WASHINGTON (AFP) – The rising man of the hard right, Ron DeSantis, was re-elected as the governor of Florida on Tuesday, a victory that cements his position as a potential presidential candidate against Donald Trump and helped the state oscillations that once oscillated between conservatives and Democrats toward Republicans.
Although neither of them has yet announced their 2024 candidacy, the race for the Republican nomination could unofficially begin on November 8.
“For me, the fight is just beginning,” said 44-year-old Ron DeSantis.
The man who launched an incendiary campaign against the Biden government and turned Florida into a laboratory for his ideas received 57 to 59% of the vote against Democrat Charlie Crist, according to US media estimates.
“I think the existence of the American experiment requires a revival of true American principles. Florida shows it can be done,” he added to cheers.
He did so without mentioning Donald Trump once, who, by backing him, gave him a huge boost in the 2018 gubernatorial race.
The latter seems consciously and clearly outraged by the rise of this hard-right supporter and the threat it poses to him by becoming hugely popular with many Republicans fed up with the unpredictable Trump.
In the evening, the former president gave a brief speech in which he lauded some Republican victories, but was careful not to mention what is already seen as his strongest opponent.
On Monday, Trump speculated that if Ron DeSantis chose to enter the race for the nomination, it would be “a mistake.” “I don’t think the base likes it. I don’t think it’s good for the game,” he said.
As for what he doesn’t want to do with his opponents, Donald Trump has also recently used a derogatory nickname for the governor: “Ron DeSanctimonius.”
Florida, from the right
DeSantis’ very clear victory also confirms a clear anchorage on the right in Florida, which has long been considered a “swing state” or hinge, one of those oscillating between Democrats and Republicans and crucial in elections. Is.
The governor was not wrong: “We not only won the election, we redrawn the political map,” he said on Tuesday night, thanking the “historic” victory.
Because “it is clear that in these elections we have collected a large number of votes from people who probably didn’t vote for me four years ago,” he said.
Unthinkable a few years ago, Ron DeSantis won the Hispanic-majority county of Miami-Dade, where no Republican gubernatorial candidate has emerged victorious in twenty years.
Something that should worry Democrats, although Hispanics traditionally vote for the left, are increasingly turning to the other camp.
Many in communities of Cuban and Venezuelan origin are sensitive to the anti-socialist discourse of Republicans.
Also, the way DeSantis handled the Covid-19 pandemic could also play a key role in his victory.
The governor, who opposed vaccination and mask requirements, allowed Florida businesses and schools to reopen much earlier than the rest of the country.
He recently caused controversy by claiming to have sent migrant planes to Martha’s Vineyard, an island in the northeastern United States frequented by the wealthy, was a very political gesture to the right.
It is one of the sounds of “cultural wars” dividing the country.
He is very committed to educational issues. This year he signed a law that prohibits the teaching of subjects related to sexual orientation or gender identity in primary schools.
In recent days, his wife Casey DeSantis tweeted a video, which has given a lot to talk about. In the short black-and-white clip, her husband appears invested with a divine mission.