Trump Who? Democrats Anticipate That DeSantis May Be the Bigger Threat to Biden’s Chance of Re-Election

Toby Hazlewood

Democrats now more focussed on how to tackle a presidential bid from Florida's young governor
Governor Ron DeSantisPhoto byTwitter of GovRonDesantis

Advisers and strategists for the Democrat Party are showing early concern at the prospect of Ron DeSantis as the GOP's candidate. DeSantis, who presides over a large, diverse and former swing state, could appeal to possible Biden voters and those who would otherwise lean Republican, but who were turned off by Trump’s volatility and political baggage.

DeSantis' appeal with voters

At just 44, DeSantis is seen as a significantly more youthful and energetic alternative to Biden, 80 and Trump, 76. Biden allies worry that DeSantis could divert the support of the crucial independent, female or suburban voters that Biden so badly needs for a win.
President Joe BidenPhoto byShutterstock

Although some argue DeSantis is not tested nationally and could flounder in the GOP primary, either with voters or on the debate stage against other Republicans, he is likely to present a strong presidential run.

It's anticipated a DeSantis campaign would focus upon his successful handling of the Florida economy including its low unemployment rate, more stringent immigration laws and emphasising the virtues of limited government, whilst criticising Democrat handling of COVID-19 shutdowns.

When will he confirm candidacy?

DeSantis is preparing to make the forthcoming session of the Florida legislature, with its proposals on hot-button issues like guns, abortion and education, a springboard for a potential presidential bid, along with the tour for his book scheduled for release in late February.

Part of the DeSantis strategy appears to be winning over as many GOP donors as possible and dominating the race before he formally announces candidacy. Democrats are watching closely.

They may well have cause for concern. Recent polling from Suffolk University/USA Today shows DeSantis beating Biden, 47% to 43% in a hypothetical head to head, whereas the same poll showed Biden beating Trump, with a convincing 47% to 40%. A majority of voters in the same poll said they wanted neither Biden nor Trump to run again in 2024.

What is Biden's best defense?

In spite of a scheduled trip on February 9, the most useful action for Biden to take towards his own campaign, when it comes to Florida, may be no action at all. Recent visits by the President to Florida appear to have worsened his profile and approval rating, directly benefiting DeSantis and state Republicans. So significant were the effects of his words and actions in Florida in benefitting DeSantis, the Republican governor went as far as joking:

“I think it’s an in-kind contribution to my campaign.”

Whether or not DeSantis' cutting remark about Biden foretells a successful result for his own campaign later in the year, remains to be seen.

Would DeSantis be your preferred candidate for the GOP? Do Democrats have any chance of making up ground in Florida? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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