Ron DeSantis Is Donald Trump Without the Baggage

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Ron DeSantis Proves His Anti-Corporatist Chops In His War on Disney – Former President Donald J. Trump is in the fight for his political life.

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Beset with seemingly endless legal woes and a new poll that indicates he would get crushed by President Joe Biden in the General Election.

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But Trump has a new threat to contend with: the rising Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. 


Here Comes Ron DeSantis

While the governor has not yet officially announced his campaign for president, it is widely believed he will do so early next week. 

Even without making his announcement, though, DeSantis has been the only serious challenger to Donald Trump for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. 

Although most polls show DeSantis about 36 points behind Trump, the Florida governor’s numbers are still in the double-digits—farther ahead of any of the other Republicans who’ve announced—and DeSantis is only getting started. 

With a massive campaign war chest, a national profile, popularity among conservatives and the Republican donors, DeSantis is Donald Trump without the baggage. 

Trump is clearly concerned about DeSantis, given the amount of attention he’s given to the governor—including a really weak nickname (“Ron DeSanctimonious”). Judging from the bad nickname, Trump is clearly losing his touch going into 2024. 

Should DeSantis officially enter the race, with his level or support and funding, he will be a serious threat to Trump’s election chances. 

Trump Runs to the Left of DeSantis

The former president is so worried about DeSantis that he is even running to the Left of DeSantis on several key issues.

After having successfully elevating three Pro-Life justices to the Supreme Court of the United States, when he was president, Trump has basically distanced himself from the Pro-Life movement. 

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, kicking abortion rights to the state governments rather than the federal government, DeSantis waded into the debate by imposing a 15-week abortion ban in Florida. 

Trump immediately responded by insinuating that the ban was too harsh. Politically, it makes sense why any politician would be reticent to get behind a ban like that. 

After all, the overturning of Roe v. Wade galvanized women and independent voters into voting against the Republican Party in early voting for the 2022 Midterm Election. Because of that, the Republicans got trounced in an election where they were slated to win.

Yet, one of the few lasting successes of the Trump Administration was the forty-fifth president’s Pro-Life policies. Everyone associates those programs with Trump. It’s silly for him to try to walk away from them. Especially because he’s doing so for the pettiest of reasons: to score cheap political points on DeSantis. 

The ridiculous pattern continues, too. 

Trump further moved to the Left on social issues by challenging calls from the Right—notably Ron DeSantis—to stop the spread of transgender ideology into Florida. While Trump was always friendlier to the LGBTQI+ community than most Republicans traditionally have been, his defense of an ideology that he has spent years railing against (at least as it related to teaching children about this ideology in state-funded schools) is suspicious. 

This cultural issue belongs to DeSantis. Trump is only coming out against limiting transgenderism ideology in public spaces out of spite for DeSantis rather than fealty to a purportedly threatened community. 

Now, the former president is lashing out at DeSantis for the ongoing conflict with the Walt Disney Corporation. Trump thinks DeSantis should drop the matter as it is harming Florida’s economy. 

But DeSantis has already stated he’ll not back down in the face of obvious threats from Disney’s leadership. In fact, the legal case the two parties are locked into is intensifying. Beyond that, Disney pulled out of a billion-dollar development that would have seen 2,000 Californian employees moving permanently to Florida.

Trump believes this will cost Florida millions of dollars and harm the jobs market. Perhaps. But DeSantis is not a corporatist while Trump clearly is. DeSantis has made clear that he will not brook a multinational corporation, like Disney, being given special treatment by Florida’s government only to have that corporation use its immense resources and influence to undermine the popular will of Florida voters. 

Trump is All Talk

There are many on the Right—notably Trump—who love to talk big about protecting the rights of ordinary people to preserve our threatened republic.

Yet, there’s no greater threat to republican self-government than an unelected multinational corporation using its power and wealth to try to force changes to state law that run counter to the social preferences of most voters in that state. 

That so many of those Republicans who love to hem-and-haw about Big Corporations but then would kowtowto them when those corporations got testy with them speaks volumes to the kind of weak leaders that people like Trump really are on some important issues.  

Meanwhile, the Disney-initiated lawsuit with DeSantis grounds on. DeSantis has counterattacked by demanding the presiding judge of the case recuse himself, since that judge had previously expressed negative sentiments about DeSantis’ “anti-Woke” agenda in Florida. 

Again, Trump wants DeSantis to abandon his fight with Disney in order to protect Florida’s government and economy from the inevitable fallout of this fight.

Of course, it’s wild to see Trump talking like that. After all, as was noted previously, Trump is being smothered by endless legal threats. He’s already been indicted by one of those grand jury investigations. 

He’s been found liable for defaming journalist E. Jean Carroll as well as for having sexually assaulted her in a dressing room in Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s. 

Next up, Trump stands to be indicted later this summer for having mishandled classified documents

Trump may endure another indictment in August for his alleged plot to commit election fraud in Georgia during their presidential recount in 2020.

For Trump to criticize anyone else for engaging in a legal fight is grossly hypocritical. What’s more, unlike Trump, DeSantis’ fight with Disney is about preserving the principle of democratic governance from being eroded by big money interests. 

Trump’s various legal woes are the result of his own sloppy behavior. He wasn’t fighting for democracy. He was running his mouth and tweeting trash—which gave fuel to overzealous prosecutors’ proverbial fire. 

DeSantis Must Fight On All Fronts—And Win

Regardless of the outcome or the impact on DeSantis’ political future, he must continue the Disney fight. This is truly a matter of principle. Trump has already shown himself incapable of standing up to the Big Corporations who threaten our freedom.

This is a winning issue for DeSantis in the 2024 GOP Primary, which is why Trump is so desperate to make it into a negative.

Trump has the lead in the polls against DeSantis now, but the cultural issues are catnip to Republican voters (not so much independent voters) and DeSantis has Trump beat there. 

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A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.

This 19FortyFive article is syndicated to Microsoft through a republishing partnership agreement.

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