In his campaign to secure the Republican presidential nomination, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has received a powerful endorsement.
On Monday, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa threw her support behind the Florida governor, who currently trails former President Donald Trump by a wide margin in most national polls.
DeSantis shared a 5-minute clip of Reynolds’ endorsement speech Monday on X.
“It is an honor to be endorsed by Iowa’s great governor, @KimReynoldsIA. Kim has led her state with strength and principle — and delivered big results. She knows how to win the tough fights needed to get things done. Together, we will win Iowa,” DeSantis wrote in an accompanying post.
It is an honor to be endorsed by Iowa’s great governor, @KimReynoldsIA.
Kim has led her state with strength and principle — and delivered big results. She knows how to win the tough fights needed to get things done.
Together, we will win Iowa. pic.twitter.com/kWRHkCwoHU
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) November 7, 2023
In her speech, Reynolds touched upon several issues on which the DeSantis campaign clearly regards Trump as vulnerable. Some of these likely will play with the Republican base, while others will not.
The Iowa governor began by highlighting perceived differences in the candidates’ personalities and even in their motives.
“We need someone who won’t get distracted but will stay disciplined, who puts this country first and not himself. That leader is Ron DeSantis,” Reynolds said to raucous cheers.
She then shifted to the COVID pandemic, a subject on which DeSantis received high marks from liberty-loving conservatives.
“The pressure to shut down, to ‘shelter in place,’ to keep our kids out of school, was unbelievable. And it came from every corner, even from the White House,” Reynolds recalled.
“You know, most leaders, they buckled under that pressure. They listened to Fauci instead of the real science. But there was one man, running for president, who did not: Ron DeSantis,” she added.
Having praised DeSantis’ resolve during the COVID madness, Reynolds then touted his broader abilities as a leader.
“What I love most about Ron is he gets things done,” the Iowa governor said, amplifying her voice on the final three words.
“To be quite honest, he is one of the most effective leaders that I have ever seen,” she added.
Reynolds also cited DeSantis’ strong pro-life credentials. She praised the Florida governor as “someone that knows when life begins and thinks it’s a beautiful thing to save a beating heart.”
Finally, Reynolds championed DeSantis as “someone who, most importantly, can win.”
In some ways, the Reynolds-DeSantis alliance makes perfect sense. After all, the two governors have followed similar electoral trajectories in recent years.
Reynolds, for instance, narrowly won the governorship in 2018, defeating her Democratic challenger by fewer than three percentage points, 50.3-47.5. Four years later, however, she won reelection in a landslide, 58-39.5.
DeSantis, meanwhile, also won the governorship of his state by a razor-thin margin in 2018, 49.6-49.2. Like Reynolds, the Florida governor then scored a runaway reelection victory in 2022, 59.4-40.
Despite their similarities, however, it remains to be seen whether Reynolds’ endorsement will have the effect DeSantis hopes. After all, the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Trump leading DeSantis by more than 30 points in Iowa.
Furthermore, Trump’s nearly 30-point edge over DeSantis in Florida suggests that popular governors might have limited influence even in their home states.
Still, Reynolds’ speech showed how DeSantis and his supporters plan to continue highlighting what they perceive as the Florida governor’s strengths and Trump’s weaknesses.
For instance, Reynolds spoke of DeSantis’ COVID response and his strong pro-life stance. This will play. Many of Trump’s voters, after all, do not share their preferred candidate’s enthusiasm for the COVID vaccine. Nor do they share his tepid views on abortion, though they appreciate his practical efforts and results on that front.
On the other hand, petty barbs that portray Trump as selfish will not play at all. Daily images of the former president sitting in courtrooms should convey courage and resilience. After all, a billionaire who could have devoted his golden years to golf but instead endures a corrupt regime’s persecution will hardly strike most voters as selfish.
Likewise, predicting who “can win” will not play. This rings hollow, like a remnant of a Bush-Cheney era that many Republican voters today would rather forget.
Above all, however, Reynolds’ endorsement of DeSantis as someone who “can win” assumes that Trump voters would simply migrate to the Florida governor should he somehow win the Republican nomination. That will not happen.
As desperately as some powerful Republicans would like to go back to the way things used to be, Trump’s voters have seen too much. They already know the “somehow” that establishment Republicans seem to have in mind, and they resent it.
In short, Trump’s supporters have seen Russiagate, multiple sham impeachments, federal agencies weaponized, mass censorship, a stolen 2020 election, the lies surrounding January 6 and now four politically motivated indictments. These, to a Trump supporter, constitute the “somehow.”
Though many of them agree with DeSantis on COVID, abortion and many other issues, it seems madness to think that most Trump voters — knowing the lengths the corrupt establishment has gone in order to undermine the 45th president — would simply fall in line with whoever happens to win the Republican nomination.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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