Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a pretty big splash this year at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). And his performance is likely the first of many presidential pitches that are to come. There is much that we can learn from his impassioned stump speech.
The first thing from this significant address is his declaration that “Florida has defeated Faucism.” The way that his state stood its ground against the rigid restrictions that the federal government was trying to impose will be extremely popular with voters across the nation.
DeSantis got to speak at the most important GOP activist gathering in the country. He allowed the public to preview the major themes that could be on his platform if the governor pulls the trigger on a presidential campaign in 2024. The crux of the speech was that under his leadership, Florida has become a “citadel of freedom.” This is in contrast to the authoritarian mandates used by the government in the midst of a pandemic to repress people.
DeSantis focused on much more than the pandemic in his speech. He called for a powerful crackdown on crime, aggressively securing the borders and greater election security. He hit a high note when he challenged the Republican crowd to fight against “Bidenflation.” He followed that note by criticizing “woke” thinking as “the new religion of the left.”
It was content like this that created a celebrity atmosphere for the governor. He was given repeated standing ovations throughout his speech. And the common feeling was that he will most certainly be on the ticket in 2024.
DeSantis revealed in giving the crowd what they wanted. He not only talked about government overreach on COVID-19, crime, elections, and “Bidenflation,” he also hit big tech censorship, transgender athletes.
But the biggest target for DeSantis was the left-wing of the Democratic Party. The Florida governor believes they want to silence the conservative voices.
The theme for this year’s CPAC was “Awoke, Not Woke.” DeSantis played that song for all it was worth. Believing that “woke” is the new religion of the left, he called the movement a “form of Marxism.” And he proudly declared that “Freedom has prevailed in the Sunshine State.”
People were not just standing, but jumping during his 20-minute speech especially when he said things like, “criminals will see the inside of a jail cell.” They roared when he labeled Biden’s White House the “Brandon administration.” And they just loved his reference to Dr. Anthony Fauci when he declared that “Florida has defeated Fauciism.”
But that wasn’t the only reference he made to Biden’s doctor. He got another standing ovation when he said his state refused to become a “Faucian Dystopia.”
One of his biggest laughs came when he promised that if President Biden released illegal aliens from the southern border into his state, he is going to reroute them to Delaware. This is Biden’s home state. He also said that he would send some to Washington, D.C., and Hollywood. This maybe got the biggest cheers of the day.
DeSantis is likely the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
Maybe one of the most surprising things about the speech DeSantis gave was what was not in it. He did not say a word about former President Trump. Trump was all over the conference. His name was on shoes, stickers, T-shirts, and hats. He was a star there. DeSantis focused on DeSantis. And he focused on the sitting president saying that he has had the worst first year since the 1800s. He urged the participants to “make 2022 the year America fought back. … There is no substitute for courage.”