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Deace: An open letter to Ron DeSantis: Let 'er rip at next week's debate

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Dear Governor Ron DeSantis,

I was proud to endorse you last week. And as I said at the time, your unprecedented accomplishments as governor of Florida earned my support. No elected official in my lifetime has done more damage to our enemies than you have.

You have broken the mold. You showed conservatives that we can win and govern on our principles unapologetically when implemented and messaged effectively. Your success is why Florida had the red wave last year that the rest of the country did not. And now the Democrat Party is in a state of extinction in a state Barack Obama won twice not too long ago.

You accomplished all of this by doing precisely what the GOP consultant class has claimed for a generation we would never be allowed to do. Which is exactly why I am writing this open letter on the eve of the first GOP presidential primary debate. I believe you are undoubtedly our strongest candidate. I believe you have proven you are the one who won’t just message and market the MAGA, but will actually do the MAGA.

Obviously, your presidential campaign hasn’t gotten off to the start that was planned. Hence changes were made. People forget that your primary rival for the nomination, Donald Trump, took six months on the campaign trail before he homed in on the message that made him the winner the first time he ran. He also went through four different campaign managers/consultants on his way to the presidency, too.

But past can become prologue on Wednesday in Milwaukee. For much of the GOP primary electorate, this first debate is when this 2024 race will truly begin. This will be the first time they will take a close look at the candidates and seriously assess the race as a whole. That means this is your opportunity to make everyone forget the sluggish campaign start and instead remind everybody what you did in Florida.

You crushed your enemies, you saw them driven before you, and now all we hear are the lamentations of their non-binary beings.

Let me put it more plainly: Governor, it is time to let 'er rip.

You were a decorated baseball player in your youth, so you understand the uniqueness of the grand old game. It is the only sport where the pursuit of individual accolades garners as much interest as the achievement of championship excellence. No one remembers who led the NFL in touchdown passes in 1999, but lots of people remember that the Rams won the Super Bowl that year.

But in baseball, people remember who dominated both individually and as a team every year. This is an excellent metaphor for what is before you on Wednesday night.

As a candidate you represent a team – your campaign, your supporters, and those who share your principles. But just as when you step into the batter’s box in baseball, when you stand behind that podium next week, it’s just you all by yourself. Just as teammates in the dugout have no say in whether you connect or strike out, neither will anybody else associated with your campaign but you when you step onto that stage.

You became an excellent baseball player because you learned to drown out the noise, distractions, and pressure. To focus on the true target – the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. If you do the same Wednesday night and knock the cover off the ball at the debate, no single undecided voter is going to remember, let alone care, anything about what has happened in the last three months. The board is reset, and it is on.

Tune out the noise, even if a lot of it comes from people who are well meaning and want you to succeed. You alone are the candidate/batter. You alone are holding the bat. You alone are in the batter’s box.

Given your accomplishments, this debate should be a hanging curveball for you. If Trump doesn’t show, you tower over the rest of the field in resume. If Trump does, you actually did the things in Florida that Trump only threatened to do on social media. You’re the only person on that stage who doesn’t have a question you hope you’re not asked on an issue that matters. You’re the only person on that stage with a record that lets you play offense on every question.

So step into that moment. Take yes for an answer. Swing away, swing for the fences, and let 'er rip.
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