Thinking Citizen Blog — Who is Ron DeSantis? And Why Is He the Republican 2024 Frontrunner?

Thinking Citizen Blog — Sunday is Political Process, Campaign Strategy, and Candidate Selection Day

Today’s Topic: Who is Ron DeSantis? And Why Is He the Republican 2024 Frontrunner?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, 42, is the youngest governor in the United States. He was elected by a margin of only 34,000 votes in 2018. He had previously served as a US Congressman, representing Florida’s 6th district from 2013 to 2018. A conservative, he was a founding member of the “Freedom Caucus.” Prior to his election to the House he served in the US Navy in the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) from 2004 to 2010. He holds degrees from Yale (BA, 2001), and Harvard Law (JD, 2005). The latest poll shows DeSantis to be the Republican 2024 frontrunner — at 22% versus Ted Cruz at 18% and Nikki Haley at 10%.Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: FROM JOKE TO FRONTRUNNER

1. “Last year DeSantis was supposed to be the governor who was doing everything wrong on Covid-19, like refusing to impose a mask mandate, while Andrew Cuomo was the governor supposedly doing everything right. “Florida Man Leads His State to the Morgue” was the title of one especially sneering piece in the New Republic.” (Brett Stephens, NYT).

2. “Except that Florida, the state with the second-highest percentage of elderly people (20.5%) has a fatality rate of 158 for every 100,000 residents as against New York’s 260, with DeSantis focusing on protecting nursing homes while Cuomo did the opposite.” (Ditto)

3. “Florida also got school openings right, despite the New Republic having likened his approach to the pandemic to a “death march.” (Ditto)

THE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF THE COVID-19 POLICY DIFFERENTIAL

1. “Employment declined by 4.6% in Florida in 2020, compared with 8% in California and 10.4% in New York.” (Wall Street Journal, third link)

2. “Leisure and hospitality jobs fell 15% in Florida versus 30% in California and 39% in New York.” (ditto)

3. “Florida’s freedom has drawn people and economic activity to the state. It ranked third among “U-Haul Migration Growth States” for one-way rentals.” (ditto)

NB: “According to Census Bureau data, Florida’s per capita business formation between April 2020 and January 2021 was twice has high as California’s and 75% higher than New York’s.” (ditto)

ABORTION, GUN CONTROL, EDUCATION, FOREIGN POLICY

1. A Roman Catholic, DeSantis opposes abortion and gets a “0” rating from the Human Rights Campaign (the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in the US).

2. Strongly against gun control, he gets an A+ rating from the NRA.

3. He is for local control of education and has opposed federal initiatives such as the No Child Left Behind Act.

NB: Staunchly pro-Israel, he was opposed to the Iran Deal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/12/opinion/ron-desantis-2024.html

Ron DeSantis, Ted Cruz lead 2024 Republican polling if Donald Trump doesn’t run

https://www.wsj.com/articles/vindication-for-ron-desantis-11614986751

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_DeSantis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Florida_gubernatorial_election

Here is a link to the last three years of posts organized by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to political process or campaign strategy or 2020 candidate selection or anything else for that matter.

This is your chance to make some one else’s day or change their thinking. Or to consolidate in your own memory something worth remembering that might otherwise be lost. Or to clarify or deepen your own understanding of something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.