Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.
— Steve’s Marketplace —
As good as Ron DeSantis is as governor, he is equally bad as a presidential candidate.
Terrible timing, blind guidance and boggled messaging are sinking his campaign at titanic proportions – along with his political future. If history is a guide, it’ll be nearly irreversible.
DeSantis will likely limp back to Florida to unaddressed problems (like homeowners’ insurance), defeated and humbled. His once-bright future as “America’s Governor” is in jeopardy, even losing his duel with Mickey Mouse. It’s too bad. If he had waited until the 2028 presidential election, he would have been untouchable.
According to recent reports, DeSantis is reshuffling his election staff and shedding workers to save money, always a kiss of death. Greed and ego have clouded his judgement.
He went from poor to wealthy by way of a $1.2 million advance for his new book. He also depended on pro-establishment mega-donors, earning the nickname “Ron DeSwamptis.” And he listened to the Bush and Cheney families and ultimate “RYNO” Paul Ryan (who is also sinking Fox News as a board member there).
So, he got talked into running, fed by a seething hatred for main foe Donald Trump. For all his efforts, DeSantis is trailing frontrunner Trump by 32 points in the Real Clear Politics average – a truly insurmountable lead.
Ironic as it is, Trump molded the DeSantis political brand, but is now tarnishing it for disloyalty with the moniker “Ron DeSanctimonious.” DeSantis sought out Trump’s support in his first run for governor, and he prevailed only because of it.
Likely, the last hope is the contrived legal actions against Trump weaken him, but surprisingly have made him stronger. Three more fictitious cases and subsequent charges are expected, but the American public has caught on to these politically calculated maneuvers.
Back home, the homeowners’ insurance debacle is the gravest concern. A related mess is the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which drives home the insurance shortcomings.
DeSantis called two special sessions to address the inadequacies of our homeowners’ insurance market, and the reliance on state-funded Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. The disappointing sessions yielded few improvements, despite a super majority of Republicans.
Without a quick solution, Citizens will be further inundated with uninsured homeowners. As its name implies, Citizens is the insurance company of last resort for Floridians – not the primary insurer.
By the latest count, only five major companies provide homeowners’ insurance in Florida, after six others became insolvent. For political reasons, Florida has failed to make companies offering lucrative automobile insurance to also provide less-appealing homeowners’ coverage.
Legislators can no longer hide behind their desks from thorny issues like these. We have enough of that already. Upon his return, DeSantis should focus on homeowners’ coverage instead of on Disney.
In reflection, DeSantis’s weaknesses have been exposed on the presidential trail. He obviously lacks judgement, heeding advice from faulty advisors. If his judgement is that weak, he would be a lousy president anyway, with the cronyism and corruption of Washington, D.C. Young and inexperienced in the real world, he would sink in the swamp.
To the dismay of DeSantis supporters, Trump can appeal any convictions in the plethora of cases against him all the way to the Supreme Court. This will tie up cases far past next November’s election. Once again, the Never Trumpers are the ever-foiled coyotes, and Trump is the roadrunner.
Critics say Trump won’t resonate with people outside of his expanding base. Yet his loyal base tallies 75 million people who legitimately voted for him last time. He is now attracting Hispanics and Blacks to bolster his base. You wonder if independents will be drawn to the radical leftist agenda of the Biden administration. Let’s not forget that Biden ran on a moderate platform.
Many Floridians (including me) supported DeSantis when he ran against swampy Adam Putnam, and then disaster-in-waiting Andrew Gillum. But DeSantis misled voters in his overwhelming re-election, spurning questions about seeking the presidential nomination.
His intentions became obvious, when he convinced his crony state legislators to preserve his governorship if he ran for president. Now, there are exposed cracks in what was a formidable figure.
On a positive note, Florida’s political future is bright, with a bench as deep at the Pacific Ocean. Prominent young Republicans include Francis Suarez, Byron Donalds, Anna Paulina Luna, Matt Gaetz and Jeanette Nunez.
Nunez, a uniquely rising star, is caught in a conundrum. She has avidly supported Trump, but serves as lieutenant governor under DeSantis.
One name is noticeably omitted from this list. He’ll go down in history with an asterisk by his name, footnoting his colossal meltdown, and defying fall from grace. It’ll look like this: *Ron DeSantis.
Steve Nicklas is the managing partner of Nicklas Wealth Management in Fernandina Beach. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns also regularly appear in weekly newspapers in Northeast Florida and in Southeast Georgia, and on his website at www.SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has published a book, “All About Money,” of his favorite columns from the past 20 years. The book is available on Amazon. He has also done financial reports for area radio stations and for National Public Radio in Jacksonville. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 904-753-0236.)