The Ron DeSantis challenge

The Ron DeSantis challenge. By the WSJ Editorial Board.

Mr. DeSantis’s record is undeniably conservative, and some critics fear it may be too far right to win a national election. Mr. Trump seems to think so as he is attacking the Governor from the left on Social Security, abortion for Florida’s six-week ban, and the fight over Disney’s special Florida privileges.

But Mr. DeSantis won re-election in 2022 by 19 points in a state that has traditionally been a nail-biter. He won Hispanic counties and others that traditionally vote Democratic. Mr. Trump hasn’t won anything for himself or the rest of his party since his inside electoral straight in 2016.

A more serious concern for many is Mr. DeSantis’s fence-straddling on Ukraine and Russia. He indulged a former Fox News host by calling the war a “territorial dispute,” [which is obviously true, though not the whole truth] though he later said the phrase was misunderstood. …

The other rap against Mr. DeSantis is that he’s a cultural brawler more than a likeable unifier. There’s truth to this. He’s no backslapper, and he’d benefit from even a little of Ronald Reagan’s self-deprecating humour. The best candidates for President campaign with some poetry and optimism as well as policy grit and personal toughness.

The Governor will also need a larger vision for America beyond his Florida success — not least how he’d lift the economy out of stagflation and the country out of its angry divisions. Mr. Biden promised to do the latter but has made his Presidency hostage to the Bernie Sanders left.

Mr. Trump is promising a politics of “retribution,” which means four more years of national trench warfare.

Mr. Biden’s failures mean there’s an opportunity for Republicans to offer voters a better vision of national renewal. The country needs it, Americans want it, and the opening is there if a GOP candidate can seize the moment.

USA 2024 is round 2 of Woke versus Western civilization.

Round 1 was in 2020. Woke won, so we got this: