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Horowitz: The triumph of DeSantis and conservative clarity

Op-ed
Octavio Jones / Stringer via GettyImages

Perhaps it’s reflected in the fact that Florida seems to have its election results come in smoothly and quickly, while almost every other state lags. But Florida represents the culmination of a conservative dream. What would happen if we actually had a candidate who perfectly articulated our views, then was elected and governed in accordance with that promise? For years, we were told that such a candidate would be a disaster and could win only in a solid red district in a rural part of Texas or Idaho. Well, not only has the most conservative governor of our time flipped the ultimate swing state of Florida to ruby red, but he tipped the legacy Democrat county of Palm Beach to red as well!

The 30,000-vote margin of victory for Ron DeSantis in Florida over his radical Democratic opponent in 2018, a bad year for Republicans, was probably the most consequential 30,000 votes of our generation. In the aftermath of this pivotal election arose a governor who implemented one conservative policy after another, stood up to federal tyranny one time after another, and combatted the leftist blue bastions and corporations in his own state. Based on what we were told from the conservative consultant class, he should have been voted out or possibly carried by the skin of his teeth in a good GOP year. Instead, with 85% reporting, he is on pace to crack a 20-point margin of victory!

Here are some shocking statistics of how DeSantis carried Democratic strongholds, as of 9 p.m. election night:

  • DeSantis carried Miami-Dade County by 11 points; he lost it by 20 in 2018;
  • DeSantis carried Hillsborough County (Tampa) by nine points; he lost it by nine in 2018;
  • DeSantis carried Osceola County (Orlando suburbs) by seven points; he lost it by 21 in 2018;
  • DeSantis carried Palm Beach County by 3; he lost it by 17 in 2018;
  • DeSantis carried Duval County (Jacksonville) by 13; he lost it by 4.5 points in 208.

Even in predominantly non-white Orange County, DeSantis is pulling 46%!

In other words, DeSantis kept the Trump coalition intact, won back suburban voters, won the Hispanic vote outright, and made some inroads in the black vote.

This is a man who has been tougher on illegal immigration and crime than any other government official has been — who holds policy views that Republicans told us would chase away non-white voters. “Wow ... We've re-written the political map,” said DeSantis in his acceptance speech. "Florida was [a] refuge of sanity in a world gone mad ... we stood our ground."

It’s also important to note that while most Republicans ran on the economy and crime, very few ran forcefully on COVID fascism and medical freedom. And in fact, based on most GOP campaigns, one would get the impression that the last two years never even occurred. DeSantis made COVID a big deal and will likely outperform the other Republicans tonight.

DeSantis sounds like a raving lunatic to GOP consultants, but his words are music to the ears of voters. And evidently, not just the hard-core GOP base voters. Who’s to say you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

Now, will Republicans watch and learn?

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