President Donald Trump was AWOL yesterday. His shame and embarrassment evidently kept him from addressing his supporters on January 6. As the former President continues his year-long fade into self-inflicted obscurity, it’s no surprise Governor Ron DeSantis continues to step up and claim the mantle as leader of the GOP, which after right now is the majority political party in much of the United States.
Speaking at an event not far from Trump’s residence in exile at Mar-a-Lago, DeSantis turned January 6 on its head channeling his inner Spiro Agnew to attack the media, New York, Washington DC, Democrats and everyone else. He said Floridians don’t care about the insurrection even though this state provided more insurrectionists to the “cause” of overturning the 2020 Presidential Election than any other state.
Here are DeSantis’ comments from WPBF in West Palm Beach:
DeSantis is a cultural warrior of unique quality who faces no real rival within the GOP currently (the only Republican I think that could potentially challenge DeSantis is Mike Pompeo who evidently has been slimming down, perhaps in preparation for a Presidential run?).
His effective demagoguery on any numbers of issues (most notably COVID) means he could simply walk into the White House in January 2025 unless political winds shift dramatically. You never want to get ahead of yourself, but if I were working for DeSantis as a true believer, I’d be measuring the White House drapes about now (though as I have previously pointed the lack of a President Muskie, Connolly or Ted Kennedy speaks to not taking inevitability too far, but today’s electorate is more cooked than in this days) .
A wanna-be autocrat who takes after Viktor Orbán, DeSantis is a smarter, more disciplined and tougher version of Trump, and a less-corrupt (we think) version of Agnew. Speaking to grassroots GOP activists, he is very clearly the leader now. Trump, like every political leader had a shelf life (the notable recent exception being Jerry Brown who reinvented himself so many times, it’s incredible- then again unlike his father, the younger Brown was largely non-ideological so could twist and turn his way from 1970 to 2020 as an important political figure)and DeSantis has very clearly assumed the mantle.
As the media’s obsession with Trump continues, very few outside Florida have properly focused on the DeSantis threat, which serves the Governor just fine as he continues to consolidate his hold on the party. In fact, the threat is increased by the view among influential conservative media types that never quite got on the Never Trump train that DeSantis provides a safer course for the GOP than Trump. DeSantis is a more effective and dangerous figure than Trump who doesn’t elicit the same sort of strong media reaction. So it’s time to be scared, very scared.