One Republican candidate in particular stands out in the US midterm elections: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The 44-year-old not only achieved a strong result for his re-election. He triumphed on the election night of all times, which put a lasting damper on his biggest inner-party competitor, Donald Trump.
Several Republicans who offensively supported Trump in the election campaign before the "midterms" failed in the vote. The image of the ex-president as the driving force of the Republican Party has been scratched. That could encourage DeSantis to challenge his party colleague in the internal race for the 2024 presidential election.
"Brilliant young leader"
Before his election to governor four years ago, DeSantis was a member of the House of Representatives. When he campaigned for office in Florida in 2018, he was still considered a favorite of then-President Trump. He called DeSantis a "brilliant young leader" at the time. Trump's euphoria has now evaporated. Now he mocks the Florida man as "Ron DeSanctimoniuos" ("Sanctimonious" in German means hypocritical) and threatens to reveal nasty things about him if he actually decides to run in the 2024 election.
Like Trump, DeSantis belongs to the right wing of the Republican Party. During his campaign appearances, he speaks about the "indoctrination" of children and young people in America's schools through the "spreading of gender ideology". In March, he -- himself a father of three -- signed a law "Protecting Parental Rights to an Education" that bans teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. Recurring themes in his performances are the increase in crime caused by illegal immigrants, for which he does not give any concrete evidence, and the US government's corona policy, which he considers a complete failure.
Lawyer with military experience
DeSantis offers similar hardline positions as Trump. But he does not share his penchant for scandals, loss of control and chaos, but is considered more disciplined and smarter than his party colleague. According to some critics, this makes him more dangerous than Trump. DeSantis attended the elite universities of Yale and Harvard. Heretical, the lawyer is sometimes dubbed "Trump with a brain". In addition, he was in the Navy - and deployed in Iraq. In the US, these are not unimportant details.
Most recently, DeSantis had to prove himself as a caretaker and crisis manager in Florida when a severe hurricane wreaked havoc in the southern US state. He completed his daily appearances close to the people, sorted, statesmanlike - rather Trump-untypical.
For those in the party and at the grassroots who are fed up with Trump's antics but want a candidate with Trumpian content, DeSantis is a viable alternative. Ronald instead of Donald. One like Trump, but without his political and legal baggage.