Finally, a viable alternative to Donald Trump in 2024
On September 1, 1939, World War II began in Europe. After Britain and France invaded Poland, they declared war on Germany.
Despite some probes and side campaigns, the Western Allies did not act as if it were a real war until the invasion of France in May 1940.
The British called those eight months the “Phony War”. But it inevitably ended, and the war became very real.
The phony war of the 2024 campaign is over.
In the six months since Donald Trump’s announcement, while Trump has hammered Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor has been on the sidelines.
He’s been busy doing his thing, signing a dazzling array of his conservative proposals that the Florida Legislature has enacted into law.
But aside from a few thinly veiled jabs at Trump, he hasn’t publicly gone to war for the presidency. which ended on Wednesday.
DeSantis has used the time well, building a large and well-funded campaign operation and gathering support. He represents an unprecedented army of campaign workers on the ground who will be knocking on doors in early primary states.
Trump, leading in national polls, acts as if the race is already over, even speculating that he might skip the debates.
But historically, late May is not too late to start. Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in 2000 both entered mid-June; Joe Biden entered the 2020 race in late April.
Even before the announcement, DeSantis was running close to Trump in early states and far ahead of any other Republican.
Now DeSantis introduces herself to a national audience that has heard her name a lot, but hasn’t really met her.
Trump is almost 77 years old and has been famous for 40 years. Biden is 80 years old and ran for president in 1987.
Hillary Clinton had been at the center of our politics for a quarter of a century until 2016. There has been no new face in American politics for some time.
No part of wealth
DeSantis is, in some ways, a throwback.
Republicans used to nominate men of humble beginnings like Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower, but more recently have taken on wealth and privilege like the Trumps, Bushes, Mitt Romney and John McCain. DeSantis is the son of ordinary middle-class Floridians who worked his way through college.
The party used to nominate military veterans; DeSantis served in the Navy in Iraq. Republicans to run two-term governors of large states like Reagan and George W. Bush; DeSantis has proven his ability to govern a diverse, populous Florida and has turned it heavily red in his re-election bid.
At 44, he would be the first GOP nominee under 50 since Nixon in 1960, and the first under 60 in two decades.
From Covid to culture wars to law enforcement, Trump’s tendencies have been less important than his inability to impose his will on government and mobilize public opinion behind him.
DeSantis has excelled at both.
In 2022, Trump pushed the party to nominate a raft of failed candidates; DeSantis picked winners in Florida and shared his wealth of fundraising skills. He will not act out or get frustrated.
After seven years of Trump leading the party, Republican voters deserve a real choice. Now they have one.