Now THAT’s a victory speech.
On Election Day, at his victory party at the Tampa Convention Center, Governor Ron DeSantis celebrated with around 4,000 of his supporters as he cruised to a 19+ point victory for reelection over Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist.
He gave several memorable lines, with Churchillian overtones, and a clear and repeated message to keep fighting, never give up, and never back down. Indeed, it was a wartime speech, as America fights to preserve its liberty and its sovereignty. “Florida was a refuge of sanity when the world locked down,” he roared to a frenzied crowd. “We stood as a citadel of freedom for people across this country and indeed across the world. We faced attacks, we took the hits, we weathered the storms, but we stood our ground. We did not back down. We had the conviction to guide us, and we had the courage to lead. We made promises to the people of Florida, and we have delivered on those promises. And so today, after four years, the people have delivered their verdict. Freedom is here to stay.”
He pointed out how Florida has gone deep red in very unexpected areas, to the delight of those in attendance. Every time Fox News showed Miami-Dade County with huge vote advantages for DeSantis and Senator Marco Rubio, they exploded with applause.
“Thank you to Miami Dade County!” DeSantis bellowed. “Thank you to Palm Beach County! Now we’re still tallying the votes, but it’s clearly apparent that in this election we will have garnered a significant number of votes from people who may not have voted for me four years ago and just want to let you know I am honored to have earned your trust and your support over these years.”
The most touching moment was when he thanked his wife Casey, who, earlier in 2022, fought and beat breast cancer.
“And most important of all, thank you to the greatest first lady in all 50 states,” he said, “for being a great wife, giving unwavering support, being a tremendous mother to our three young children, and serving as an example for women throughout this state especially going through the battle of cancer. She is remarkable.”
Indeed she is. An excerpt from the speech:
Now this great exodus of Americans, for those folks, Florida, for so many of them, has served as the promised land. We have embraced freedom. We have maintained law in order. We have protected the rights of parents. We have respected our taxpayers and we reject woke ideology.
We fight woke in the legislature. We fight woke in the schools. We fight woke in the corporations. We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob. People have come here because our policies work.
Leadership matters. We refuse to use polls and put our finger in the wind. Leaders don’t follow, they lead.
We set out a vision. We executed on that vision and we produced historic results and the people of this state have responded in record fashion.
Now, while our country flounders due to failed leadership in Washington, Florida is on the right track. I believe the survival of the American experiment requires a revival of true American principles. Florida has proved that it can be done.
We offer a ray of hope that better days still lie ahead. I am proud of our achievements in this state. I am honored by your support and I look forward to the road ahead. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race and [unintelligible due to crowd noise].
We’ve accomplished more than anybody thought possible four years ago, but we’ve got so much more to do and I have only begun to fight. God bless you all. Thank you very much. Thank you for a historic landslide victory.
I find this quite heartening, seeing as how I don’t see a whole heck of a lot of presidential-run groundwork being laid in any of the above.
Update! A look at How Ron Won.
Yes, DeSantis has the incumbent advantage. And yes, he was lucky enough to ride the Trump wave after 2016 (and smart enough to adopt what worked). But his decisive victory should also signal to Republican state leaders across the country: In today’s political climate, voters are rewarding competent governance and tactical culture war offensives.
Too many Republican governors have taken office only to reject the concerns of the people who voted them in. Republicans, from Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb to Utah Gov. Spencer Cox to Arkansas’s Asa Hutchinson to South Dakota’s Kristi Noem, have opposed bills by their state legislatures to keep sexually confused males out of girls’ sports. (DeSantis signed the Florida legislature’s bill to do just that, signaling that Florida is “going to go off of biology, not ideology.”)
Holcomb shuttered church buildings and limited services to 10 people or fewer during the Covid panic. Cox defended excluding white kids from a basketball scholarship program based on their skin color. Noem refused to call a special session to allow her legislature to pass a bill banning Covid vaccine passports. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland compared people (including many of his constituents) who chose not to wear a mask during Covid to drunk drivers. The office of Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee refused to condemn the politicized Justice Department’s prosecution of peaceful pro-life demonstrators in his state and the FBI’s raid on the home of one pro-lifer, 73-year-old Tennessean Chester Gallagher.
It shouldn’t be hard for red-state governors to stand against boys in girls’ sports, the sterilization of sexually confused kids, the killing of babies in the womb, porn in school libraries, or racist school curricula. By latching onto the fringe depravity in their own party, Democrats have made Republicans’ jobs of opposing them easy! Republican politicians watching DeSantis turn Florida from a purple state that voted for Obama twice into, this year, a reliably red state that elected its GOP incumbent by certain double digits, should take note.
Follows, a brief list of three reasons why DeSantis trounced the grisly Crist so thoroughly. A representative sample, culled from Item #1.
1. Pick Culture War Fights
Instead of rolling over for corporate interests or worrying about criticism from The New York Times, Republican governors should be seeking out opportunities to tactically punch back. There are plenty.
Other GOP governors and legislatures should pass laws prohibiting teachers from lecturing kindergarteners about “sexual orientation or gender identity.” When those commonsense protections of parental rights are incessantly attacked by corporations like Disney that enjoy special privileges from the state, governors should reconsider those special privileges, not give in to corporate pressure.
They should insist on protecting students from being inundated with critical race theory and sign legislation doing so. States affected by President Joe Biden’s border crisis (which increasingly means all of them) should take action to show they won’t put up with the Biden administration secretly shipping illegal aliens into their states. They should all pass vigorous protections of unborn life (and many have). They should make it clear that lawless rioting threatening their communities will not be tolerated. They should pass laws to help protect their citizens from Big Tech censorship and prohibit Silicon Valley giants from meddling in their elections.
Notably, DeSantis’ culture war fights also appear to have earned him historic support among Hispanic voters, in a sea change every Republican should be taking notes from. After losing the Florida Hispanic vote by 10 points just four years ago, Axios reported the day before Election Day 2022 that DeSantis was leading his Democrat opponent 51 to 44 percent among likely Hispanic voters. In Miami-Dade County, which is 69 percent Hispanic or Latino, DeSantis went from losing the county by 20 percentage points in 2018 to winning it by an 11-point margin this year (as of election night, with 93 percent of votes in). For context, in 2016 Hillary Clinton carried the county by 30 points, Joe Biden won it by 7 points in 2020.
In sum, then: do your fucking job; keep your fucking promises; and never flinch from engaging The Enemy not as if he was an “esteemed colleague” but as exactly what he truly is: a fucking enemy. You’ll definitely want to read all of this bracing piece, folks.
Updated update! Another terrific quote from DeSantis’ speech: “We will never ever surrender to the Woke mob. Florida is where the Woke goes to die!” You GO, Gov! No idea why the excerpt I ran earlier cut the last line out of that bit, it was the best part if you ask me.