The results reinforced many expectations that DeSantis will run for president in 2024 – a situation that has already caused friction with another Floridian Republican, former president Donald Trump. And for other Democrats, the double-digit wins seen not only by DeSantis but Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday firmly ended a chapter in which the government can be seen as a swing state.
The mid-term vote was being watched closely overseas, with European allies, in particular, breathing a sigh of relief that anti-Trump Republicans had a poor showing. In a statement reported by my colleagues, the German politician Reinhard Bütikofer wrote that he admitted that “the speculation that Donald Trump will be the president of the US again in 2024 has become absurd.”
But Tuesday’s results opened up another possibility: President DeSantis. What would that mean for the world? In some ways, that may seem more palatable to many than Trump or some Trumpian alternative. But DeSantis will be the first president of the United States born in Florida – and if the Democrats hand over the Sunshine State to the Republicans, the wider influence on US foreign policy could be significant.
Here are three things to consider:
DeSantis is not Trump. He may not always act like it, but DeSantis’ resume is more that of a Republican civil servant than a businessman-turned-politician.
In some ways, DeSantis’ background makes him look closer to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose interlocutors have at times been at odds with Trump.
Despite a modest upbringing, DeSantis left Jacksonville for Yale, before moving on to Harvard Law School. He went on to serve as a lawyer for the US Navy, serving at the Guantánamo Bay base and deployed to Iraq. Upon his return, he served as a federal prosecutor before winning two terms in the House.
It’s a common practice in American politics. To reflect that, DeSantis has focused heavily on domestic policy in the House and later as governor, but much of what he has said about foreign policy is more in line with existing principles, rather than Trump’s usual style of speaking.
DeSantis criticized Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and criticized President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. He is also very hostile to traditional enemies of the US such as Iran, especially the opposition nuclear deal with that countryand new competitors like China, and promised to “the most pro-Israel governor in America.“
The GOP’s weaker-than-expected results have calmed European nerves — for now
However, he is a Florida man. Unlike Trump, who was born rich in New York City and later became a resident, DeSantis is a true Florida man. And to some extent, he lives on the wall, especially giving extra attention to foreign issues that are close to many Floridians: Including Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia and Haiti.
He claims that he is not a fan of laws and big government. Florida’s governor first gained real national attention when he pushed for a controversial laissez-faire approach to covid-19. That approach put DeSantis at odds with the World Health Organization’s guidelines, even if it wasn’t as controversial as Trump’s move to pull the United States out of the body. (Many accounts of Florida’s time during the pandemic indicate that DeSantis’ policies were not the success he described as the disaster or disaster his critics feared).
Unlike Trump — who still has his reputation as a salesman at heart — DeSantis can be tough and less open to persuasion. Profiles have repeatedly suggested that he has little of the personal charm or interest in social work that many politicians have. Any world leaders who might want a romance with this man might end up being ruthless.
DeSantis is happy to use brash rhetoric and brutal stunts to make his point. He has waved Venezuelan immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in a bid to own freedom and fought Disney over gay rights — breaking with Republican orthodoxy to protest corporate power. He said that France would back down if Russia attacked and that Elon Musk is on the side of Ukraine’s leaders after the US billionaire suggested that Kyiv should negotiate a peace deal with Russia.
And while DeSantis seems to have accepted the reality of climate change’s impact on Florida, he prefers to throw money at climate change instead of working to mitigate the problem.
As one critic recently put it, his plan was to “Award huge contracts to consolidate impacts on valuable waterfront property while ignoring everything else, and everyone else.” If the United States goes all the way, it could affect every part of the world.
What the midterm results mean for Trump, DeSantis and the 2024 election
What happens if the Democrats give up on Florida voters? If DeSantis is still on the ballot in the 2024 presidential race, he’s likely to carry the state — long considered a toss-up — with ease. Democrats, already skeptical about their chances in government, may consider it a lost cause.
That can have big implications. Many Latinos in Florida have fled extreme or socialist governments in places like Cuba and Venezuela, which have influenced the policies of Republicans and Democrats fighting for votes in government.
But others believe that Democrats have begun to make headway. Of course, it looks like Biden’s foreign policy is far from resonating with Florida’s Latino voters. His administration has eased sanctions on Venezuela, eased sanctions on Cuba and removed the Colombian rebel group FARC from the list of foreign terrorist organizations.
On Tuesday, the same day the United States voted, climate envoy John F. Kerry had a brief meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro at the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt. Although US officials have downplayed the cooperation, it comes at an interesting time: The Biden administration has eased sanctions related to Venezuela’s huge oil reserves, as energy prices rise amid the war in Ukraine and tensions with Saudi Arabia, a giant of the oil market. the market.