What Ron DeSantis’ runaway success means for conservatives

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis essentially kicked off his 2024 presidential campaign on Tuesday night. Simply put, now is his time.

In 2018, DeSantis barely beat Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum – a man later found in a Miami Beach hotel room with a male escort suffering from a drug overdose. DeSantis beat Gillum by just 0.4%, or just over 32,000 votes.


DeSantis did so by losing Miami-Dade County (home to the City of Miami and Gillum’s 2020 hotel room of choice) by 20 points, Hillsborough County (home of Tampa) by 9 points and Duval County (home of Jacksonville) plus 4 points.

But on the evening of Nov. 8, 2022, the Governor of Florida wiped out Democratic Party challenger Charlie Crist. With more than 95% of the votes counted, DeSantis leads Crist by more than 1.5 million votes, or nearly 20 points. Notably, Miami-Dade, Hillsborough and Duval all went red by wide margins.

And as DeSantis took to the stage to celebrate his election victory, not only was this momentous victory the culmination of an otherwise disappointing evening for the Republican Party, but it should also mark the start of a new era for conservatism. American.

Make no mistake: the days of former President Donald Trump are over.

“We made promises to the people of Florida, and we delivered on those promises,” DeSantis told supporters. “Today, after four years, the people have delivered their verdict. Freedom is here to stay.

DeSantis also touted Florida as “a mental health haven when the world has gone mad” and “where revival will die.”

Not only is DeSantis telling the truth – much to the chagrin of the Democratic Party, his capable leadership has been a critical factor in Florida’s success against all odds in recent years – but he achieved his success without kissing the ring of his obvious political adversary, Trump.

Conversely, Trump had another dismal election night as his hand-picked candidates (many of whom wholeheartedly swallowed the so-called “MAGA” agenda in order to receive his endorsement) failed.

Mehmet Oz seems to have lost out to John Fetterman, a man who can no longer speak or understand the English language. In Michigan, Tudor Dixon lost to Gretchen Whitmer – the governor whose COVID-19 policies resulted in thousands of preventable deaths in nursing homes. And in Arizona, Blake Masters (yet another Trump pick) trails his Democratic rival as the votes continue to be counted.

Even JD Vance, who emerged victorious in Ohio, could argue he did so despite Trump publicly undermining Vance’s position while failing to provide funds for his chosen candidate, the Leadership Fund. Senate rushing to fill growing monetary vacuum.

Much of this is because Trump (on a personal level) doesn’t particularly care about the conservative movement as much as he cares about himself. Frankly, he’s not a team player, even though he tries to play a team sport.

While DeSantis shifted campaign funds to support other Republican candidates across the country, Trump was spending much of his war chest not on the candidates he had promoted, but on his own petty legal battles.

Not only did DeSantis emerge from the smoke of battle as the obvious leader of the next generation of conservatism, but he proved something crucial: the GOP can win. without Asset.


Indeed, the strategic foundation was laid last year by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, who successfully demonstrated that the Republican Party can survive in a post-Trump world (or at most, a Trump-adjacent world). ), operating on problems rather than Trump. worship alone.

Yes, the 2022 election was disappointing for Republicans. But while the “red wave” we were promised never materialized, all we need to create a momentous victory in 2024 is brewing in Florida. Not at Mar-A-Lago, but at the Governor’s Mansion.

Ian Haworth (
) is the host of

Off Limits with Ian Haworth

Comments are closed.