Select Page

DeSantis would be wise to drop out now

DeSantis would be wise to drop out now

This is a commentary that I never thought I would be writing.  As a Republican voter who would prefer to have a GOP standard bearer for 2024 other than President Trump, I initially saw Florida Governor DeSantis as the ideal candidate to do the job.

DeSantis came off of the 2022 election – which was generally understood to be underwhelming for the GOP –as the most successful candidate in America.  He won by record margins over Democrat Charlie Crist – winning in the Democrat strongholds of Miami-Dade, Osceola and Palm Beach counties.  He brought in a Republican red wave across the state.

He had everything going for him – good looks, articulate, beautiful family and seemingly a winning platform.  He was the one candidate who would have – and should have – limited the number of other Republican candidates – a critical necessity to beat Trump.

In past commentaries, I expressed my opinion that DeSantis should get into the race – even as other pundits and journalists were advising otherwise.  He did enter and initially had an instant 20 percent support base – enough to make him a serious challenger to Trump.

Unfortunately, DeSantis lost ground instead of gaining it.  From an initial 20-point deficit, DeSantis fell to a 30 and 40-point deficit.  I do not believe it was Trump’s attacks and pugnacious name-calling that caused DeSantis’ decline.  Rather, it was due to a mishandled campaign from the onset.  If there was a planned strategy, it was not apparent – or it was certainly not a good one.

DeSantis’ first mistake was waffling on the Trump issue.  He attempted the impossible – making a case for replacing Trump while refusing to articulate key differences – refusing to criticize.  He set out wanting to be Trump-lite.  Zeroing in on Trump’s base was a mistake.  He needed to build his own base.

DeSantis could have overcome such early missteps – and he did recognize a problem and change his campaign management team.  It did not improve the situation.  In fact, it is arguable that DeSantis made more serious strategic blunders with the new team in place.

He was spot-on in terms of his general position on issues, but overzealous in the presentation – and the messaging.  His fight to keep sex and gender issues out of the government-run school curriculum was a winning issue, but he got ambushed by the political correctness posse.  Same with the Critical Race Theory controversy.

DeSantis had a golden opportunity to go after Disney’s woke policies and political activism, but he went too far – shifting the political gravitas in Disney’s favor.  Several megadonors expressed their dissatisfaction over the Disney feud by pulling out.

Because of his ill-conceived targeting and execution, DeSantis did not cut into the Trump base, as he seemed to think he could.  He did not coalesce the GOP voters open to someone other than Trump.  He did not gain among the clearly anti-Trump Republican voters.  He did not prevent other challengers from entering the race and dividing up the anti-Trump vote.  Consequently, he is now far behind Trump, and not very far ahead of a number of his challengers.

After the first debate, a couple of challengers – specifically former South Carolina Governor and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy — improved their positions significantly.  DeSantis held on to a no loss/no gain result.

Whether any of the other GOP candidates can beat Trump in the primaries is questionable – and certainly not if they keep dividing up the vote.  Some of the candidates will drop out in the near future.  I think Haley is more likely to benefit the most.  Not DeSantis.

Based on the age of President Biden as an example, DeSantis could run for President in the next seven presidential cycles, up to 2052.

I still believe DeSantis would be a great President – a better officeholder than campaigner.  I just no longer believe that 2024 is his opportunity year.  My advice to DeSantis would be to withdraw and endorse Haley.  That would instantly make her a very formidable candidate.  Should she win — which I believe she would, especially against Biden – DeSantis would be the preemptive candidate for Vice President – and ideally situation for 2032.  Hmmmm.   A Haley/DeSantis ticket.  That should scare the hell out of Biden & Company.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. frank stetson

    DeSantis has cooked himself for some time given his waffling, his extreme right rhetoric, and his actions in Florida where, yes, Mr. Horist, I know they love him still. That will only get worse over time. I mean, come on, his administration’s recommendation for under-65’s to skip the next booster? I mean the SG who falsified data on an earlier vaccine recommendation is actually going to recommend NO, not it’s a choice, but NO. That’s not going to end well. Dumbosantis piled on and stated “florida will not be the CDC’s guinea pig.” Gosh, I wonder what Floridians over 65 will conclude since apparently DeSanctimonious has no issue offering them up for testing unproven drugs….

    In hindsight, perhaps he should of pulled a Time Scott and gone for VP…….he can spend the time learning about international affairs where he looked sophomoric.

    I had said DeSantis is just of better polished and professional Trump. I was wrong. He’s to the right of Trump.

  2. JoeyP

    Let it run and see what happens . . . This is America!

  3. frank stetson

    My latest lament is God’s miraculous sense of humor in our modern day.

    I feel we are not at a turning point like the late 60’s but close and next summer is probably not “the summer of love” and could rival the excitement of the 60’s.

    In the 60’s, I was anti-establishment against many institutions, the FBI being top of list. Grew my hair, wore funny clothes, broke many a cultural norm. Today, I think I am part of the establishment elite supporting institutions like the FBI. I did not change. What happened? Now my hair is short-ish (but I still have it!), my clothes are LL Bean, and I am rooting for the FBI to arrest the protestors…..

    The only similarity is that the Republican Party is still scarred shitless about elections to the point of cheating like Nixon, like Trump, and still getting BUSTED for it. Pretty funny God, but not quite a belly roll.

    God has a miraculous sense of humor.

  4. mike f

    Larry, I agree with the premise of your article-DeSantis is going to come across as a loser if he stays in the race, and will not be a viable candidate in the future, however your reasoning for his decline is flat out wrong. On the campaign trail, he has shown himself to be devoid of personality. His far right handling of Florida has been greeted with disdain across the country-I realize you live in a bubble where you can probably not see that, but is certainly the case. Most of us do not want to live under the kinds of government control that DeSantis has shown he favors as governor. His battle with DIsney is stupid (as well as illegal) and has (and will continue to cost) Florida millions of dollars that have literally been thrown away for no purpose other than for DeSantis to make a name for himself in conservative circles. He was re-elected in Florida for essentially one reason-he opposed the Covid shutdowns, and that allowed Florida to recover from the pandemic more quickly than other places. However, now Florida is facing more problems than other states with their high inflation rate and the difficulty (and expense) of obtaining insurance. It is highly doubtful that he would be able to duplicate the 2022 election at this point in time So yes, your initial choice for Republican Presidential Candidate is a failure, but not for the reasons that you laid out….

  5. frank stetson

    “He had everything going for him – good looks, articulate, beautiful family and seemingly a winning platform.” Am I on the same planet as Horist? Of course the answer is NO. DeSantimoniousz may have attacked Disney over ear envy —- Mickey’s were a tad larger….defines teacup ears. Articulate? Here’s an entire FOX article mocking his delivery:

    As I said from the beginning, DeSantis has all the boxes checked off, military, good education at leftist schools, teacher, family man, tour in Congress, tour in Iraq. Unfortunately he helped found The Freedom Caucus and continues down that path not attempting to secure my vote whatsoever. I was hopeful, had said as much, but after Disney —- the world is much bigger than Ron DeSantis. He offers nothing to me and much that seems harmful.

    For starters, he would eliminate four federal agencies if he were elected president: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, and Department of Education. No ideas on alternatives. He vows to destroy woke ideologies. OK, I can take a discussion, debate, but if it’s about retribution and destruction, you can count me out. I have seen his attack style and it can be physical. Not voting for that.

    Beautiful family — maybe, never saw them. Wining platform? It’s worse than Trump’s and targets me and mine worse than Trump’s. Frankly he seems awkward in public, worse in small numbers, and his showcasing like the hurricane reports were shamefully flag festooned and backed up by a platoon of guys in fatigues who could have been busy providing relief to the Florida citizens who pay them versus this DeSantis guy the militia directly reports to.

    But Horist who will not vote for Trump in the primary now needs to pick another, and he did not commit. Uh oh, is Donnie boy getting the Horist primary bid now? No word direct from the Horist’s mouth yet.

    Yes, not his year, yes, they all should quit or at least all but one or two. For the good of the nation, the good of the party. I think running on dependence that Trump will be locked up or you will get the VP slot is looking sillier every day. He will not be locked up in time for them. DeSantis may still get the VP slot, doubtful, but Trump has “made up” with worse.

    And yes, like Newsom, he should wait, although not sure that the clock in Florida is not running out. In the boom or bust pattern, Florida has been in boom for quite a while, housing is expensive, insurance more so, covid numbers were not good and current strategy is risky and way out there on point. There are many sinkholes in Florida. He has had pretty good news but storm clouds are forming. Speaking of Newsom, it appears he’s ready to go in the debate but Ron is missing….. So goodbye national-Ron, hello Florida.
    So, goodbye Ron, catch you on the flip side.