By Ambra Visentin

The next US presidential election will be a battle between Republicans. According to polls, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is currently the most promising Republican candidate, along with former President Donald Trump. However, the gap between the two is still impressive. is currently the most promising Republican candidate, along with former President Donald Trump. The Florida governor has yet to reverse his own free fall. Donald Trump would indeed lead his rival by a spectacular margin – 53.6 pNo more loser culture. Republican candidate and Florida governor Ron DeSantis wants to propose a new right and challenge Trump in the presidential cent to 21 per cent (data from FiveThirtyEight). However, after the mid-term elections in November 2022, there was a growing appetite in the Republican ranks for an alternative to the former president, who nevertheless managed to put himself back in the spotlight by exploiting the legal investigations against him.

DeSantis, 44, has been governor of the state of Florida since the beginning of 2019. He was re-elected in November 2022 with an excellent result. This has strengthened his position and his commitment to bigger things. He has long been seen as Trump’s biggest internal rival, having been a mentor of sorts to him years ago. But his popularity is waning. In Florida itself, the more extreme laws passed by the local legislature on abortion, open carry or LGBTQ minorities are not gaining widespread support. One example is the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, which initially made it taboo to talk about gender identity in Florida elementary schools and was later extended to all schools. It also banned sex reassignment surgery for minors in his state. DeSantis has also significantly lowered the threshold for death sentences, moved against sex education on racism in schools and questioned US support for Ukraine.

On 24 May, on the occasion of the official announcement of his candidacy and in conversation with Elon Musk and his interviewer David Sacks, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Ron DeSantis criticised a ‘culture of defeat’ on the right and rejected the ‘tired dogmas of the past’: a government is not for ‘fun’, it is not about ‘building a brand’. He went on to criticise the draconian measures taken against Covid-19, bitcoin, immigration or the Florida governor’s fight against the Disney group.

DeSantis is addressing the MAGA (Make America Great Again) movement, the new focus of the Republican Party, which worships Elon Musk in an attempt to seduce Donald Trump’s fans by convincing them that he is a thing of the past and doomed to fail against Joe Biden in 2024. The Republican has declared war on so-called wokeness, a term that originally referred to racial discrimination. But conservatives in the US now use it in a pejorative way, complaining that it goes too far in tackling various forms of discrimination.

The governor will rely on a powerful Super PAC (public action committee), Never Back Down. This promises a wealth of resources – more than $200 million (186 million euros), according to the New York Times – and an unparalleled network of activists on the ground.

Cover image: Ron DeSantis, © Gage Skidmore on Flickr