Wednesday (November 9th): DeSantis shines in Florida

Department of Defense – Army Staff Sgt. Nicole Mejia (CC BY 2.0)

Name? Ron DeSantis

Westphalian identity? US American

Age? 44

Why is he in the news? Incumbent Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida won reelection in the midterms elections that took place yesterday. DeSantis blew out his Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist, beating him by almost 20 percentage points, in a historic battleground state between Republicans and Democrats. The past record had been held by Jeb Bush, with only a 12,8% margin win in 2002. 

Why do we care? DeSantis’ win and increasing popularity bolsters his confidence for a hopeful presidential run in 2024. He has also been playing in foreign policy, signing an executive action he claims will ‘curtail threats’ from China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Russia, Syria and Venezuela by banning foreign land purchases or signing state contracts with foreign firms. Destantis’ arbitrary stance on Ukraine and counter to US adversaries do not suggest an unorthodox Republican foreign policy position. 

Why should you care? DeSantis is a polarising figure in American politics, due to his use of shock-politics, like sending a plane of migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. However, unless you are a reader from the United States, this news will not do much for you given that the 2024 presidential elections are still two years away. Until then, anything can happen. You should care 3/10 about his win. 

Who else cares? President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, along with other European allies, is cautious of the current erraticism of US allyship. Joe Biden has been steadfast in his cooperation regarding the war in Ukraine, ensuring European security and encouraging multilateralism through NATO. Still, the concern over a possible Republican foreign policy only bolsters the EU resolve to gain ‘strategic independence’ from the US. 

Any further comments?  Former President Donald Trump will likely run in 2024, and the midterms were a thermometer for his support. However, many Trump-backed Republicans underperformed in their elections, opening the way for newcomer DeSantis.

Michael Duffy

Research & Analysis Member