Since easily winning re-election this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn’t said much about his political future.
He didn’t have to. Speculation is rife that DeSantis is considering a presidential bid, using his landslide victory in Florida as a springboard for a national campaign.
Donald Trump is also paying attention.
“I could tell you things about him that are not going to be very flattering, because I know more about him than anybody, except maybe his wife,” Trump said on Election Day.
Trump’s daughter, Lara Trump, echoed that sentiment on Monday. “I can tell you that those primaries tend to be very messy and very raw,” he said. “So wouldn’t it be nicer, and I think you know this, to wait until 2028?”
While the Trump wing of the party believes DeSantis should wait until at least 2028 to launch a White House bid, there’s a simple reason why he shouldn’t, and it’s all about timing.
It’s politics all about time And history proves it.
When Barack Obama announced that he would run for president less than two years after being elected to the Senate, skeptics were legion – that he had not put in the time to earn the right to run.
Those skeptics did not go away. But Obama was not completely hindered by his lack of experience in a national campaign, which was actually something that appealed to some voters.
Obama understood that the time was right, even though Hillary Clinton was the heavy favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. Timing was everything.
On the other hand, think of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. In 2012, he was heavily courted as a candidate for the presidency by Republicans worried that they did not have a suitable candidate who could beat Obama.
Christie ultimately decided against the race. “Now is not my time,” Christie said in October 2011. “I have a commitment to New Jersey that I won’t just give up on.”
Christie finally ran for president in 2016. And it didn’t go well. He dropped out after a disastrous sixth-place finish in the New Hampshire primary. Christie then backed Trump and spent the rest of the campaign under him, tarnishing his image. Now Christie is trying to reinvent herself as someone willing to tell Trump the truth. But the damage is done.
The examples of Obama (on the positive side) and Christie (on the negative side) should guide DeSantis as he makes his decision. Four years is a very long time. Things change in politics. What has momentum now may not have the same momentum in a year, let alone four years.
DeSantis is, at the moment, the hottest thing going on in the Republican Party. Given that status, doing anything other than running for president – even if it means running against Trump – in two years looks like a huge mistake.