US elections 2024: Who is the Republican contender Ron DeSantis?

Washington, DC – In a 2018 marketing campaign advert when he was once working for governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis tells his daughter — a child — to “build the wall” as she places in combination bins that resemble bricks.

The construction was once a connection with then-President Donald Trump’s promise to construct a border wall between the United States and Mexico as a part of an competitive platform. to stem abnormal migration.

Endorsed through the Republican president at the moment, DeSantis would totally embody Trumpism and move directly to win the Florida governorship in a tightly contested and carefully watched race.

Now he desires to switch Trump because the standard-bearer of the Republican Party.

DeSantis filed forms confirming his candidacy for president on Wednesday. throwing his hat within the ring along a rising record of hopefuls difficult Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination. He is broadly noticed as the previous president’s maximum critical number one rival.

The Florida governor has been making headlines through enacting right-wing insurance policies on quite a lot of social problems — infuriating liberals, incomes the reward of conservatives and cementing his outstanding standing and identify reputation in US politics.

“There has always been space within the Republican Party for someone who is not Trump,” mentioned Seth Masket, director of the Center on American Politics on the University of Denver.

“DeSantis was kind of a natural, at least early on, for that position simply because of how well-known he has been among Republicans.”

Who is Ron DeSantis?

DeSantis, who was once very easily re-elected ultimate yr, is one in every of greater than two dozen Republican governors.

Yet, analysts say he has outstanding himself through taking over what he calls left-wing “wokeism”, staunchly opposing COVID-19 restrictions and effectively transferring his schedule ahead with the assistance of a prepared majority within the Florida legislature.

A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, an army veteran and a former Congress member, DeSantis has gathered a resume that assessments many bins for a presidential candidate.

But he made his nationwide debut particularly in 2018 when he first received the Florida governorship, rising from a crowded box of Republican applicants to snag a triumph within the tightly contested state. During the race, he continuously gave the impression on Fox News to shield Trump, making himself identified to the community’s conservative audience alongside the way in which.

More just lately, in 2022, DeSantis sailed for re-election with historical margins now not noticed since 1982. His decisive victory helped give a boost to Florida’s standing as an more and more pink state.

As governor, he championed conservative reasons, particularly within the training gadget, the place he signed expenses to restrict discussions of gender and sexuality in faculties and block investment for range methods at universities.

The extra DeSantis attracted the highlight along with his conservative manner, the extra he was once attacked through Democrats — a dynamic the governor welcomed, consistent with Masket.

“People in conservative circles were cheering him on, but also Democrats were noticing,” Masket instructed Al Jazeera. “And they began highlighting him as one of the vital main threats to democracy in the USA. And that simply egged him on. That was once highest for him. The undeniable fact that liberals hated him was once – so far as he was once involved – some other feather in his cap.

COVID coverage and immigration

Under his management in 2020, Florida was once one of the vital first huge states to roll again after which totally raise its COVID-19 lockdowns in opposition to the warnings of federal well being officers at the moment.

The following yr, DeSantis driven again in opposition to coronavirus vaccine mandates, once more advancing the right-wing explanation for prioritizing person selection when it got here to public well being all the way through the pandemic.

DeSantis additionally driven for restrictions on abortion even ahead of the US Supreme Court overturned the constitutional appropriate to the process ultimate yr. And this yr, he signed a six-week abortion banned To set up regulation.

Moreover, he waded into the immigration coverage debate. Last yr, DeSantis chartered flights to move dozens of migrants and asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, a rich neighborhood within the in large part Democratic state of Massachusetts.

The migrants arrived with out advance understand, native government mentioned, sparking anger and questions from rights teams in regards to the legality of the switch. The White House condemned the incident at the moment as merciless “political theatre”.

In quick, DeSantis effectively translated his right-wing rhetoric into coverage, analysts mentioned.

“Whenever you are other, every time you destroy along with your birthday celebration, you are in the market by yourself. And if there aren’t any drastic penalties, then it might make you seem like you are forward of the curve,” mentioned David Ramsey, who teaches constitutional regulation and political philosophy on the University of West Florida.

He added that the governor helped rebuild the Republican Party in Florida, a conventional swing state this is now more and more taking a look like a conservative stronghold.

“He’s put a lot of points on the board for his party,” Ramsey instructed Al Jazeera.

Former President Donald Trump has a large lead over DeSantis in public opinion polls. [File: Evan Vucci/AP Photo]

Trump vs DeSantis

Meanwhile, Trump, additionally a Florida resident, stands between DeSantis and the Republican presidential nomination, as they each search to tackle Democratic President Joe Biden in 2024.

Several different Republican Candidates have introduced presidential bids, but when public opinion polls are to be believed, the primaries can be a two-horse race between Trump and DeSantis.

With his combative angle and unconventional policymaking, DeSantis inspires comparisons with Trump. But the governor can distinguish himself from the previous president via his more youthful age, “more polished” taste, army carrier and circle of relatives lifestyles, political observers mentioned.

DeSantis is 44 years outdated. Trump is 76. And in contrast to Trump, DeSantis’s non-public lifestyles has been in large part freed from scandals.

“He contrasts well with the previous president. He’s young. He’s on his first wife. He actually served in the military,” mentioned Gregory Koger, a political science professor on the University of Miami.

After the Republicans’ lackluster performances In the 2022 midterm elections, that have been in large part blamed on Trump, many concept DeSantis would transform the unofficial captain of the birthday celebration.

“I think the question is: Who is the current leader of the Republican Party? Oh, I know who it is: Ron DeSantis,” Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis mentioned ultimate November.

Trump surging

The governor, on the other hand, misplaced some momentum in 2023, with contemporary nationwide polls appearing him in the back of Trump through as many as 36 proportion issues.

Koger defined 3 causes for that decline. First, he mentioned, Trump is actively campaigning whilst DeSantis simplest introduced his authentic marketing campaign this week.

A 2nd explanation why is that Trump has been often attacking DeSantis on his Truth Social platform, and for essentially the most phase, the governor has stayed mum.

And then there is the query of Trump’s indictment, the primary for a former or present US president. In April, Trump was once criminally charged in New York in terms of a hush-money fee to a porn megastar. Republicans, together with DeSantis, nearly unanimously defended Trump in opposition to the prosecution.

“A combination of voters feeling like he’s being attacked and Republican politicians coming out and criticizing the indictment led to a boost for Trump,” Koger instructed Al Jazeera.

With the primary caucus in Iowa months away and prison troubles Mounting for Trump, DeSantis can be hoping to dance again and shut the space, particularly as he starts to formally marketing campaign for the nomination.

Koger cited DeSantis’s struggle with the Walt Disney Company to turn how the governor aimed to consolidate energy and intimidate critics.

DeSantis went at the offensive. in opposition to disney ultimate yr and attempted to strip it of its standing as a unique tax district after the corporate’s leaders criticized a work of Florida regulation dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” invoice through critics. The regulation aimed to limit instruction on sexuality and gender id in public faculties.

The assault on Disney, which changed into a prolonged prison and political fightWas a dangerous one. Disney is an iconic American corporate this is one in every of Florida’s biggest employers.

“What kind of Florida politician picks a fight with Disney World in the state and a country where that’s a revered brand?” Koger requested. “But it makes sense if the purpose is really to scare any business or organization that would stand up to him, to keep people from criticizing what he’s doing and create a climate of fear.”


While DeSantis has demonstrated his right-wing credentials on home problems as governor, he has now not engaged in lots of discussions on international coverage.

But in March, he drew complaint from Democrats and a few Republicans when he referred to as the battle in Ukraine a “territorial dispute”.

“While the US has many vital national interests, … becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis mentioned in a commentary to then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a staunch critic of US beef up to Ukraine.

“The Biden management’s digital ‘clean test’ investment of this battle for ‘so long as it takes’, with none outlined goals or responsibility, distracts from our nation’s maximum urgent demanding situations,” the governor argued.

That place positioned him nearer to Trump’s stance at the battle than to that of the mainstream Republican Party. Many GOP lawmakers, aside from a couple of vocal far-right contributors, have voted overwhelmingly in choose of offering billions of greenbacks in assist to Ukraine.

Masket, the University of Denver professor, mentioned that siding with skeptics of US beef up for Ukraine didn’t move over neatly for DeSantis.

“I don’t think that did him any favours,” Masket instructed Al Jazeera. “My impression was that it would make more sense for DeSantis to come out strongly in favor of Ukraine because he’s not going to win over the Trump wing of the party.”

Israeli-Palestinian battle

One international coverage house the place DeSantis made his perspectives abundantly identified is the Israeli-Palestinian battle.

He has mentioned the Palestinian West Bank is “disputed”, now not occupied territory, a view that contradicts world regulation and a large number of United Nations resolutions. When he was once in Congress, DeSantis additionally driven Trump early on to transport the USA embassy to Jerusalem,

Last month, the governor visited Israel and hit out at Biden’s complaint of the Israeli govt’s judicial overhaul plan, announcing the USA will have to now not “butt into” Israel’s affairs.

In 2019, he moved to penalize Airbnb for postponing its listings in unlawful Israeli West Bank settlements, a part of a marketing campaign that stressed the accommodation corporate to opposite its choice, He additionally threatened to divest from Ben & Jerry’s The dad or mum company after the ice cream maker determined to finish its operations within the West Bank.

Rasha Mubarak, a Palestinian-American organizer in Florida, mentioned DeSantis’s insurance policies were “dangerous” now not just for Palestinians but in addition for Americans’ loose speech rights.

“He uses fear and false narrative when he is pushing anti-Black, anti-immigrant, anti-Palestinian, xenophobic legislation and rhetoric that bring out his base and his support,” Mubarak instructed Al Jazeera.

While in the USA Navy, DeSantis served on the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, a jail broadly decried through rights crew that he has mentioned will have to stay open. One former inmate accused the governor of being provide whilst jail officers have been force-feeding detainees all the way through a starvation strike.

“He was once staring at me battle. He was once smiling and giggling with different officials as I screamed in ache,” Mansoor Adayfi wrote. in a column for Al Jazeera previous this yr. DeSantis vehemently denies that account.


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