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  • Writer's pictureKarl M. Miller

A Presidential Road Map for Ron DeSantis to be the First World Leader America Needs

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Photo credit:Sky News

For America to keep its superpower and First World status in the 21st century it needs to raise the bar of qualifications for the chief executive. The standard for the office of President of the United States has fallen in the last few decades especially since the rise of social media where even people with little or no executive accomplishments are emboldened to run based on how many celebrity like ‘clicks’ they can get. This trend has been more prevalent by the Democratic candidates. Mr. Ron DeSantis has shown he has the resume to meet the high standards which should be the norm and especially to keep America the global military and economic superpower in the 21st century, but he will need a strategy to match. This is especially needed because GOP has a crowded deep bench of contenders with similar resumes. However, Mr. DeSantis has many contrasting attributes to set himself apart. Just like a company would, competence should be measured based on accomplishments especially at an executive level, period. Mr Desantis has delivered on many issues that many politicians promised and never delivered and many that most Americans hope for. Hence the massive migration to Florida from states that are failing.

However, Mr. Desantis will need not only a strong rapid response strategy but an offensive one. He should also take former successful Wisconsin Governor and presidential candidate Scott Walker’s recent advice in Wall Street Journal - ‘ A Strong Record Isn’t Enough’. An aggressive national and foreign policy agenda. A major challenge is that while Mr. DeSantis’s record of winning should be the standard that others are measured, it is constantly being smeared, distorted and outright misrepresented in the media and by his major contender who uses the same false attacks Democrats will use if he is the GOP nominee. Those attacks don't just affect Mr. Desantis's chances, it also distracts why successful conservative policies could also work for the rest of America. GOP voters should think seriously about nominating anyone else who will spitefully smear Mr. Desantis's conservative policies because they can't properly contrast why they would be better to implement successful policies on their own. Such smears attack the conservative brand itself which all contenders should be defending and nurturing.

There are a number of ways Mr. DeSantis could build strategies to his main challenges without indulging in the inevitable and unproductive circular firing squad a crowded GOP will stoke especially with Mr. Trump as the main flame thrower.

Rapid Response and Offensive: Mr. DeSantis main asset to become the GOP’s nominee for president has been his record. As such his most important strategy will need to be an aggressive and relentless rapid response to counter the smears and lies about his record. Very often the narrative to define Republicans is led my their opponents not themselves. Some of the attacks towards Mr. DeSantis will be predictable and often, so it will be possible to prepare for them with concise and direct counter measures. They should not only counter these measure but go on the offensive to reinforce his actual record on all mediums especially social media and directly in communities which may normally not be GOP supporters. Recently the NAACP issued a travel advisory to blacks traveling to Florida as being hostile to blacks. It was filled with lies, and even though Mr. Desantis did counter with a few lines why their assertions were not true and said he didn’t want to waste time on responding to them. It was a missed opportunity to make an aggressive counter because those lies will be a basis for mischaracterizing his real record especially on race throughout the campaign especially if he becomes the nominee. It will also damage the GOP brand overall. The fake race card is liberals most effective weapon against Republicans and the American media is always enthusiastic in helping Democrats use it. It has been effective in distracting potential GOP voters from how conservative policies actually help people Democrats claim to care about while also distracting from how liberal policies are failing them.

Mr. DeSantis was falsely accused of trying to erase the teaching of black history when he actually signed bills such as House Bill 551 which added curriculum on black history such as the 1920 Ocoee Massacre and was reinforcing the teaching of other black history which is already required by law to be taught in Florida. He had rejected the victimhood and identity politics of CRT, DEI and irrelevant ‘Queer Studies’ from the curriculum which liberals have been using to keep race resentment alive. The false attacks were geared at deflecting from the facts that Florida has grown to be number one in the country for black business start ups, and also leading in school choice and proficiency standards which disproportionately helps black and poor children. Mr. Desantis should plan on going further on the offense regarding race than any GOP contender including has done including Mr. Trump. Not only call out how liberal policies, politicians and organizations are harming blacks and other minorities such as lower educational standards, lack of law and order and cost of living, but also set history right about Democrats and race. For too long Democrats have distorted history about race and Republicans as being racist while Democrats have avoided scrutiny in setting back civil rights for decades after the Civil War with Jim Crow and segregation. The first black members of Congress were all Republicans after the Civil War and Democrats fought to prevent more blacks from getting elected for decades. Mr. DeSantis can make an argument that his cultural war against Woke ideologies such as DEI, CRT and ESG is to make sure Democrats are not only able to set back racial progress decades, but also so they don’t exasperate current disparties among blacks and other groups while pretending to do otherwise. Its time a Republican candidate aggressively put Democrats on the defensive on how they are failing blacks and racial progress in America.

On many issues other issues especially his handling of COVID, his fight against woke policies and tax policies Mr DeSantis will have have to be pre-emptive in responding to false attacks especially as those attacks become repetitive.

Donald Trump: The former president is Mr. DeSantis main rival to become the GOP nominee. He is also a fierce attacker including using the same false lines to attack Mr. DeSantis and his conservative record that would normally come from Democrats. Mr. DeSantis not only has to beat Mr. Trump in the primaries, he has to so while winning a large portion of Mr. Trump’s supporters. A major part of that will be sowing doubt that Mr. Trump is the party’s best choice in 2024 and not taking the bait from Mr. Trump on personal juvenile attacks. Mr. DeSantis has been wise to remind voters that GOP needs to stop losing elections like is has been with Mr Trump as the party’s standard bearer. He also was wise to highlight that America needs a strong conservative leader that can serve another eight years, which sounded more realistic than Mr. Trump claiming he could fix it all in six months. He can reinforce that message by outlining that conservatism can only win when the bearing those standards takes priority more than the personal attention to the standard bearer. Too many issues are at stake for the GOP nominee’s personality to distract from the depth and discipline to solve them, and loyalty to the GOP standard bearer shouldn’t take precedence to loyalty applying conservative principles. Mr. Trump will also tout his record, but Mr. DeSantis can counter that posing doubts about how many more opportunities were and will be lost if Mr. Trumps indiscipline and ego takes the wind out of them if he is again the nominee. In addition, many of the accomplishments that Mr. Trump took credit for were because of the people he had around him or in Congress ( Kevin Brady, Paul Ryan and Tim Scott). Also he was protected from some of his worse instincts and self destruction by those people, such as Mike Pompeo, Bill Barr and Mike Pence.

Many key members of his administration including his Vice President are either challenging Mr. Trump for the nomination or not supporting him again for President. That says more about the former president than his staff and also cast doubts as to which credible person will want to work for him again. Mr. Trump will want to take credit for Mr. DeSantis’s rise in Florida. Yes he did support Mr. DeSantis’s initial run for governor like any other Republican would do, but Mr. Trump also got support from many prominent Republicans and conservatives in the media which helped him get the nomination in 2016. Mr. DeSantis won his first governor’s race in 2018 by a mere 32500 votes or less than 0.4% but won his re election by 19 points not because of Mr. Trump but because of his owned earned leadership record. A key distinction between Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Trump is that Mr. De Santis can run a more positive and empowering campaign compared to Mr. Trump’s frequent resentful and polarizing tone which turn off swing voters. The governor also proved this in his landslide re election victory last year.

Trying to out-do Mr. Trump on everything could backfire: Mr Desantis should take caution to not out-do Mr. Trump on everything while trying to win the primary which could haunt him if he does become the nominee. This includes bold promises which may practically be impossible but would require a significant amount of political capital while distracting from other issues. Mr. DeSantis recently in trying to out do Trump on immigration said he would seek to end birth right citizenship. That would require a constitutional amendment which on that issue would be almost impossible and hurt him in the general election. If there is a constitutional amendment which would win over broad support it would be term limits for elected representatives. Mr. Desantis also said promised mass deportation of illegal immigrants. That also would have millions of litigious strings and political minefields. He would have a better chance saying all immigration laws on the books will be enforced which would repel anyone trying to enter without legal authorization to do so. This includes the abuse of claiming asylum. As mentioned before, Mr. DeSantis’s main attribute and contrast to Mr. Trump is pragmatic leadership not outlandish behavior that is counterproductive to achieving attainable goals.

Rather than running trying to out do Mr. Trump, Mr. DeSantis should run a primary campaign on the same issues he will need to in the general if he is the is the nominee. He has to simultaneously win over GOP primary voters without alienating independents like he did in Florida his first term. In short, Mr. DeSantis needs to be himself not Mr Trump to win both the primary and general.

Going National: There have been many successful Republican governors with records of delivering on issues most Americans care about such as growing economies and opportunities who ran for president only to stumble on the national stage. Like Mr. DeSantis they also attracted major migration of people and businesses often with different political ideologies from other states. Some include former governors Rick Perry, Jeb Bush and the aforementioned Scott Walker.

Mr. DeSantis has eloquently highlighted this migration and why. His theme that “ Common Sense shouldn’t be an un-common virtue” should be amplified to highlight the results of mismanagement on the federal level and why his practical leadership is necessary. This theme should be complemented with another one reminiscent of Ronald Reagan and one which many immigrants like myself resonate with. People are moving to Florida more than any other state to get away from mis-management, if America goes the way like these states, there is no where else to to escape to. Blue states have emulated bad policies from liberals in Europe and Washington wants to emulate these failing policies from states like California and New York. America cannot remain a First World country and be resilient to things that threaten our national and economic security if we choose the path of being a Third World nation and the socialist aspects that keep many that way.

Rather than what is purported to be progressive, they are in fact regressive in hastening crime, disorder and lower quality of life in our cities and our border, lowering our educational standards to widen and maintain disparities despite billions spent, lowering meritocracy while China 8 graders are learning quantum computing and selecting their most qualified to beat us in every aspect, killing economic freedom and regressing racial relations via three letter acronyms like ESG, DEI and CRT. Similar to most approaches to COVID, regressivism has had an absolutist mindset devoid of real science, and debate in climate and energy policies while making us more vulnerable to China and Russia in every aspect of energy. It has also empowered elites, unelected agencies and big government to use extreme virtuous and utopian ideologies to coerce policies devoid of common sense other wise known as Wokisim. Since regressive politicians are using the same tactics as COVID to project ‘crisis’ like strategies to weaponize climate and energy policies in every aspect of American’s life,

Mr. DeSantis can apply the same common sense leadership approach to bring facts and proper debate to the issue and protect America from ideological climate extremism. In every opportunity Mr. DeSantis and other GOP candidates should stop using the word to ‘progressive’ to describe liberals and instead call it ‘Regressive’. A crucial offensive strategy is to transform perceptions so they be visualized into their true realities that will resonate, especially to keep the message the campaign wants to project.

Foreign Policy: Mr. DeSantis may have stumbled on his initial response to a question on Ukraine but he will need a firm footing to solidify his Commander-in-chief credentials. While his service in the military will be an asset, he will need a doctrine to steer America’s foreign policy into the 21st century. Apart from eliminating the Woke aspect in our military, it will still resonate well if he pursues accountability on the effectiveness and value of our military spending while supporting countries like Ukraine against tyranny. He can outline a strategy to unite the free world to counter the emerging China led axis including Russia, Iran, North Korea and also Cuba and Venezuela. Mr. DeSantis can set himself apart in the crowded field by outlining a Western Hemisphere strategy especially since China is solidifying partners in the region via its Belt and Road initiative. As such, he needs a vision of an America’s version of China’s BRI which could help decouple our vulnerable supply chains from China. Latin America and the Caribbean especially the industrialized nations such as Mexico, Brazil and Argentina could have be the global supply chain that China is now, but socialistic leadership in the region which has stifled economic freedom and law and order surrendered many opportunities. In the former Cold War, Communism and its ideas solidified the Soviet Union’s approach, in the current one China has simultaneously used socialistic ideas to grow allegiances while appealing to elites in many countries who favor big government.

China has is also locking in domination in controlling and influencing both traditional energy market sources such as oil and gas with the Saudis ( since President Biden pushed them into China’s orbit), but also crucial minerals for batteries and transporting electricity. A DeSantis foreign policy should motivate economic freedom rule of law and investment in regions specially close to the U.S. A strong and dominant energy policy could also make good energy diplomacy in foreign policies. He should propose more refineries to process our much cleaner fossil fuels compared to Venezuela and Middle East so he can strengthen ties to more countries. Also assist countries in getting capital they need to develop their own by reversing President Biden and regressive’s ESG mandates which have not only cut off capital to friendly countries like Guyana, but have led them to depend on China. This has also led to China having access to more deep water ports for their navy around the world.

Immigration: Mr DeSantis has been effective in calling out Regressive’s hypocrisy regarding illegal immigration and the impact it has had since President Biden overturned many of Mr. Trumps successful border security policies. While this issue has been one of Mr. Trump’s strongest among Republican voters, Mr DeSantis must prove he can do even better especially in winning over more Americans. Mr. DeSantis won immigrant dominated counties and areas in Florida in his last election which Republicans haven’t won in a long time mainly because of his strong economic record but also because he could project that while he is against illegal immigration he is not against immigration or immigrants. He can lead on the issue of immigration without the toxicity of Mr. Trumps rhetoric while implementing law and order at the border, but he will need to go one step further with a vision for the country on what to do with those who are already here illegally and what immigration in America should be in the future.

The GOP with a single legged stool immigration policy on only border security has left a leadership vacuum that allowed the two latter issues to be incubated and give birth to the destructive immigration policies Democrats implement when they have power. Mr. DeSantis should apply his ability to be pragmatic and propose a bold legal immigration plan to bolster a no nonsense border security. We cannot say we are a Super-power but cannot control our borders while allowing drug cartels to decide who comes in. He could start by pledging to stop the abuse of claiming refugee and asylum status and streamline it to those who deserve it including the many Afghan allies that where left behind after Mr. Biden’s disastrous withdrawal and those genuinely fleeing political prosecution. Those who do not properly meet the criteria for refugee status and are not able to provide for them selves would have to return to their countries. Citing the rationale of not being able to round up the millions who have entered the U.S illegally including before President Trump, Mr. DeSantis should propose where these immigrants must be accounted for or face immediate deportation via an Application of Status (AOS). Even those who properly meet the refugee status must go though back ground and medical checks like legal immigrants and visitors do. While a merit based immigration system has been widely supported, there should also be another one, a points based ‘ability to prosper’ or ATP criteria which can prove an immigrant either has merit based skills or the ambition to be self independent such as starting a business, which some have already over the years. This would not be amnesty because all immigrants who did not legally immigrate will now have to prove they can earn a status of residing in the U.S temporarily as a guest worker or entrepreneur. If successful in meeting this step then they can go though the traditional legal step of applying for permanent residence. If they can only show they meet this status seasonally then there should be an avenue for being a seasonal guest worker with States having input depending on labor needs. A pragmatic guest worker program especially for people from countries in the region would greatly alleviate people seeking to come and stay in the U.S permanently. Such a system could also orderly vet who could assimilate to earn a legal permanent status in the U.S. long term.

Mr. DeSantis leadership has resonated with many conservative immigrant like myself, especially those have seen how the regressive policies of Democrats are turning America into where many immigrants came from. He will need to the vast untapped GOP base of conservative immigrants to win the election and support his agenda. He will also win over independents with a message not often heard from the GOP that immigration is good for America, when there is law and order and when people who come here appreciate the ideals that made it great. Conservative immigrants would also help to counter the negative perceptions of Republicans and conservative policies which most people in the GOP have failed to adequately repel.

Setting Himself Apart from the Pack: Gov. DeSantis should set himself apart from the pack by strongly advocating that as President he will return the government back to the people by signing into law the REINS Act ( Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act) which would require Congressional approval of any major regulation defined ans costing $100 million or more per year. This law was passed by the GOP led House passed the REINS Act last June but will most likely need a Republican Senate and President for it to be signed into law. The massive expansion of government under Bidenomics is leading to trickle-down socialisim. This new Amerisocialism involves business leaders and asset management companies that control or manage trillions of dollars in private capital have colluded or will fully complied to allocate capital based on a government driven subsidies and mandates. Unelected bureaucrats in government departments such as the Transportation and Commerce department or agencies such as the EPA have unleashed dozens of pages of regulations costing trillions purported for Climate Change and race while their own data contradict attaining beneficial results. The REINS Act would vastly bring cost benefit analysis and transparency while helping to reduce runaway spending. Gov. DeSantis already declared he would sign the REINS Act into law but the public is largely un-aware of it, the media doesnt cover it and it did'nt even come up in the First GOP presidential debate on 8/23. The REINS Act would be a major step in reversing the damage of Bidenomics while enhancing economic freedom for all of America. Passing this bill should be center of both Mr. DeSantis's and the GOPs platform.

In the crowded GOP field also vying for the GOP presidential nomination, Mr DeSantis will find himself up against other governors with executive accomplishments and even some like Senator Tim Scott who has had legislative accomplishments and may who be perceived to be more personable and with positive messages. However, he can argue that none of them including Donald Trump has had the proven multifaceted depth of accomplishments in dealing with the most recent serious issues that will determine America’s future. He has addressed taxes and spending resulting in a surplus, universal school choice and education reform, including an constitutional amendment on school boards political make up, criminal and law and order reforms, tackling public union and giving members more control on dues collection, tort reform, countering ESG ( Environmental, Social and Governance) by mandating that state and local investments must focus on maximizing returns, also exceptionally responding to a devastating hurricane so well the national media which hoped to report on mismanagement rarely commented on how well Mr. DeSantis handled it.

While Mr. Trump may be his biggest challenger, Mr. DeSantis should be wary of another counter puncher, Chris Christie. The former NJ governor is quick on his feet and as we saw in 2016 can inflict viciously political damage to clear the field such as he did to Sen. Marco Rubio. Chris Christie best chances to become the nominee was in 2012 during his political peak. A lot has happened in the world and America since which Mr. DeSantis can make the argument that he is more relevant for our times. Vivek Ramaswamy, could also be a dark horse candidate that could very competitive in the primary. The young entrepreneur is very articulate and exhibits passion and a fluent understanding of economics which most politicians including conservatives can't. He also eloquently can define and describe the effects of Wokism which most cant either. The distinction again is that Mr. DeSantis has a accomplished record of elected office in these issues. It would be wise for Mr. DeSantis to point out early that the GOP has deep bench that would be remarkably better for America than anyone the Democrat party will put forward as a presidential candidate. Also he should hint that his primary competitors would fit well in his cabinet.

As a leader Mr. DeSantis passed the ultimate test of dealing with a once on a century pandemic. He applied judgment and immense courage on a range of facts and making pragmatic decisions based on independent advice and real science when many others caved to ‘going with the crowd response’. Florida boomed without inflicting the long term damage many other states did to themselves despite doom and gloom predictions in the media. He also did something which most leaders don’t have the courage to do and even Mr. Trump lagged, he held the ‘experts’ accountable on their theories and actually fought them when he rationally analyzed with real facts that they were wrong. This leadership quality will be crucial to deal with challenges America face because too often the ‘expert class’ on a range of issues whether it may be economics, climate policies, health care and national security have led us down disastrous paths. Mr. DeSantis has also proved he can simultaneously handle multiple challenges at the same time without wasting time and the distraction with petty rhetoric and drama.

The Woke Culture War is Worth Fighting: A significant distinction from others in the GOP presidential field is that Mr. DeSantis more than anyone else has been fighting the Wokism and with success which underpins every aspect of challenges and national suicide facing America today. As Mr. DeSantis has said, America’s decline is by choice. Wokisim defined as an extreme dystopian virtue signaling political correctness agenda to drive public policy today has been the manifesto regressives on the Left have decided to embrace. Every aspect of this agenda makes us more vulnerable to China and our adversaries while weakening us culturally, economically and militarily. Mr. DeSantis will have to carefully pick his battles in this area without overindulging in some like with Disney at the expense of not maximizing support on issues of tackling the effect on wokisim on cultural decay, parents rights and protecting kids from age inappropriate things such as sexual identity and trans-genderisim. Mr. DeSantis success in fighting Wokisim resonates well not only in a Republican primary but also amongst independents in the general election. Most Americans are experiencing its effect in one way or the other and can identify it as such. Creating a national path where Wokisim goes to die is a winnable battle that needs to be won to save America.

Conclusion: The same way Mr. DeSantis went from a barely won governor to one that won in a landslide re-election with accomplishments means he can win the nomination and presidency. He has defied skeptics before which means he has to be himself not anyone else. Focus on concise winning arguments but remember much more that on a national level optics and perceptions have greater impacts. If common sense does not again become the common virtue of governance in America, there is no where else to go after America if it is totally consumed by the woke agenda chasing people now to Florida.

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