It’s Not About Moving A Fence

I haven’t taken a count, but more presidential candidates flame out because of their unforced errors than are knocked out by others. If Ron DeSantis falls short, he has only himself to blame. Characterizing the Ukraine War as a “territorial disput” shows a remarkable lack of knowledge. Would he have said the same thing when Nazi Germany rolled into its Polish neighbor, starting WWII? An unprovoked invasion isn’t a real estate boundary-line controversy. 

DeSantis’ ability to immerse himself in a problem to determine his actions and then defend them against all comers drew me to him. He owes much of his popularity to his hands-on approach to issues. It’s astonishing a leader who put in the effort to educate himself about all aspects of the covid crisis and, based on that knowledge, found the proper path could come up with such a clinker.

A mano-a-mano contest with Donald Trump for the Republican nomination is the best way for DeSantis to win. Trump has an unshakeable hold on about a third 0n Republican voters. If the other 70% is spread among a crowd of challengers, he can ride all the winner-take-all contests to the finish line. A crowded field like 2016 favors Trump.

Starving other candidates of issues and money is imperative for DeSantis to keep the field narrow, so why give his competitors running room? Before this mishap, no one could beat him on governing competence or strength on Republican issues. Why open himself to a foreign policy attack? Placing himself in the space between Trump and all the others by providing Trump credit for the things he did right but pre-empting positions others might take to get some footing makes more sense. 

Up to 70% of Republicans could be looking for someone other than Trump Many of these have a favorable opinion of the Ukrainians, including many of the top donors. Why encourage them to look at the many possible candidates sharing this view. How do I know this is happening? I was supporting DeSantis but am now taking another look at others.

DeSantis’ weak support for Ukraine is a surprise as he previously backed sending lethal weapons to that nation when the Obama administration failed to do so. Why the flip-flop?

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