The results cemented many expectations that DeSantis would run for president in 2024 — a situation that is already sparking tension with another Florida Republican, former President Donald Trump. And for some Democrats, the double-digit wins seen by not just DeSantis but Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday firmly ended the chapter where the state could be considered a swing state.
The midterm vote was closely watched abroad, with European allies in particular breathing a sigh of relief that the more incendiary Trump-aligned Republicans had performed relatively poorly. In a statement reported by my colleagues, German politician Reinhard Bütikofer wrote approvingly that “the pessimistic assumption that Donald Trump will become President of the United States again in 2024 has become a little more unrealistic.”
But Tuesday’s results opened up another possibility: President DeSantis. What would that mean for the world? In some ways this may seem more palatable to many than Trump or another Trumpian alternative. But DeSantis would also be the first Florida-born president of the United States — and if the Democrats gave up the Sunshine State to the Republicans, the wider impact on American foreign policy could be significant.
Here are three things to consider:
DeSantis is not Trump. He may not always act like that, but DeSantis’ resume sounds more like a run-of-the-mill Republican civil servant than Trump, an explosive businessman turned political arsonist.
In some ways, DeSantis’ background brings him closer to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose more interventionist leanings were at times at odds with Trump.
Despite a relatively modest upbringing, DeSantis moved from Jacksonville to Yale, before continuing on to Harvard Law School. He then worked as a lawyer for the United States Navy, serving at Guantánamo Bay and deploying to Iraq. Upon his return, he served as a federal prosecutor before winning two terms in the House.
It’s a fairly typical career path for an American politician. Reflecting this, DeSantis largely focused on domestic politics in the House and later as governor, but most of what he said on foreign policy fits well with pre-existing norms, rather than the style often ad hoc from Trump.
DeSantis condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and criticized President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. He is also strongly opposed to traditional enemies of the United States such as Iran, notably opposing the nuclear agreement with this countryas well as new rivals like China, and is committed to being “the most pro-Israel governor in America.”
Weaker-than-expected GOP results calm Europe’s nerves — for now
He is, however, a Florida man. Unlike Trump, who was born wealthy in New York and did not become a resident until late, DeSantis is a true Florida man. And to some extent, it lives up to the reputation, paying particular attention to foreign issues close to many Floridians: including Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia and Haiti.
He claims not to be a fan of rules and big government. The governor of Florida first came to national attention when he pushed a controversial laissez-faire approach to covid-19. This approach put DeSantis at odds with World Health Organization guidelines, though it was not as combative as Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from that body. (Most accounts of Florida’s time during the pandemic suggest that DeSantis’ policies were neither the success he portrayed them nor the disaster his critics feared).
Unlike Trump — who still has his reputation as a negotiator at heart — DeSantis may be stiffer and less open to persuasion. Profiles have repeatedly suggested he has little personal charm or interest in social functions that many politicians have. Any world leader seeking a bromance with this man could end up with a cold shoulder.
DeSantis is happy to use brash rhetoric and even cruel stunts to make his point. He ferried Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in a bid to own liberals and fought with Disney for gay rights – breaking Republican orthodoxy to complain about corporate power. He said France would cave in if Russia invaded and sided with Elon Musk against Ukrainian leaders after the US billionaire suggested Kyiv should broker a peace deal with Russia.
And although DeSantis seems to have accepted the reality of the likely impact of climate change on Florida, he preferred to pour money into climate adaptation rather than work to actually mitigate the problem.
As one reviewer recently put it, his plan has been to “hand out big contracts to repair impacts on expensive waterfront properties while essentially ignoring everything, and everyone else.” If the United States goes all out with this approach, it could have an impact all over the world.
What the midterm results mean for Trump, DeSantis and the 2024 election
What happens if Democrats abandon Florida voters? If DeSantis is on the ballot in the presidential race in 2024, he’s likely to carry the state — long considered a draw — easily. Democrats, already skeptical of their chances in the state, may consider this a lost cause.
This could have major implications. Many of Florida’s large Latin American population fled extreme or socialist regimes in places like Cuba and Venezuela, which influenced the policies of Republicans and Democrats vying for votes in the state.
But some believe Democrats have already started moving on. Granted, it appears Biden’s foreign policy is far from beholden to Latino voters in Florida. His administration eased sanctions on Venezuela, eased restrictions on Cuba and removed the Colombian rebel group FARC from the list of foreign terrorist organizations.
On Tuesday, the same day the vote was underway in the United States, climate envoy John F. Kerry had a brief meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt. . Although U.S. officials have downplayed the interaction, it comes at an interesting time: the Biden administration eased sanctions tied to Venezuela’s huge oil reserves, as energy prices rose in the amid war in Ukraine and tensions with oil market giant Saudi Arabia, even more turbulent. the market.