Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is now an official candidate for the 2024 United States presidential election. The Republican submitted the required documents to the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, May 24. Many see him as the option that could beat former President Donald Trump to the party leadership.
It’s official. The announcement that had been talked about for months came true this Wednesday, May 24. The current governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, launched his campaign to become the candidate of the Republican Party in the United States presidential elections in 2024.
The Republican revealed his decision in a Federal Election Commission filing ahead of an online conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk.
The 44-year-old governor is seen as one of the leading figures in winning the Republican leadership from former President Donald Trump.
DeSantis and Trump went from being allies to two great rivals. The former president, in fact, supported the governor in his first race to fill that position. But now, a face to face between the two politicians is coming.
The governor is launching his campaign after a term in office marked by conservative policies. Florida banned most abortions, prohibited the use of public money in sustainable investments and has even relaxed permits for carrying concealed weapons.
DeSantis will have the challenge of continuing to win the votes of the sectors most loyal to Trump, and of reaching the presidential elections, that his conservative policies do not alienate part of the electorate.
A start with technical problems
The launch of his campaign was scheduled to take place through Twitter Spaces and with the company of Elon Musk, the tycoon who owns the social network, who had announced his willingness to turn Twitter into a kind of “town square.” However, DeSantis’ announcement had to wait more than half an hour due to technical glitches on the platform.
The billionaire owner of Twitter said the problems were caused by “overloading” the servers as many people were trying to listen to the audio-only event.
“There are so many people,” host David Sacks said amid the interruptions. “There are so many people that we are kind of melting down the servers, which is a good sign.”
A day earlier, Musk called the event a historic first for Twitter, saying it would be “the first time something like this has happened on social media.”
At one point, more than 300,000 Twitter users were listening to the event, but the number dropped to around 100,000 as users were kicked out due to technical issues.
Who is Ron DeSantis?
A possible fight for the presidential race would be the highest rung of DeSantis’ political career. His latest landslide victory was his re-election for Governor of Florida. The Republican painted one of the key states for the political landscape of the United States red.
The politician’s career has only gone up. In 2012, he ran for Congress and won an Orlando-area district, becoming a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, a far-right group on Capitol Hill.
So, he pushed through changes to Medicare and Social Security, including a measure that sought to raise the retirement age. He was present in Congress for three terms.
It was in 2018 when he launched his first candidacy for the state in which he has formed his political character. In that year he won by just one percentage point. Some results that are far from the massive support received for his re-election, in which he took a 19 percentage point advantage.
His training before politics marked the rhythms and stages of his life took place at Harvard Law School. He also held the post of General Officer of the Navy Prosecutor’s Office. A position that took him to Iraq and Guantanamo.
Has three sons. And his wife, Casey DeSantis, is seen as one of his political advisers.
A launch between controversies and political victories
Although it is not yet known what effect this will have on his White House aspirations, DeSantis has carried a series of controversial flags and measures in recent months. Some that have made his name sound loud not only in Florida, but also nationally.
The Covid-19 pandemic gave the first light on the disruptive nature of DeSantis in United States politics. The governor opposed quarantines and the use of masks. Turning his state into a place where many people who criticize the treatment of the health emergency in their own states (and even countries) went and seen, also, as a place of capital investment. The bursting beaches in Florida contrasted with the images that the pandemic left in much of the United States.
Furthermore, as Reuters shows, Florida has consistently outperformed the country in job growth over the past two years. Some numbers in green that have also earned him new followers.
The governor has been a standard bearer of the fight of the republicans against the educational policies denominated as wokena term that has acquired a negative connotation and refers to a politically correct way of addressing issues of social justice—.
His support for a legislative measure that prohibits the teaching of ‘Critical Race Theory’ was also at the center of the controversy. This is an academic doctrine that views US history through the lens of oppression.
One of his most famous and controversial political victories had abortion in Florida at the center of the debate. In April, DeSantis signed a law that prohibited the termination of a pregnancy after the 15th week of gestation, even in cases of rape or incest.
A measure that, as experts consulted by Reuters affirm, has earned him the support of the most believing and conservative sectors of Republican citizens. However, his radicalism on the subject, they say, could cost him dearly in hypothetical presidential elections.
At the center of the controversy is also a renowned and historic American company: Disney. In recent months, the headlines in reference to the state of Florida have often been dedicated to the feud between DeSantis and the media and entertainment conglomerate.
The governor opted to strip the company of “self-government” status after Disney opposed a law known as ‘Don’t Say Gay’ that limited the discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools.
Disney struck back. The company filed a federal lawsuit against DeSantis accusing him of using the state government as a weapon to retaliate against the company. The dispute continues red hot.
DeSantis vs. Trump
From allies to rivals. In 2018, Trump endorsed DeSantis in his campaign for governor of Florida. In fact, the Republican acknowledged that he probably would not have come to office without the support of the former president.
But now, the tension is latent. Trump has sought to discredit his rival with nicknames such as “Ron DeSanctimonious” and “Meatball Ron,” while also criticizing his disloyalty.
In the new stage of their relations, many have sought to draw parallels between the two candidates. DeSantis has been cast as a more electable Trump, an argument the AP notes has been used by his allies who reference his victory as governor.
For others, DeSantis’ age (44 compared to Trump’s 76 years) makes him a more “fit” representative for the future of the Republican Party.
The parallels go from his body expression to his measurements. Some point out that his populist policies and his gestures are increasingly reminiscent of the former president.
The dispute on the Republican side
Beyond Donald Trump, the list for the Republican Party’s candidacy has only grown.
Nikki Haley, the country’s former UN ambassador under Trump, made her nomination official in February. DeSantis’ now-rival was also the governor of South Carolina. When she ran she referenced the need for younger faces in the Republican leadership.
A few days ago, also from South Carolina, Senator Tim Scott announced his intention to take the reins of the party. He did so by appealing to faith and the need for stories like his, a descendant of African-American workers in cotton fields, to be heard in the United States.
Also in the fight is the former governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, and the businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.
With Reuters and AP