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Opinion |  Ron DeSantis is what the post-Trump GOP should look like

Florida turned to the hugely popular Publix chain because, as the Florida director of emergency management (a Democrat) explained, other pharmacies were not yet ready to begin distribution. The mayor of Palm Beach County, another Democrat, said the county specifically asked the state to expand its Publix partnership to Palm Beach. “60 Minutes” left that aside.

He also deceptively edited a response DeSantis gave to a question from a “60 Minutes” reporter about Publix at a press conference, suppressing his compelling and detailed explanation why the alleged scandal is a no. -history, but leaving in its angry denials.

The downside for DeSantis is that it has been smeared by the most iconic news magazine show on American television; The advantage is that this latest media attack quickly debunked contributes to its continued rise in the Republican political firmament.

It is far too early to know for sure what the post-Trump GOP will look like, or even whether there will be a truly post-Trump GOP for years to come. But if a post-Trump GOP looks like Ron DeSantis, who has a populist advantage and is combative with the press, but who is unmistakably serious about governance and succeeds in the country’s third most populous state, he will have landed in a favorable place.

DeSantis walked through the Trump years with a skilful political twist. He didn’t stumble in trying to tread a tightrope on Trump, the way Nikki Haley has, or constantly seemed to be trying too hard to please Trump voters, the way Senator Josh Hawley has, or told the Trump supporters pounding sand, the like Senator Ben Sasse did.

He obviously went out of his way to identify with Trump early in his gubernatorial run in 2018, but it wasn’t a Matt Gaetz-style play to gain cable TV notoriety and become a celebrity. of Trump’s world for his own good.

DeSantis took the boost he got from Trump’s backing, won a contested Republican primary, and then captured the Florida gubernatorial post with a clear idea of ​​what he wanted to do with it – in fact, around By the end of his first year, before the pandemic, he had a 72 percent approval rating.

The governor checks Trump’s key boxes. Trump supporters want someone who is a fighter, who gives as well as he gets with the media, and has the right enemies.

DeSantis had to go through media hostility from the start and experienced notable setbacks with antagonistic reporters ahead of the “60 Minutes” episode which took him to another level.

Since the start of the pandemic, the media has been determined to portray DeSantis as a villain flouting science to the detriment of his constituents. In fact, he had a thoughtful approach focused on protecting the most vulnerable in nursing homes and government restrictions in an attempt to weather the pandemic with minimal economic damage. Any fair reading of the evidence – Florida has a death rate close to the national average, while its economy is in much better shape than New York and California’s – must admit that it was at the very least a strategy. quite reasonable.

DeSantis has rightly been fierce in defending his record, but never gives the feeling, as Trump has often done, that fighting the media is a good thing in and of itself, beyond all consideration. background.

While DeSantis’ rise to power is a Trump-era phenomenon, its track record is rooted in traditional Conservative priorities – textualist judges, school choice, tax cuts, spending restraint, and policing. He also has a more pragmatic side, increasing teacher pay even as he has pushed for education reforms and pursues a strong environmental agenda.

It’s always a fool’s race to plan a presidential race three years before it starts in earnest. Trump could decide to run again in 2024 and erase the sun, and DeSantis is set to win re-election in 2022.

On paper, however, he has obvious strength as a potential national candidate. It comes from an extremely important swing state. He’s been battle tested – he won a racing brawl in 2018, lagging behind in the polls throughout. He might be the only major candidate in 2024 to hold an executive post, as his record in power would, in theory, allow him to appeal not only to hardcore but also to the key category of “somewhat conservative” voters. in the GOP primaries.

Certainly, “60 Minutes” has done its part.

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