Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Enters Crowded 2024 Presidential Race Amid Technical Glitches and Struggles to Gain Foothold with Republican Voters

On May 24, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his 2024 presidential campaign on Twitter, but the event was marred by technical glitches.[0] DeSantis joins four other declared candidates, including former President Donald Trump, former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.[1] Another run for the presidential nomination is on the horizon for Chris Christie, a previous governor of New Jersey, while Virginia’s governor, Glenn Youngkin, is giving a second thought to his withdrawal from the race.[1] North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is also reportedly likely to enter the race on June 7.[2] Despite polling in the GOP primary moving decisively toward Trump, DeSantis is considered a formidable challenger due to his massive war chest and rock-solid conservative governing record. However, he has struggled to gain a foothold with Republican voters, and as of May 25, he is far behind Trump in nearly every major poll of the national Republican primary electorate.[1]

DeSantis kicked off his campaign in a conversation on a glitchy Twitter Spaces with Elon Musk and tech entrepreneur David Sacks.[3] During his introductory speech, he emphasized his chances of being elected and his capacity to execute a policy agenda that might not seem drastically distinct from that of former President Donald Trump.[3] DeSantis’ pitch to Florida-ize the rest of the country relies on pushing the envelope on the use of executive power, which he said he would exercise from day one by wielding Article 2 power to discipline the bureaucracy.[2] He also said he would fire FBI director Chris Wray on day one and made the point that his new FBI director and attorney general would not operate independently, but more as functionaries of the president.[2] This centralization of power, enabled by acquiescent state courts and the legislature, is precisely how he’s run Florida.[2]

While many Republican elites would prefer to have someone other than Trump at the top of the ticket, they are having a hard time finding a single alternative candidate to challenge the former president.[1] Although originally meant to take on the role, DeSantis has faced difficulty in winning over Republican voters and has displayed a lack of understanding towards the complexities of national politics. Trump regards DeSantis as his principal rival for the Republican nomination in 2024, but for those in the party who crave an alternative to the disgraced former president, it fueled disquiet about his putative rival’s big match temperament and encouraged them to seek other options. Although DeSantis is not being dismissed, his entry into the race is marked by weakness and a large, disorganized group of inferior candidates that Trump presently controls.[4]

In conclusion, with the announcement of his 2024 presidential campaign, Ron DeSantis joins a crowded field of Republican candidates that includes former President Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, Asa Hutchinson, Vivek Ramaswamy, and potentially Chris Christie, Glenn Youngkin, and Doug Burgum. Despite having a massive war chest and a rock-solid conservative governing record, DeSantis has struggled to gain a foothold with Republican voters and has shown a tin ear for the challenges of national politics. While he is regarded as a formidable challenger to Trump, polling in the GOP primary has moved decisively toward the former president in recent months.[5] DeSantis’ pitch to Florida-ize the rest of the country relies on pushing the envelope on the use of executive power, which he said he would exercise from day one by wielding Article 2 power to discipline the bureaucracy.[2] However, this centralization of power has fueled disquiet among those in the party who crave an alternative to Trump.

0. “5 Takeaways From DeSantis’s 2024 Announcement With Elon Musk” New York Magazine, 26 May. 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/05/5-takeaways-from-desantiss-2024-announcement-with-elon-musk.html

1. “Opinion | Trump Must Be Pleased With the Way the Republican Race Is Shaping Up” The New York Times, 27 May. 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/27/opinion/republican-trump-desantis-2024.html

2. “Ron DeSantis 2024: This guy’s supposed to be the “sane” Republican candidate?” Slate, 27 May. 2023, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2023/05/the-surge-ron-desantis-trump-tim-scott-gop-presidential-candidates-2024.html

3. “Politics Podcast: The Case For And Against Ron DeSantis” FiveThirtyEight, 25 May. 2023, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/politics-podcast-the-case-for-and-against-ron-desantis/

4. “DeSantis’s limp start to 2024 race delights Trump but battle is not over” The Guardian US, 27 May. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/may/27/desantis-trump-2024-campaigns

5. “Opinion: Trump has good reason to fear DeSantis” CNN, 24 May. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/24/opinions/2024-presidential-election-desantis-trump-jennings/index.html

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