Hurricane Ian is Nailing Trump’s Political Coffin Shut
DeSantis knows the media spotlight is his tryout for the presidency
Hurricane Ian will rid us of Donald J. Trump. Politically, anyway. If you’ve been watching the non-stop news coverage of Ian’s landfall on the west coast of Florida, you have undoubtedly seen a press conference starring that state’s governor, Ron DeSantis. He’s not a good guy, as he most recently proved when he deceived asylum seekers and flew them to Martha’s Vineyard (with a quick stop in Florida in an attempt to comply with rules about the money he was spending). Nevertheless, he is decisive, intelligent, and well-spoken. And he is demonstrating those qualities during this crisis.
Imagine you are a big-time donor to Republican candidates for office. You expect those donations to move the needle. And you didn’t find yourself in a position to move the needle with hefty political donations by being a moron. So you’re already watching DeSantis closely because he seems like the guy who can beat Trump for the 2024 nomination.
Now, juxtapose 76-year-old Trump’s recent rally mutterings and QAnon re-truths against 44-year-old DeSantis preparing Florida residents for Hurricane Ian’s arrival. If you’ve got deep pockets, where are you going to put your money? Behind the aged and aggrieved nutjob, or the young guy who speaks coherently about things people actually care about?
Ian isn’t done with Florida. As I write this, the storm is lashing Disney World with up to 90 mph winds. Daylight will reveal a post-storm aftermath that will require months of top-down leadership and management, so there is a possibility that DeSantis will stumble. But something tells me he won’t.
DeSantis knows that this is his presidential leadership screen test. He’s already put the ball in Biden’s court with a Major Disaster Declaration for all 67 counties in Florida — even the ones unaffected by the storm — presumably to clear a path to assign blame should things go all Katrina on him. But you can bet he’s going to leverage the non-stop media coverage of the storm, the disaster assessment, and the clean-up as a 24/7 commercial demonstrating his capabilities as a commander-in-chief.
And I highly doubt he’s going to throw rolls of paper towels to a crowd.