Democrat sources in the state of Florida and DC tell this analyst the first priority for Democrats in 2022 is to beat Ron DeSantis in the Florida gubernatorial election.
I cut my teeth in Florida politics in the 1970s. Many of my teenage political pals on both sides of the aisle have gone on to fame and renown. We still talk and even occasionally see each other. Several have been elected to office, two to Congress. During recent separate conversations with these people, both Republicans and Democrats, the word was clear: Democrats will go after DeSantis with a fury. Republicans want him eventually in the White House.
Florida, for those of you unenlightened, is politically several states. There’s the good ol’ boy Panhandle, the Midwest-like I-4 corridor in the middle of the state, the libertarian beach locales, liberal Broward, Latin urban Dade, the rich and counter-culture Keys, and new residents. Conservatives and Republicans are in the suburbs and sprinkled generously all over. And that’s the simple explanation.
To win a statewide race in Florida you have to cobble together an alliance of those areas and groups. It’s not easy. Each feels they are the real Florida except the Panhandle. They know they’re closer to Alabama and Louisiana in most ways than they are to Broward, my home county, and Dade.
Ron DeSantis was able to offer these areas and groups a vision of a free and prosperous state. He stayed the course during the pandemic and did not focus on state government overreach, as was the case in states like Michigan, California, and New York. That vision and his success has driven Democrats batty.
My Florida Democrat friends are not quite around the bend, but they recognize the national threat DeSantis poses to them. He’s articulate, an Army veteran, no skeletons up to now, and is close to Trump. Thus, if Trump runs he’s a good bet for veep. DeSantis wins either way. If Trump wins DeSantis is set up for the next run after Trump. If Trump loses DeSantis could inherit the party, Trump supporters, and bring in his own people to run things in anticipation for 2028. But first, he’s got to get reelected governor in 2022.
The Democrat main point of attack will be on Covid and, surprise, race. It’s already started as Democrat Florida mayors have begun to accuse him of opening up the state too quickly and causing unnecessary deaths. That is hogwash. But as in all hogwash, many will buy it because most people are inherently very stupid. For Democrats, that fact is their bread and butter.
One of the things that has bothered Democrats is that, while not totally free of mayhem, Florida did not experience the worst of the riots last year. That will change. Riots will start in major Florida cities and the message will be the racism of Ron DeSantis. Watch for it and stay tuned, as next year Florida becomes ground zero for a political rumble of epic proportions.