In many ways, DeSantis is serving as America’s shadow president.
In the Westminster parliamentary system of government, used in Britain and elsewhere, the opposition forms a shadow cabinet: A group of senior opposition-party members takes responsibility for issues facing various government departments. So there might be a shadow defense minister, who focuses on military issues, and the group might put together a “shadow budget.”
None of these activities has any direct impact on the actual Cabinet; the shadow government has no executive power. But it does provide a contrast to the ruling government and a source of criticism. It also cultivates people with some expertise, ready to take over the various offices when political power shifts.
America doesn’t use this system, but in a very real way we nonetheless have a shadow president in DeSantis. …
He has been doing an excellent job of drawing contrasts between his way and the approach taken by the Biden-Harris administration. …
DeSantis has opposed mandatory masking. .. Democrats, on the other hand, have been all masks, all the time — except when it comes to their own glitzy events, like the Emmys or former President Barack Obama’s birthday party, where the “sophisticated” attending crowd was deemed mask-exempt. (But not the servants.)
DeSantis has moved decisively elsewhere, as when he sent law enforcers from Florida to Texas to help the Lone Star State deal with a Biden-engineered crisis at the Mexican border. That sets up yet another contrast with the current administration, which has been letting that region groan under the weight of many thousands of illegal immigrants.
DeSantis has been antitax, pro-small-business and a strong opponent of defunding law enforcement, all in contrast with his opposition. …
Of course, being governor of Florida isn’t the same as being president of the United States. But DeSantis has been able to show the spirit, and sometimes the substance, of actions that a Republican president might take.
As the 2024 election grows nearer, Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) will no doubt try harder to take DeSantis down. But the more attention they focus on him, the more he will stand as a shadow president, showing Americans what someone else might do in Biden’s place.
A lot younger and without many of the negatives of Trump.