The results have cemented many expectations that DeSantis would run for president in 2024 — a situation that is already causing tension with another Floridian Republican, former President Donald Trump. And for some Democrats, the double-digit wins that saw not only DeSantis but also Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday have finally ended the chapter in which the state can be seen as a swing state.
The midterm vote was closely watched abroad, with European allies in particular breathing a sigh of relief that the more incendiary, Trump-aligned Republicans were relatively poorly represented. In a statement from my colleagues, German politician Reinhard Bütikofer wrote approvingly that “the pessimistic assumption that Donald Trump would become US president again in 2024 has become a little more unrealistic.”
But the results on Tuesday opened up another possibility: President DeSantis. What would that mean for the world? In some ways, that may seem tastier to many than Trump or any other Trumpian alternative. But DeSantis would also be the United States’ first Florida-born president — and if the Democrats cede the Sunshine State to the Republicans, the broader impact on US foreign policy could be significant.
Here are three things to consider:
DeSantis is not Trump. He may not always act like this, but DeSantis’ resume is more of a run-of-the-mill Republican official than the bombastic businessman turned political arsonist Trump.
In some ways, DeSantis’ background makes him more like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose more interventionist leanings were at times at odds with Trump.
Despite a relatively modest upbringing, DeSantis went from Jacksonville to Yale, before attending Harvard Law School. He went on to work as a lawyer for the US Navy, served at the Guantanamo Bay base and was deployed to Iraq. When he returned, he served as a federal prosecutor before winning two terms in the House.
It’s a pretty typical career path for an American politician. As a result, DeSantis has largely focused on domestic policy in the House and later as governor, but most of what he has said about foreign policy fits well with pre-existing norms, rather than Trump’s often ad hoc style.
DeSantis has condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and was critical of President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. He is also vehemently opposed to traditional American enemies such as Iran, especially to the nuclear deal with that countryas well as newer rivals such as China, and has promised to “the most pro-Israel governor in America.”
Weaker-than-expected GOP results calm Europe’s nerves – for now
However, he is a Florida man. Unlike Trump, who was born wealthy in New York City and a late resident, DeSantis is a real Florida man. And to some extent, he lives up to his reputation, especially paying extra attention to foreign issues close to many Floridians: including Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia and Haiti.
He claims not to be a fan of rules and big government. The Florida governor first gained real national attention when he pushed a controversial laissez-faire approach to covid-19. That approach put DeSantis at odds with World Health Organization guidelines, even if it wasn’t as combative as Trump’s move to get the United States out of that body. (Most accounts of Florida’s time during the pandemic suggest that DeSantis’ policies were not the success he portrayed them, nor the disaster his critics feared).
Unlike Trump — who still has his reputation as a dealmaker at heart — DeSantis may be more rigid and less open to persuasion. Profiles have repeatedly suggested that he has little of the personal charm or interest in social functions that many politicians have. Any world leaders who want to bond with this man could get a cold shoulder.
DeSantis likes to use brash rhetoric and even cruel stunts to make his point. He has flown Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in a bid to possess liberals and has fought with Disney over gay rights — breaking with Republican orthodoxy to complain about corporate power. He has said France would stop if Russia invaded Elon Musk and sided with Ukraine’s leaders after the US billionaire suggested Kiev should negotiate a peace deal with Russia.
And while DeSantis seems to have accepted the reality of climate change’s likely impact on Florida, he has preferred to spend money on climate adaptation rather than working to actually mitigate the problem.
As one critic recently said, his plan was “to hand out major contracts to patch up the consequences for expensive waterfront properties, while essentially ignoring everything and everyone.” If the United States takes that approach, it could have repercussions around the world.
What the midterm results mean for Trump, DeSantis and the 2024 election
What Happens When Democrats Give Up Florida Voters? If DeSantis is on the ballot in the 2024 presidential race, he will likely carry the state with ease — long considered a toss-up. Democrats, already skeptical of their chances in the state, may view it as a lost cause.
That can have major consequences. Many of Florida’s large Latino population have fled extreme or socialist regimes in places like Cuba and Venezuela, which has influenced the policies of both Republicans and Democrats competing for votes in the state.
But some believe the Democrats have already started moving forward. It certainly seems that Biden’s foreign policy is far from obligatory on Florida’s Latino voters. His government has eased sanctions against Venezuela, relaxed restrictions on Cuba and removed Colombian rebel group FARC from a list of foreign terrorist organizations.
On Tuesday, the same day that the United States voted, climate envoy John F. Kerry briefly met Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro at the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt. Though US officials downplayed the interaction, it comes at an interesting moment: The Biden administration has eased sanctions on Venezuela’s vast oil reserves, as energy prices soared during the war in Ukraine and tensions with Saudi Arabia, the oil market giant. , increased further. the market.