Viewing DeSantis Versus Trump Through The 2022 Election Filter

Readers of this page will recall that I firmly promoted the idea (here and here) that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis should be the Republican 2024 Presidential nominee, not Former President Donald Trump. After the Mar-a-Lago raid, I changed my view and said that the raid had made him the essential nominee. If nothing more, his election would be an “in your face” repudiation of the lawless Democrat machine.

I don’t like feeling like a fresh caught fish on deck, flopping this way and then that. I suppose the saving grace in all my posts is that I don’t prognosticate in them. I try to stick to analysis, and in that process, I try to stick to facts. And at this point, new facts (not “our facts”) make it imperative that we carefully reconsider our options. In this process, I’d like to include by reference the discussion in my recent post-mortem of the election.

There are a handful of observations that must underpin our discussion. First, 2,000 Mules shows incontrovertible forensic proof that Democrat operatives stole the 2020 Presidential election. That multiple courts threw out lawsuits on technical grounds does not change this fact. It further does not change the fact that no court has actually ruled on the merits of the evidence. But none of this is meaningful moving forward unless it is used to prevent such fraud in the future. This is why the NTSB investigates plane crashes. If we understand the cause of a disaster, we may be able to avoid a repeat.

The state of Florida, spurred on by the hanging chads of the 2000 election, has been moving toward clean elections with multiple changes. We have legally required voter list maintenance. We have early voting that begins between ten and fifteen days before the final election date. Photo ID and signature verification are standard. And no private money may be used for government functions related to voting. Zuckerbucks are verboten.

Even though the Brennan Center declared the 2021 updates to be a “Sweeping Voter Suppression Law,” there weren’t any complaints of suppression after the fact. Democrats didn’t show up because their candidates were mostly awful, and Republicans had helped make Florida better.

Image: Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. YouTube screen grab.

Governor DeSantis didn’t talk about Trump’s election being stolen. He took material steps to make sure that it couldn’t happen in Florida. He didn’t focus on abortion in his debate with Charlie Crist. Instead, he focused on a Jamaican woman who didn’t go through with an abortion and had a daughter that DeSantis had just appointed to the Florida Supreme Court.

In states like Arizona, very electable Republicans Kari Lake and Blake Masters focused on the stolen election. They looked backward, and Masters (as of this writing) is a definite loser. Lake’s race is still in limbo. And it’s unresolved because Arizona has not adopted procedures that create a clean election we can rely on. Florida had complete results within twenty-four hours because of our procedures. Arizona expects to take over a week. In Nevada, Joe Lombardo defeated incumbent Governor Sisolak by focusing on how the Governor had damaged Nevada with draconian COVID restrictions, not by looking backward at the last election.

In short, the winners have been people who have looked at real, present-day problems and presented solutions. But Donald Trump simply hasn’t done that. He sees Ron DeSantis as his most viable opponent and is pre-emptively trying to destroy him. But instead of his attacks being echoed by the right wing, he’s being severely criticized, and with good reason. DeSantis has done lots of good things for Florida, and he doesn’t let reporters get away with lying with their questions. This translated into a twenty-point blowout win. The same can be said for Brian Kemp, the freshly re-elected Governor of Georgia. He shepherded an election integrity bill through, and a clean election has comfortably kept election denier Stacey Abrams out of office.

Americans like competence. They love freedom. And they demand opportunity. Where candidates can show the voters, not just tell them, that these are their touchstone principles, they win. Easily. Trump’s guiding light is loyalty to Trump. That’s not a winning issue, largely because he has so much vitriolic personal opposition. And America can’t stand another four years of Brandon.

Trump supporters ask us to look at his record. On opportunity, he did quite well, with measures to improve American business. Unemployment in all parts of the economy was at record lows, with excellent growth and low inflation. But most of America can’t see that, or they would have run Democrats out of town with this election.

On freedom, the Donald is reflexively for it, but his record on COVID is awful. He listened to Fauci and Birx, allowing the Federal government to coerce states into incredibly harmful lockdowns and mask mandates. While Operation Warp Speed was impressive, it was scientifically foolhardy, leading to millions of vaccine injuries and deaths. To this day, 45 has not repudiated the vaccine, which is causing massive injuries that even the lame-stream media are having trouble covering up.

As for competence, all America heard was that Trump wanted us to inject bleach. The facts don’t matter. Unfortunately, my brother’s description of Trump as “damaged goods” is a polite assessment of his real circumstances. Despite his fanatical following, a lot of Americans turn up their noses at him as if he were three-day-old fish. He couldn’t populate his White House staff with competent people who wouldn’t undermine him. He couldn’t get the wall built. And he waited until just before the 2020 election to issue his Schedule F reclassification of federal employees that would have let him efficiently drain the Swamp.

Even his political endorsement successes are often questionable. In the Republican primaries, Trump’s word carried weight. Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania Trump’s endorsement led to Dr. Oz’s nomination over David McCormick, a candidate who most likely would have defeated Fetterman. His endorsement of Glenn Youngkin had less to do with Youngkin’s win than did Terry McAuliffe’s statement that parents should have no role in what their children were taught.

If Trump becomes the nominee, I’ll vote for him. But there’s no reason to support him in the primaries when all he can do is demean possible opponents, rather than recognize their contributions to America. None of us who live in Florida will believe anything Trump says to slander Ron DeSantis. DeSantis is, without doubt, the best governor my state has had since I moved here in 1980. Ron has proved his skill with facts and the press. And above all, he doesn’t have a thin skin that takes him off message like 45.

In short, I am in a situation similar to many Republican voters: We love what Trump did for America and are furious with how he has been mistreated. At the same time, he is a schoolyard bully who lashes out at the slightest provocation, damaging his message and his party in one blow. Ron DeSantis is “an extremely effective conservative governor” and “a far more effective leader of the Right than Trump was.”

If it sounds like I’m conflicted, you’re an astute student of the obvious. Our best presidential candidate will be one who is unabashedly MAGA, forward-thinking, disciplined, polished, and accomplished. At present, that’s Ron DeSantis, although others, such as South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, will have a chance to prove their worth in the arena. For his part, Donald Trump has proved the old proverb: It is better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Ted Noel MD is a retired Anesthesiologist/Intensivist who podcasts and posts on social media as DoctorTed and @vidzette. His DoctorTed podcasts are available on many podcast channels.

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