GAMA SOSA: Liberals And Never-Trumpers Are Right, DeSantis Is ‘More Dangerous’ Than Trump — That’s Why He’s Winning

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As Ron DeSantis demolishes the COVID-19 house of cards and turns himself into a potential favorite for 2024, he has pulled closer to (or overtaken, depending on the poll) former President Donald Trump. And the media has naturally been there to screech every step of the way. A handful of commentators have even called him “scarier” than Trump. And if they care as much about their COVID restrictions and wokeness as they claim, then DeSantis might just be their worst domestic nightmare, pulling crucial parts of Trump’s base that feel alienated after 2020.

Trump supporters are not wrong to feel let down. Trump green-lighted an extra 30-day lockdown that emboldened governors and mayors alike to put Americans through two years of hell. He did not activate the Insurrection Act during the George Floyd riots, even as American cities burned and President Joe Biden’s own staff donated to or promoted riot bail funds. Whether it is fair or not, Trump will be burdened with the title of “lockdown president” going into 2024, and Democrats likely won’t let him forget it. After all, any criticism of Democrat lockdowns will be met with the inevitable “you did it first.”

DeSantis, meanwhile, is looking like a diehard Trumper’s dream – at least on domestic policy. The 2024 election is increasingly shaping up to be a “[COVID] vaccine election,” to quote The New York Times. And DeSantis in this particular regard has been objectively brilliant.

Despite initially going with the “two weeks to stop the spread,” DeSantis quickly pivoted, blocking vaccine passports through executive order in April 2021, well before most states were thinking of the problem. His health department under Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has issued warnings against COVID shots for men and children – something most states are unwilling to touch.

He has requested a criminal grand jury to investigate Pfizer and Moderna, who have enjoyed civil liability protection – despite repeated lies about the shots’ safety and efficacy. The possibility of seeing such a policy go national to put Anthony Fauci, pharma executives, and others behind bars has won DeSantis points from outside established GOP circles (e.g. Alex Jones). And no doubt ordinary Trumpers who risked job losses due to injection mandates appreciate this, too – especially since Trump has continued to promote the shots.

COVID has been the defining narrative of DeSantis’ governorship. It was also the cornerstone of the Democrats’ 2020 strategy. It justified mass mail-in voting, ballot harvesting, drop-boxes and extended deadlines, and it worked against Trump in 2020. DeSantis and Florida, however, banned or restricted such practices while strengthening ID requirements for 2022. Unsurprisingly, the state had the cleanest 2022 elections. The media’s predictable response? “He’s racist!

For Trump supporters and moderates living in other states, however, the possibility of seeing Florida law go national is irresistible. If Michigan had such laws, the Wicked Witches of Lansing and Lockdown Queens Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, AG Dana Nessel and SOS Jocelyn Benson wouldn’t be looking at another four years in power. Anecdotally speaking, many of my neighbors have wished we could poach Ron from Florida. Seriously. And did I mention election integrity is another major concern of Trump’s base?

And that is why the media is panicking. The COVID narrative was the basis of Democrat power. DeSantis proved DNC/media scaremongering was smoke and mirrors for a naked power grab through “election fortification.” The combination of no more COVID measures and election integrity laws nationwide spells an end to their shenanigans.

Add to that anti-riot laws, a booming Florida economy that is poaching businesses and people from blue states, open defiance of Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates and the battle against Disney’s support of child sexualization, and you have a near-perfect GOP candidate who has hit every single major social issue while providing a model on how to run a state. And he has accomplished all of this legally, in keeping with American traditions of federalism that have nullified Washington’s overreach.

To top it all off, DeSantis has the ultimate “own-the-libs” card straight from the troll’s manual. Of course I am talking about the founding of DeSantis Air. Dems couldn’t be bothered to go to the border, so DeSantis Air brought the border to them – to Martha’s Vineyard, no less.

Nothing else did more to expose blue-state virtue signaling than giving rich Democrat open-borders advocates a taste of their own medicine. If Biden’s DHS has the power to dump migrants in small Midwestern towns by night, can President DeSantis dial it up to 1,000,000 and start transporting thousands of migrants to Hollywood, Martha’s Vineyard, Kennebunkport or Nantucket? I hear Obama and Dubya have plenty of space.

Ultimately, DeSantis finds himself well-positioned to capture the 2024 nomination if the election is decided on domestic policy (and indications suggest it will). He has had the opportunity to learn from Trump’s mistakes and push back against heavy-handed COVID mandates. Florida, meanwhile, is a shining example of a properly run state – even Donald Trump admitted that by moving there.

There is no telling how DeSantis would govern at the national level. There are major concerns about his connections to the GOP establishment, a potentially more-hawkish foreign policy and a soft-on-immigration attitude. But, if he can effectively leverage his COVID response and attention to cultural issues and keep the hawks at bay, Trumpers may be willing to overlook his relationships with the likes of John Bolton. Then he will be expected to follow through and keep America out of foreign wars, seal the border, restart the economy, bring an end to the COVID farce and dent the Left’s grip on American cultural and political life.

Michele Gama Sosa is an opinion editor for the Daily Caller and a historian by training.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.