by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
You may not have realized it because of the gimlet-eyed tone of my coverage of the Republican primary over the last year, but I am a Ron DeSantis supporter. (That’s fine — I am regularly accused of being everything from “in the bag for Trump” to a guaranteed Biden vote.) DeSantis has been a superb governor for the State of Florida. He managed one of the most life-changing crises of modern history — the pandemic — in a way that should be treated as a case study in leadership by future generations. His “culture warring” (with Disney, with transgender content in elementary-school curriculums, etc.) may offend some fainter hearts but is exactly the sort of lawful fightback I believe is welcome against a series of American institutions rotten to their core with progressive derangement.
DeSantis had my vote and never seriously threatened to lose it; I didn’t even mind when he said or did cringeworthy things on the campaign trail (his answers on Social Security in particular were gagworthy to any honest man); certainly not when the other primary options on offer are Nikki Haley and (no, thanks, ever) Donald Trump. Having laid my cards out on the table like this, however, it’s time to turn the tarot over and give the DeSantis campaign its reading: the Death card.
There’s no other way to put it: It’s over for the DeSantis presidential campaign after going “all in” in Iowa and getting thumped by 30 points, with Trump reaching a majority in the state. … I guess you can’t go out and deliver a speech saying, “We staked it all on winning and we lost it all, hard,” so I won’t hold it against the campaign for remaining quiet for a decent interval of mourning. But given the catastrophic failure of its primary strategy and well-known money problems, it’s hard to see how the DeSantis campaign makes it to New Hampshire, much less South Carolina or beyond, unless as a purely rhetorical exercise.