DeSantis's indirect attack on Trump: 'There is no substitute for victory'

Make no mistake: it is on between DeSantis and Trump in the contest for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.  Watching Governor Ron DeSantis's speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition (video embedded below) over the weekend, I have no doubt that he is planning a run for president.  Nothing he said could be called an attack on Donald Trump, but the implication of what he said is clear.  First and foremost, the words he borrowed from Winston Churchill Douglas MacArthur, "there is no substitute for victory," can be seen as a response to what many perceive as the difficulty President Trump would have getting elected in 2024, especially as contrasted with the sweeping re-election victory, almost a 20-point margin, that DeSantis just scored.

His margin four years ago was a fraction of one percent, so he picked up a huge percentage of the electorate that had voted against him earlier.  Converting voters is the name of the game in a presidential run by a Republican, given the paucity of raw majority victories by Republican presidents in the modern era.

Trump, for better or worse, remains committed to contesting his 2020 loss as illegitimate.  Whatever the merits of his argument, and they are not negligible, vindication in that argument — if it were even possible — is not a substitute for victory in 2024.

DeSantis implicitly contrasted himself with Trump by saying, "I am totally fine with receiving incoming fire," vowing that he takes it on behalf of the citizenry that he is protecting from the destructive policies of the left.  He doesn't say he will punch back harder, the way Trump has often stated.  No, he will focus on policy and victory.  And on Florida as an example of what he can accomplish for the rest of the states: a "refuge of sanity."  "The state of Florida is where woke goes to die."

I found the speech a very interesting positioning of himself for the two-year campaign for president that lies ahead.  To be sure, he hasn't committed himself to run, and he probably won't for quite some time.  But he certainly is keeping that option open and is subtly laying out his case against Donald Trump.

Here is the speech:

Photo credit: YouTube screen grab.

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