Ron DeSantis and the Path to the White House: Big Decisions Loom

Nobody in America had a better election night in 2022 than Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. With a nearly 20-point margin of victory over Charlie Crist, he far exceeded even the boldest pollster prediction of a 13-point win, and did so in sharp contrast with the fortunes of many other Republicans around the country who were expected to cruise to easy wins, but didn’t.

The result caught the attention of Republicans across the country who might otherwise not have taken note of the Florida governor’s performance. That’s not to say that DeSantis wasn’t already under consideration by many forward-thinking Republicans around the country surveying the national scene for a 2024 presidential contender, but the 2022 election results put a spotlight on DeSantis in a way most presidential hopefuls can only dream of.

DeSantis is rightly coy about his plans for 2024, but there will likely never be another opportunity quite as golden as the one that lies before him right now.  Assuming he and his family are willing to embark on a grueling White House campaign, the 2024 election is his best shot.

The Moment

Few presidential contenders ever catch the kind of wave that propels them toward the White House quite the way DeSantis has. Those that do, usually wind up there. In 2008, Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination over Hillary Clinton, after having caught the attention of Democrats around the country looking for a fresh face and inspirational leadership. Only four years prior, Obama was an unknown Illinois state senator, but he managed to score an impressive win in the 2004 U.S. Senate race that earned him national attention that he was able to parlay into a winning bid for the White House.

In 1994, George W. Bush defeated a popular incumbent Democrat governor, Ann Richards, and later won re-election in 1998 in a landslide that put him on the path to the presidency when Republicans around the country were looking for contenders.

Both cases have similarities to DeSantis: a meteoric rise to national prominence built on a foundation of star power and impressive political performance at the state level.


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