Ron DeSantis Rally in Arizona Was a Barn Burner

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared in Arizona on Sunday evening, taking center stage at a rally meant to bolster the state-leading candidacies of Blake Masters and Kari Lake. The event, which was hosted by Turning Point USA, took place in front of a packed house.

The rally was the first of several by DeSantis meant to help non-Florida GOP candidates over the finish line in November, flexing and building up his political influence along the way. In Arizona, he hit on a variety of subjects, including some that will no doubt have the left crying foul.

That’s a topic you aren’t supposed to broach. After all, we’ve all been assured that the 2020 election was the “most secure election” in US history. Of course, reality tells a different story. 2020 was a haphazard series of last-minute voting law changes (some proven to be illegitimate, as in Wisconsin) meant to bolster Democrat turnout in what was already going to be a razor-thin election in the states that mattered.

DeSantis’ framing of the subject is smart because it’s so obviously true. The way to critique the 2020 election has always been to point out what Democrats did at the state level to sway things, not to obsess over marginal theories surrounding voting machines and such. Voting laws also represent the battleground that can most readily be fought on with electoral power. DeSantis’ call is a reminder that Republicans must stand in the way of future attempts to subvert our elections, and no “emergency” provides enough justification to do so.

Moving past that, DeSantis nailed the FBI for its recent raid on Mar-a-Lago as a broader criticism of the weaponization of the DOJ.

When you see someone hit the laundry list of all the corrupt, partisan actions taken by the FBI over the last seven years, it hits hard. Yes, the raid on Trump’s home was terrible, but it was only the latest in a long list of abuses of power, from the falsification of the Carter Page FISA warrant to targeting parents for speaking out at school board meetings. There is no greater task for the next Republican president than to gut these agencies, and DeSantis, if he’s that guy, has shown that he understands the issue and is willing to take action.

But it’s the social issues where the Florida governor really stands out, and he put that on display as well.

DeSantis has differentiated himself on the right as the top leader in punishing woke-ness and destroying it in our institutions. From fighting “gender-affirming care” to Critical Race Theory in schools, he’s stood up when other Republicans didn’t, willing to put it all on the line to do what is right. That’s his most laudable quality. He’s not scared of consequences, and you’ll never hear him blame a bad decision on having bad advisors or see him abscond from a good decision because he was talked out of it.

So many sat by and told him it was political suicide to go after Disney and to keep Florida the freest state during COVID-19. He didn’t care. He did what was right, and now he’s reaping the rewards. That’s a lesson that should be heeded by the rest of the GOP.

Of course, I promised you some barn burning at the rally, and that job was finished off by Kari Lake, who had this to say about DeSantis and Donald Trump.

I haven’t been secretive about the fact that I’m skeptical of Lake given her past, and she’s certainly got a little “Leroy Jenkins” in her. Blake Masters is a much better, more palatable candidate to a general electorate, in my opinion, but what’s done is done. I hope Lake knows what she’s doing because, at the end of the day, this isn’t about going viral for the people who already love you, it’s about winning the election. November will tell the tale.

Back to DeSantis, he’s stretching his wings a bit, and I think there’s a lot of well-thought-out strategy behind him doing these rallies for these Trump-backed candidates. I still steadfastly believe he’s running in 2024, but either way, he’s building a coalition that will help him nationally whenever he takes the leap.