The results solidified many expectations that DeSantis would run for president in 2024, a situation that is already causing tension with another Florida Republican, former President Donald Trump. And for some Democrats, the double-digit victories Tuesday saw not only DeSantis but Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio firmly end the chapter in which the state could be seen as a swing state.
The midterm vote was closely watched abroad, with European allies in particular heaving a sigh of relief that the more incendiary Trump-aligned Republicans had a relatively poor showing. In a statement reported by my colleagues, German politician Reinhard Bütikofer wrote approvingly that “the pessimistic assumption that Donald Trump would be president of the United States again in 2024 has become a little more unrealistic.”
But Tuesday’s results opened up another possibility: President DeSantis. What would this mean for the world? In some ways, this may seem more palatable to many than Trump or another Trumpian alternative. But DeSantis would also be the first US president born in Florida, and if Democrats relinquish the Sunshine State to Republicans, the broader impact on US foreign policy could be significant.
Here are three things to keep in mind:
DeSantis is not Trump. He may not always act like it, but DeSantis’ resume is more of a run-of-the-mill Republican official than the bombastic businessman-turned-politician incendiary Trump.
In some ways, DeSantis’ background makes him seem closer to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose more interventionist leanings have sometimes been at odds with Trump.
Despite a relatively humble upbringing, DeSantis went from Jacksonville to Yale, before moving on to Harvard Law School. He went on to work as an attorney for the US Navy, serving at Guantanamo Bay and deploying to Iraq. When he returned, he served as a federal prosecutor before winning two terms in the House.
It’s a pretty typical career for an American politician. As a reflection of this, DeSantis has focused heavily on domestic policy in the House and later as governor, but most of what he has said about foreign policy fits well within preexisting norms, rather than of Trump’s often ad hoc style.
DeSantis has condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and criticized President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. It is also staunchly opposed to traditional US enemies like Iran, mostly by opposing it the nuclear agreement with this countryas well as newer rivals such as China, and has pledged to be “America’s most pro-Israel governor.“
Weaker-than-expected GOP results calm nerves in Europe, for now
However, he is a Florida man. Unlike Trump, who was born rich in New York City and only became a resident late, DeSantis is a true Florida man. And to some extent, he lives up to the reputation, particularly by paying more attention to foreign issues close to many Floridians: including Cuba, Venezuela, colombia and Haiti.
He claims he is not a fan of rules and big government. Florida’s governor first gained real national attention when he pushed a controversial laissez-faire approach to covid-19. That approach put DeSantis at odds with the World Health Organization’s guidelines, though it was not as combative as Trump’s move to remove the United States from that body. (Most accounts of Florida’s time during the pandemic suggest that DeSantis’ policies were neither the success he made them out to be nor the disaster his critics feared.)
Unlike Trump, who still has his reputation as a negotiator, DeSantis can be more rigid and less open to persuasion. Profiles have repeatedly suggested that he has little of the personal charm or interest in social roles that many politicians have. Any world leader who seeks a bromance with this man may end up with the cold shoulder.
DeSantis is happy to use brazen rhetoric and even cruel stunts to get his point across. He has moved Venetian migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in a bid to own liberals and fought with Disney over gay rights, breaking with Republican orthodoxy to complain about corporate power. He has said France would withdraw if Russia invaded and sided with Elon Musk over Ukrainian leaders after the US billionaire suggested Kyiv should negotiate a peace deal with Russia.
And while DeSantis appears to have accepted the reality of the likely impact of climate change on Florida, he has preferred to devote money to climate adaptation instead of working to mitigate the problem.
As one critic recently put it, his plan has been to “Hand out huge contracts to fix impacts on expensive waterfront properties, essentially ignoring everything and everyone else.” If the United States commits to this approach, it could affect the entire world.
What the midterm results mean for Trump, DeSantis and the 2024 election
What if Democrats give up on Florida voters? If DeSantis is on the ballot in the 2024 presidential race, he is likely to carry the state, long considered a toss-up, easily. Democrats, already skeptical about their chances in the state, may consider it a lost cause.
This could have important implications. 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 vying for votes in the state.
But some believe Democrats have already begun to make headway. Certainly, it appears that Biden’s foreign policy is far from binding on Florida’s Latino voters. His administration has eased sanctions on Venezuela, eased restrictions on Cuba and removed the Colombian rebel group FARC from a list of foreign terrorist organizations.
On Tuesday, the same day as the US vote, climate envoy John F. Kerry held a brief meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro at the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt. While U.S. officials played down the interaction, it comes at an interesting time: The Biden administration has eased sanctions related to Venezuela’s huge oil reserves as energy prices rose amid the war in Ukraine and tensions with Saudi Arabia, the giant of the oil market, increased further. the market.