Everyone and his conservative mother-in-law are presently jousting to promote their favorite electoral prospect in the Ron DeSantis/Donald Trump apparent skirmish for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination. Arguments fly on both sides of the divide.
The Ron is young, successful, formidable, and much admired for his courage and practical intelligence. He would make a great president. The Don is aggressive in his demeanor, tends to polarize people, and would rouse opposition to his candidacy, especially from the Fourth and Fifth Estates. All this is true, though few seem to realize that the Ron, should he receive the Republican nomination, would face a media barrage of hostility and disinformation no less virulent. The fact is, I believe, that the debate between the relative merits and strengths of the Ron and the Don is utterly irrelevant and nothing short of a logomachic distraction.
As I argued in an earlier article, the Ron is needed in Florida to consolidate the state as a Republican bastion. The governorship must be his top priority, and he is young enough to await his turn for the 2028 presidential contest, when he will be only 49. Florida, as I wrote, provides a beacon of hope and security for those fleeing broken and dysfunctional states under Democrat rule and provides a vision of the potential America of the future. It cannot be left to electoral vagaries.
The issue for the Don is critical. When he arrived in the Oval Office in 2016, he was a political virgin, with no applied experience to draw on and no first-hand knowledge of the seething cauldron of trade-offs, sweetheart deals, career machinations, power moves, and financial corruption that was, and is, Washington D.C. His neophyte status was obviously a strategic weakness, but it was also his greatest strength. He was beholden to no one, had no political baggage, and was poised to proceed—notwithstanding the volleys of persecution he confronted from an army of vilifiers and saboteurs—according to his own lights. His instinct was the right one, to act for the well-being of the nation and not in the interests of the crony cabal among the governing, bureaucratic, and financial elites, and clearly not for his own benefit. He was a president who did not accept a salary and who sacrificed his own economic advantages in the private realm to perform his duties honorably.
Despite flaws of character and rhetoric—we know that people delight in dwelling on them—and given the political vendetta waged against him by the venal denizens of the swamp, as well as the betrayals he suffered from presumed allies—McConnell, Sessions, Pence, Mattis, Fauci, Barr, etc.—the list of his accomplishments against all the odds is a long and extraordinary one. The nation thrived under his leadership, employment soared, red tape diminished, the energy sector prospered, and American power and international standing were once again pre-eminent. This is not to suggest that he was free of error, but he was still an exemplary president.
Trump was allegedly—we must say “allegedly”—cheated out of electoral victory in 2020. As Michael Walsh writes in The Pipeline, this was “the hinkiest election is modern American history thanks to the illegal changes in balloting.” The infamous Time article defending the need to “fortify” the election and Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary 2000 Mules present compelling evidence of massive fraud—the Texas GOP has just passed a resolution, responsibly in my opinion, declaring Biden “not legitimately elected.” Trump clearly deserves a second term to complete the restorative project on which he embarked. He remains popular, as his enormous rallies attest, and has remade the Party in his patriot image. He has been tried in the fire, learned the extent of the nefarious campaign unceasingly launched against him, and, unlike Biden with whom he shares the calendar, is hale and vigorous. The task of Making America Great Again is his to complete.
The Ron will get his turn but in the meanwhile has much gubernatorial work to do. He cannot be spared from the Tallahassee office, not for some years to come. This should be obvious. For his part, the Don is armed for the fight, knows who his enemies are, has four years of militant experience to rely upon, may well have the House and the Senate at his back, and bears a noble agenda to bring to fruition, a mission of which he has proven himself capable. That he managed to achieve what he did despite the political cannonade under which he labored and the nest of hobo spiders crawling over his own political roof should put our doubts to rest.
Journalists, commentators, pundits, and “experts” are engaged in fostering a lusus naturae, a freak of the political circus. It is an irrelevant debate between the two main contenders for the laurels, a controversy whose only significance is that it makes for good copy. It’s time to get serious. The Ron is Florida, the Don is Washington, and a job remains to be done.