Is the world ready for ‘President DeSantis’ and a Floridian foreign policy?


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A disappointing night for most Republicans turned into a very good night for one Floridian. Gov. Ron DeSantis not only won a second term in Tuesday’s midterm elections, but he did so by a wide margin — even winning in Miami-Dade County, the first time a Republican has captured that largely urban electorate in two decades. .

The results cemented 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 wins not only by DeSantis but also by Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday firmly ended a chapter where 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 fiery Trump-aligned Republicans fared relatively poorly. In a statement published by my colleagues, German politician Reinhard Buttikofer wrote approvingly that “the pessimistic assumption that Donald Trump will again become president of the United States in 2024 has become a little more unrealistic.”

But Tuesday’s results opened up another possibility: President De Santis. What would that mean for the world? In some ways, that may seem more palatable to many than Trump or another Trump alternative. But DeSantis would also be the first president of the United States born in Florida — and if Democrats cede the Sunshine State to Republicans, the broader impact on U.S. foreign policy could be significant.

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Here are three things to consider:

DeSantis is not Trump. He may not always act like it, but DeSantis’ resume is more Republican public servant in charge than bombastic-businessman-turned-political-arsonist Trump.

In some ways, DeSantis’ background makes him seem closer to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose more interventionist leanings have at times been at odds with Trump.

Despite a relatively modest upbringing, DeSantis went from Jacksonville to Yale, before going on to Harvard Law School. He went on to work as a lawyer 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.

That’s a pretty typical career path for an American politician. Reflecting that, DeSantis focused heavily on domestic policy in the House and later as governor, but most of what he said about foreign policy fit well within pre-existing norms, rather than Trump’s often ad hoc style .

DeSantis condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and criticized President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. He also strongly opposes traditional US enemies like Iran, particularly against the nuclear agreement with that countryas well as new rivals such as China, and promised to be “the most pro-Israel governor in America.

The Republican Party’s weaker-than-expected results are calming Europe’s nerves – for now

He’s a Florida guy though. Unlike Trump, who was born rich in New York and only belatedly became a resident, DeSantis is a true Florida man. And to some extent, he lives up to the reputation, particularly by paying extra attention to foreign issues close to many Floridians: Including Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia and Haiti.

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He claims that he is not a fan of rules and big government. Florida’s governor first gained real national attention when he pushed for 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 withdraw the United States from the body. (Most accounts of Florida’s time during the pandemic suggest that DeSantis’ policies were neither the success he portrayed nor the disaster his critics feared.)

Unlike Trump — who still has his reputation as a dealmaker — DeSantis can be more rigid and less open to persuasion. Profiles consistently suggest that he has little of the personal charm or interest in social functions that many politicians have. Any world leaders who would seek bromance with this man may end up getting the cold shoulder.

DeSantis is happy to use brash rhetoric and even crude stunts to make his point. He ferried Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in an effort to own liberals and fought Disney over gay rights — breaking with Republican orthodoxy to appeal to corporate power. He said France would fold 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 advocated throwing money at climate adaptation instead of working to actually mitigate the problem.

As one critic recently put it, his plan is to “Hand out big contracts to fix impacts on expensive waterfront property while ignoring essentially everything, and everyone, else.” If the United States goes along with that approach, it could have ramifications all over the world.

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What the midterm results mean for Trump, DeSantis and the 2024 election

What happens if Democrats give up on Florida voters? If DeSantis is on the ballot in the 2024 presidential race, he will likely carry the state — long considered a toss-up — easily. Democrats, already skeptical of their chances in the state, may consider it a lost cause.

That could have big implications. Many of Florida’s large Latino population have fled extreme or socialist regimes in places like Cuba and Venezuela, influencing the policies of both Republicans and Democrats vying for votes in the state.

But some believe Democrats have already begun to move on. Certainly, it seems that Biden’s foreign policy is far from resonating with Florida’s Latino voters. His administration eased sanctions on Venezuela, eased restrictions on Cuba and removed the Colombian rebel group FARC from the list of foreign terrorist organizations.

On Tuesday, the same day as the vote in the United States, climate representative John F. Kerry had a brief meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt. Although U.S. officials have played down the interaction, it comes at an interesting time: The Biden administration has been easing sanctions related to Venezuela’s vast oil reserves as energy prices have risen amid the war in Ukraine and tensions with oil giant Saudi Arabia have further soured. . the market.


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