Select Page

Does DeSantis have a political future?

Does DeSantis have a political future?

If he were to run for President at the age of Presidents Biden and Trump, DeSantis could conceivably be on the ballot in 2060 at that age of 80.

If you think a late-life comeback is not an option, think Biden – who first ran for President in 1988 – 36 years ago.  He made another attempt in 2008.  However, he was able to do that because he remained a national figure as a senator and a Vice President.  If DeSantis is to be a viable candidate in the future there are three things he needs – a national platform (meaning a place to stand), a platform (meaning a number of issues to which he can be identified) and a political strategy.

National Platform

In terms of a platform, where does DeSantis go next?  He will end his second term as governor in 2026 – and he cannot be reelected because Florida has term limits. 

DeSantis cannot shift to the Senate, as did former Republican Governor and now-Senator Rick Scott.  Scott is likely to be reelected in 2024, which means that seat will not open up before 2030 – if even then.  Republican Senator Marco Rubio holds the other seat.  He does not face reelection until 2028 – and he is young enough to serve several more terms.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, DeSantis has no chance at a Senate seat UNLESS … he moves to another state.  That seems unlikely, but not unheard of.  Bobby Kennedy left the ancestral home in Massachusetts to become the Senator from New York.  Hillary Clinton also moved into New York to take the Senate seat.  Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney moved to Utah to become a Senator – after losing a presidential election.

To do that, DeSantis would have to pull up stakes fairly quickly.  And to which ruby red state would he go?   Someplace like South Dakota or closer to home like one of the Carolinas?  Any number of options.

DeSantis could always go back to the House, where he served three terms as congressman.  That could be seen as a step down, but it would keep him in the national spotlight.  He would most assuredly be one of the most prominent members of the House.  Stepping down has been done before.  John Adams returned to the House after serving as President – but it was more post-retirement rather than a future stepping stone.

There is always the possibility of a Cabinet position if President Trump wins reelection – with a shot at the 2028 GOP nomination.  As long as he does not get churned up in the vortex that surrounds Trump.

Issue Platform

Part of DeSantis’ problem is finding HIS issues. He has two challenges; (1) clearly establish his policy positions for the future and (2) addressing the issues that brought down his presidential campaign.

DeSantis needs to be the spokesperson for a small number of issues that he wants to push – as opposed to being someone you merely respond to whatever issues pop up – or whatever he is asked about.  One of his problems in the recent presidential campaign was as seeming eclectic array of issues.  He also took up issues he would have been better to leave alone.

If I were advising DeSantis, I would suggest he stick to foundational conservative people-oriented issues – such as school choice, tax reform, cheap energy, credit reform.  He should campaign for a strong military and American world leadership.

Political Strategy

Keep in mind that DeSantis won the most impressive election victory in 2022.   It was the biggest victory of any governor in America.  In terms of Florida, DeSantis moves the partisan needle to the GOP with unprecedented victories in such Democrat strongholds as Broward and Palm Beach counties.  His coattails produced a sweep of statewide offices and brought in a lot of down ticket Republican candidates. 

DeSantis entered the presidential race very strong – and quickly raised lots of money.  He initially garnered more than 20 percent of the potential vote.  Not bad for a guy lacking a national reputation.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be the highpoint of his campaign.  He was pretty much written off by the electorate long before he finally folded his tent.

His downfall was due primarily to two miscalculations.  He embraced the wrong strategy to run against Trump and he took up some fights he should not have – and he compounded his problem by handling them badly. With both Disney and the school boards, he was right on the fundamental issues, but wrong in how he managed them.

The most common criticism of DeSantis was that he was not ready for primetime.  And that is as good an explanation for his failure to gain ground as anything.

Arguably, DeSantis’ major strategic error was in dealing with Trump.  He seemed unwilling to criticize Trump at the onset – under a belief that he needed and could get some of Trump’s MAGA base.  What he never did was make the essential difference between him and Trump.  Being Trump-lite was a mistake.  Votes are inclined to stick with the real thing rather than switch to a person almost like their favorite candidate. 

DeSantis needed to give voters a compelling reason – a distinction – why they should vote for him over Trump.  He did not have to go after Trump like a rabid Pitbull, but he did have to convince voters that nominating him – and later electing him President – was a better option than Trump. DeSantis never made that case.

DeSantis could also do a little work on his communication skills. He is not bad, but he is not great, either.  A little platform and media training would help.  He – like a lot of Republicans these days – needs to learn how to communicate effectively – both in style and content.

Most of the issues and mistakes that took the wind out of his political sail will be forgiven – and more likely forgotten – in the future. He has every opportunity to burnish his image.   Public communication is a discipline – and not the same as shooting off your mouth in bar after a couple drinks.

Although not his last, DeSantis’ next best opportunity to run for President is in 2028.  That is more than enough time to recast himself.  His immediate question is how he remains in the public – backburner, perhaps, but on the range.

DeSantis can use a bit of a hiatus to plan his comeback — the new and improved DeSantis.  Unlike Nixon’s premature claim after his defeat in the California gubernatorial race in 1962 that there would be no Nixon to kick around in the future, DeSantis will be around if he can find his political footing.  He just needs to rise to the level of his potential.

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.

20 Comments

  1. AC

    DeSantis is your state’s governor and a republican in a red-state, it’s natural that your opinion would coddle him when his chips are down.
    Deciding to take to the national political stage and attempt another run for the presidency is to far above his pay grade now, four years from now, and future election season. He is a light weight state level politician with an outsized ego. He won big in Florida, surprising himself and his supporters. That momentum was a one off. His big win for state governor happened because the GOP,s machine turned out the vote with massive funding from national party’s war chest. Democrat leadership in the counties you mention got steamrolled as the GOP has all the marbles. . DeSantis won on the green- back millions given by republican donners nation wide, who knew not for whom their cash got spent.
    DeSantis’s one policy to which he made claim and anti-woke is its name. Additionally, Republicans seeking the GOP nomination had better have a thick skin and media ready for a fight. Trump, at present has his peculiarly sick hold on the Party by its neck. AS much as the honest and realistic faction of the red-team does not want him front and center in control. Trump is there, until he isn’t, when the last shoe drops.

  2. Mike f

    While desantis may have some sort of a future in a very red state (mainly because stupidity is an enhancement for elected Republican officials), he can forget the national stage (and probably florida as well). He did well in his reelection mainly because he did not impose many Covid restrictions on the state, and Floridians were willing to accept a somewhat higher death rate due to that. Since then, his ignorance has been on full display, with his embrace of government control of corporate speech, restrictions on free speech in schools and virtual elimination of abortion options (ie control over women). In addition we have his ignorant comment about slavery being a benefit because slaves learned a trade (may play well with the white supremacists in your party but not the rest of us). Those actions will not readily be forgotten at the national level…

  3. Darren

    Well Mike , I have to say , I feel DeSantis is not ready for the presidency as well. Not so much for
    what he says or has not said, but he does not have the political backing needed.
    As for any remark about Republicans, I am not so different minded in thinking.
    For this reason Trump should have never ran on the Republican ticket.
    He is above EVERY DEMOCRAT AND REPUBLICAN ever running for the office.
    Trump is running to ACTUALLY MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.
    What the Hell is Biden in the White House for, or any democrat in congress?
    They are ALL on the take and use the office to obtain wealth, not for you or me, but for them selves!
    Mitch is no different on the republican side.
    They all milk their office for personal Gain and say the Hell with the rest of us.
    Pelosi, Schumer, they are all pieces of crap that do not care about the American people unless it
    shoves money in their pockets as it has done the last 3 years.
    Trump has been the ONLY president in my life time who actually cared about YOU and American interests and not his personal gain.
    For the reason of personal gain we have a forgetting old jackass in the oval office, and ONLY ASS HOLES voted for him with out
    enough intelligence to see through the Sharad.
    There is NOTHING DEMORRATES can say to help what all Americans can see is taking place behind the curtain the democrat’s have amassed.
    With all this said, I never lived in NEW YORK, maybe he was a real ass hole to the people there. I do not know.
    But letting that interfere with what is best for this country is very short sighted.

    • Mike F

      Darren, Actually you seem to be ignoring what Trump actually did while in office. The only accomplishment that he had was passing a massive tax cut, which mainly benefited the rich (himself to be specific-his investments were specifically targeted). The measly reduction in taxes that went to less rich people are due to expire in 2025, not so for the tax reductions for the wealthy and corporations. Outside of this, he accomplished none of his campaign goals, the economy that you saw prior to Covid was merely an extension of what had been happening since Obama led us out of the great recession. Had Obama not had the ignorant republicans in Congress to fight after 2010, he would have done basically what Biden has done, which is to invest in the people who actually work to make the country great, as opposed to those who push dollars around. And then there is the simple fact that Trump has the lowest IQ of any person to sit behind the resolute desk-which I didn’t think was possible after W….

      • larry Horist

        Mike f … you are addicted to leftwing fair tales (propaganda). Trump’s IQ is in the 156 range — the genius range. George W is in the 140s — a bit higher than average. You may have been misled by a report that had Trump’s IQ at 73, but that was proven to be a fabricated hoax. John Quincy Adams tops the presidents with a 169. Jefferson and Trump have almost identical IQs. To figure. Of course, anyone with an IQ higher than a hockey score would know that IQ does not measure success … effectiveness … or honesty. It is not even a good judge of acquired knowledge. Even you might have a high IQ. Go figure.

        • Mike f

          Larry, You spout bullshit like it is lemonade. Who told you trump had an IQ of 156, W 140? Because I hate to break this to you, but they were lying to you. Trump is by far the most ignorant person ever to sit in the Oval Office-he can’t even put three sentences together that make sense let alone write anything. It is pretty well know that the only reason he got into Wharton was due to his older brother’s influence. Glad you didn’t attempt to refute the facts I made about his actions in office versus what he promised-at least you don’t sound like a total ignoramus (there, I got it right, so I don’t sound childish in your view).

          • larry Horist

            Mike f … Actually, I checked a number of sources since those stats are hard to document. My several sources seem to agree on those numbers. If anyone is lying, it is you. I have written several times about Trump’s actions in office … some good, some not so good. Even Frank concedes that Trump had some wins. I cannot keep refreshing your memory. Sorry. No cigar. You did NOT get it right. The cheap shot insults — with less vulgar words — are still childish.

          • Mike F

            Larry, Back when I was in school, we took a course called logic. Anybody who has listened to trump knows he is not a ‘genius’ despite what he says about himself. An IQ of 156 would put him well into the genius category. Now, anybody who has ever listened to trump knows he likes to brag, and if he possibly has facts to back up his boasts, he will present them. Has he ever presented backup for his claims of being a genius, a good student, a successful business person, really rich? No is the answer. Now a logical person realizes that the reason no facts have been provided is simply because there are no facts to base his statements on-total braggadocio. You are not that person. Your positions are totally based on emotion rather than logic and facts-which is why you vote Republican This brings me back to your statements on IQ-total BS, but I think you might finally be successful with one of your endeavors if you went on late-night TV-their audiences love laughing at people that say ridiculous stuff…

        • Mike f

          Larry, I can’t believe that you are using the National enquirer for the source on trumps IQ-you really should be more careful with your sourcing, or do you not really understand what is an ‘intelligence quotient’? It is not how many cheese burgers trump can eat in a day/that is the only way he gets close to 156. When you make foolish statements like this, first people laugh and point, then the rest of say “he’s really off his rocker”, something I’ve been saying for years…

          • larry Horist

            Mike f … You never run out of bullsh&t. When you do not have an intelligent response, you just make stuff up. Sorry, the National Enquirer was not among my sources. In fact, i did not even know it still existed. I would say that it is YOU how have no idea what an IQ measurement is — and what it means. You comments show a lack of knowledge of the subject possibly based on a lower than average IQ.

      • Frank stetson

        MF – nafta, middle east accord, oil, there’s a few. Even a broken clock……

        The tax cuts, while benefiting the rich more did not bring Trump’s gdp growth needed to pay it off so tax revenues cratered meaning we all took a Yuge Trump loan our kids will pay. Even worse by far than you portrayed. He kicked the can into outer space.

  4. Bob

    DeSantis made a huge blunder when he decided to run for President. Had he backed Trump, he probably would have been the Vice-Presidential candidate and a shoo-in for the 2028 nomination. There has been some discussion about the President and Vice President not being able to be from the same State, but by past experience, this seems to carry no weight. Trump is one of the few Presidents in my lifetime (85 years) to be a “for the people” President. After many efforts by the “Big State” to get him out of office because he was not part of the establishment, he prevailed, leaving the office worth financially less than when he was elected. Compare that to Barry Soetoro who came in with less than $1,000,000 in assets and retired worth more than $12,000,000. Don’t tell me he made it all on book deals. BTW, I also admired Harry Truman who made a huge move to end WW2 and drove his own car back to Missouri after he left office.

    • larry Horist

      Bob … You make a good point. It is arguable that DeSantis would have been better of had he not run. Unfortunately, at the time he decided to run, it appeared that Trump would not have a chance. Trump’s power among voters was a surprise to many and a shock to some.

  5. jboo7

    I keep suggesting De Santis as VP – and from hence to 2 X President!
    He would be a good Trump co-worker, and a good chance for continuation of sensible politics..

  6. AC

    Donald Trump becoming POTUS the first time was an American enigma. He won on a technicality not popularity
    His second attempt he lost both technically and popularly.
    Trumps third run for Commander and Chief has yet to be determined. But, his legal cases increase as time goes by. His star in history has tons of DOJ weight tied to it. He’s not the proverbial phoenix at his core.
    DeSantis has not a chance. For him, it’s not complicated. He has no political horsepower for starters and no popular lift to sustain what little voter share his campaign attracted.
    If Trump did not have the MAGA Big Lie conspiracy theory for a policy, he would not have any policy to speak of.
    He is long on bombastic bluster and short on practical ideas for solving deep seated complex problems that he rants on and on about unintelligibly .
    Where is the Art of the Deal magician Trump promised?

    .
    At least this

    • FRANK STETSON

      AC, not an enigma, but an indictment of Democrats for not realizing the changes in the voters allowing Trump to be seen as their answer. Turmp or no Trump, that has not faded, it has intenisfied. American has lost any common consensus on almost anything. We have lost the ability to listen. We have lost the ability to compromise for the greater good. Trump is the result, not the reason.

  7. FRANK STETSON

    DeSantis will probably not get the VP slot; I think Trump would not risk someone outpacing him in madness. Plus, given Trump’s track record for employee success is really, really bad. Most get indicted, or tweet-fucked by Trump. The line of bodies is incredibly long and ask Pence about Trump loyalty…. Or Rudy, poor, poor, bankrupt Rudy. Or his team of lawyers losing careers over Georgia antics.

    Nope, it’s off to PR re-training for DeSanctimonious where they will teach him to be human, to not have Uncle Leroy’s creepy smile, to get rid of his private, and armed, army —– all terrible optics. Don’t think they will crop the ears though…… And getting his policies to be acceptable in the middle will be a stretch, but time heals many wounds.

    Hopefully, next time he will figure out who he is running against, and who he is running for. He was running against Don and he needed more than just the magarats to win the big one.

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson … LMAO… This is what you call serious civil intelligent dialogue? I write and opinion and an analysis and your respond with this sort of crap. Somehow you seem to think low class sarcasm and cheap shot insults are mature and cute. At least this was one of those rare instances when you did bring up your imaginary Larry Horist to insult. Kudos for that. But overall, you lose.

      • FRANK STETSON

        You mean extreme free speech does not allow for levity? And levity is crap? Or that if not funny to you, it must be crap?

        Diversity is a good thing, celebrate our differences.

        Well, you LMAO’d so I guess it worked. Although you are probably laughing at me and not with me, as is your way apparently.

        Sorry, grouchy grandpa, I won’t be funnin you no more.

        In all seriousness though, did you not realize that many feel Desantis is seen by many voters as having little humanity and comes off like a wooden soldier unable to show compassion, much empathy with the regular Joe. Too bad since he checks all the checkboxes, has great FL reviews, some decent numbers (some terrible too), everything except a personality apparently. You also seem to have missed the part where DeSantis has his own private army, armed, reporting only to him? Not many guvners have that one. There was some truth behind the jest.

        And if you can’t see the awful results many reap from working for Trump, I have the list….. Let’s ask Rex, Raj, H.R., and Steve — to name just a handful. Those are just the ones claiming Trump is brain-dead. The list of those indicted, incarcertated, fined, or pardoned is much, much longer.

        You seem to be a bit off today; not enough fiber?

      • larry Horist

        Frank Stetson … Ah hah! You are under the impression that your sarcasm and insults are “wit” — funny by your OWN estimation. LOL At least you are correct in what makes me chuckle when I see such crap,. Whenever you make a fool of yourself and get called out, you claim it was humor ,,, a joke. It is an excuse you use a lot for obvious reasons.

  1. Frank I can’t understand what’s wrong with MAGA. You idiots on the left are satanic bastards out to destroy patriots.…

  2. Don’t tell me nout proof. I’m too Young to need proof. I don’t need no stinkin proof. We all know…