former president. As Fox News reports, “Three new national surveys released Wednesday by Fox News, CNN, and Quinnipiac University continued to indicate Trump holding a large double-digit lead over DeSantis, with the rest of the contenders far behind in single digits.”

But the race is early — way, way early — and DeSantis already has not only a huge $110 million war chest but a record of outstanding conservative accomplishments in the Free State of Florida. Now that he is officially in, we will undoubtedly see shifting polls in the coming months.

Political analyst Newt Gingrich noted the number of Republican contenders in the race, and he suggested that they’re in it because DeSantis couldn’t keep them out. Of course, the current primary field is actually small, especially considering that there were 17 major candidates in the 2016 Republican primary.

Trump’s supporters are fiercely loyal, and the governor will have to gird himself for a bruising battle with Trump. As Alexander has written, “Demos are counting on the fratricidal damage Trump will do in the primary to ensure their own victory in the general election.”

Notably, a post from Trump after the DeSantis announcement did not help his own campaign. On his social media platform, Trump wrote: “'Rob,’ My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and is working (TRUTH!), yours does not! (per my conversation with Kim Jung Un, of North Korea, soon to become my friend!),” creating a fair amount of confusion. Predictably Trump followed that with a series of screeds against DeSantis and more paid ads, raising objections from Republican strategists that Trump’s campaign PAC has already spent more tearing DeSantis down than they spent building up his entire 2022 slate of candidates in the abysmal Republican midterm election.

The comment prompted distinguished political analyst David Reaboi, a Claremont Institute fellow, to declare, “Nobody thinks this is sane; they’re just afraid to admit it.” Analyst A.G. Hamilton did not hold back: “DeSantis has been talking about detailed and substantive policy issues for the last hour. This is what you get from Trump. If people want idiocracy and entertainment, Trump might be the better option. If you want substance on the right, DeSantis is it.”

Beyond the snipes, according to the Wall Street Journal editorial board: “Republicans are at least getting a better choice as a variety of candidates enter the presidential race. … Judging by the [DeSantis] polls and his financial backing to date, he is the biggest threat to Mr. Trump.”

DeSantis, who hails from a middle class family, has a proven governing record, both as a three-term member of Congress and as governor, which resulted in his massive 2022 reelection victory by 20 points in this key state — proving he can draw support from a broad voter demographic.

And he is a pretty smart guy — a magna cum laude graduate from Yale (‘01) and cum laude graduate from Harvard Law School ('05). He is also a respected veteran, having served as a Naval officer. In 2007 he deployed to Iraq as a JAG advisor to the SEAL Team 1 Commander. He separated from active duty with the rank of Lieutenant Commander prior to his 2019 campaign for governor. If DeSantis is elected, he would be the first president since to have served in a combat zone since GHW Bush.

Further, at 44-years old, he is a much younger competitor, whereas, Trump, if elected, would be older than Ronald Reagan when he left office.

Finally, Mark Alexander reminds us, “Some in the political chattering class claim Ron DeSantis’ ‘Great American Comeback’ slogan is ‘borrowed’ from Trump’s MAGA slogan. In fact, if you recall, Trump ‘borrowed’ ‘Make America Great Again,’ verbatim, from President Ronald’s campaign.”

Update: DeSantis may have had a slow launch, but there was nothing slow about support rolling in for his campaign. He raised $8.2 million in his first 24 hours as a presidential candidate, besting the previous record of $6.3 million raised by Biden after his 2019 announcement.

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