Want to Win the Midterms? Listen to Ron DeSantis
If you’re a GOP congressional candidate, who should you take advice from on how to win your election? Mitch McConnell -- who, by all appearances, is a Disney animatron created to trip up Republican contenders -- or Ron DeSantis, ultra-successful governor of Florida and a candidate who won a nail-biter in 2018, which was a very Democrat year?
If GOP candidates follow DeSantis, the Vegas odds favor them bagging their Democrat opponents. DeSantis is no Elmer Fudd hunting wabbits. He’s smart, tough, and relentless – and he’s right on the issues. He wins.
Expect DeSantis to dispatch hatin’ Charlie Crist to a St. Pete taxidermist this November.
Crist, like every other Democrat across the country, is running with America’s wannabe il duce, delusional Joe Biden. Creaky old Joe, that is, who miserably fails at everything he touches. Biden’s 20 months in office is a testament to failure. DeSantis has a four-year track record of success. People are flocking to Florida -- not just to hang at the beaches, but to live. Increasingly, salt-of-the-earth folk are shaking off blue state blues for red state freedoms and jobs.
Summed up in a short paragraph is DeSantis’ formula for winning elections. No need to stroke checks to overpriced Washington-dwelling, GOP consultants. You can figure it out all by your lonesome. From the Daily Wire, September 3:
“We’ll hold Biden accountable,” DeSantis told [“The Ingraham Angle”] guest host Raymond Arroyo. “This is a referendum on his failures, make sure everybody knows how his policies have contributed to the mess we’re in, and then articulate what you will do to address things like the border, like crime, like inflation. I think if you do that, I think Republicans are going to win both chambers. And I think it’ll be a really good night.” [italics added]
If hunting isn’t your thing, think of DeSantis as a boxer. He’s recommending the old one-two punch. No need to win on points when you can KO your opponent.
This election season, KOing Democrats happens first with the facts of Biden’s dreary record.
Republicans running against incumbent Democrats need to pound away at their voting records, which ties them to the disastrous policies and governance of Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer. In open seat contests, a Republican need only ask his dodging opponent: “Do you support Joe Biden? If so, why? If not, why are you running as a Democrat?” The second punch -- the KO -- is telling voters what you’ll do to make things better. Once your opponent is on the canvas, it’s match over. Voters will see to it.
So, if hunting or boxing isn’t for you, then imagine you’re a painter. Voters, being busy with daily life, don’t have much time to tour art galleries. With jobs to work, bills to pay, and kids to tend to, they aren’t going to devote a heckuva lot of time studying your masterpiece versus whatever a Democrat slops on a canvass.
Take advice from a master, the late, great Gipper -- yes, the affable but politically shrewd Ronald Reagan: Dump the insipid pastels that establishment Republicans love (who really likes motel lobby art?) and paint in big, bold colors. Offer stark contrasts with Democrats. Ask grandmaster Donald Trump about the indispensability of contrast, especially this year. Your painting needs to show voters how vividly different you are from your opposition.
Even Old Joe, in his bitter, hate-filled rant before Independence Hall the other night, was setting up a classic “us versus them” contrast, albeit in the creepy, destructive way of a demagogue. Let Biden and Democrats hate. Republicans need to lay out differences with calm and precision, but never back off.
Frame the choice for voters starkly: “You can buy the mess that Biden and his Democrats have splashed onto a canvas or buy this smart, sensible composition I’ve rendered.” Then watch how voters line up to buy your art.
This election, Republicans command the issues and should express their positions confidently. Inflation, energy costs, crime, the border, Biden’s personal corruption and the corruption of the Department of Justice and FBI, for starters, are the stuff of your election masterpiece. Use all those elements without subtly. Voters want to see the big picture.
Some Republicans, being parochial souls will claim, “What works for DeSantis in Florida won’t work for us in Nebraska or Pennsylvania.” Poppycock. There’s an old bias that travels ‘round and ‘round: that people are different depending on their part of the country.
Sorry to dent local pride, but human nature is universal. Some issues may differ -- not many Nebraskans care about eradicating pythons in the Everglades -- and personal styles may vary, but people are people, kumbaya! Most Americans -- from the Florida Keys to the Aleutian Islands -- prefer a straight talker like Harry Truman to Slick Willie or a polished snake oil peddler like Barack Obama. (Mitt Romney lost to Obama in 2012 because he didn’t have the cojones to keep fighting with straight talk.)
After what seems like an eternity of Biden’s compulsive lying and Democrats routine inversions of the truth -- except when doddering Bernie Sanders slipped, spilling the beans about the laughably named “Inflation Reduction Act” -- plain talk is in demand. Mealymouthed, “Can’t we all just get along” babble isn’t what voters need. Respect voters by not mincing words.
Jittery Republicans who blur differences court needless defeat. To borrow from the British Parliament, the upcoming elections are about “dividing the House.”
Democrats to the left, Republicans to the right. No in-between. Democrats mustn’t be permitted to pretend to be conservative in any way. They must be forced to stand with Joe, Nancy, and Chuck. They must be held strictly accountable for plunging the nation into a cauldron of troubles, troubles that are launching the nation toward crises.
In the wee hours, when Republican candidates have time to take stock, they need to reflect on the fact that the midterms and the 2024 elections aren’t run-of-the-mill. These aren’t ordinary times. Wishing so won’t make it so.
The republic is fast approaching a crossroads. Shall there be a rebirth of our rights and liberties or are we to sink into tyranny, the definition of which isn’t yet entirely clear, though the contours are unmistakable? Shall we bequeath a prosperous nation – a nation of expansive opportunities -- to future generations or are prosperity and opportunity to be ground under by the anti-liberty cabal on the left? Shall we be a nation freed from deep institutional corruption -- a nation that restores moral integrity to our institutions and culture? Or is the nation’s future brutish and morally squalid?
Republican candidates reading this, answer these questions: If you have children, grandchildren, and, one day, great-grandchildren, which America do you want them inhabiting? When they look back on you, what will they think? In this critical moment in our nation’s life, will they see you has having taken courage in hand? Will they regard you as consequential in this fight? Or as failing to measure up when it was most required of you?
Now, pause to imagine how Reagan, Trump, and DeSantis would answer those questions.
J. Robert Smith can be found regularly at Gab @JRobertSmith. He also blogs at Flyover.
Image: Gage Skidmore