By Steve Nicklas, 10-16-23
Absentee Florida governor Ron DeSantis has received enough bad advice recently to jeopardize a once-promising political career.
In contrast, here’s some good advice from an unlikely source – former mentor, and now foe, Donald Trump. It’s time for DeSantis to abandon his withering presidential campaign. And come home to do his job as governor.
“Florida is in the midst of an insurance crisis like never before,” Trump said last week during an election speech at Club 47 in West Palm Beach. “While he has been flying around the country, setting fire to his reputation – and destroying the reputation of Florida.”
DeSantis trails front-runner Trump by more than 40 points in Republican primary polls. It’s an insurmountable lead, unless Trump is jailed from his pending indictments or something comparable. Apparently this is the convoluted strategy of the DeSantis campaign.
“You got to be back here to fix the insurance crisis,” Trump said. “Because insurance is a real problem in Florida. Insurers are fleeing, and you’re paying sky-high rates. Seniors are getting squeezed, and families and businesses are being forced to leave your state.”
The urgent problem is property insurance for homeowners and businesses. Both are suffering from escalating rates, with limited protections. With no solution in sight.
“Insurance costs have more than doubled under DeSantis, while he’s raised millions of dollars from insurance companies,” Trump said. “So he gets money from insurance companies he’s supposed to be watching, so he can run for president and make a fool out of himself.”
In the meantime, “Florida families are getting clobbered while he’s off in his failing campaign,” Trump said.
While insurance costs are the 800-pound alligator, there are other mounting concerns in Florida. There are remnants of two hurricanes. Illegal migrants are pouring in, inundating our schools and social network. A recession lingers like a Category 5 hurricane, capable of de-feathering the golden goose of tourism. Inflation is gutting the low- and middle-income classes. And his now-personal dispute with corporate titan Disney hovers over the state.
The sun of prosperity could set on the Sunshine State while its leader is away chasing an illusion of fame and riches. We are a rudderless ship.
Looking back, DeSantis promised a lot of things to get re-elected by a record margin. However, he never committed to staying in Florida for four years.
In comparison, DeSantis is failing in his presidential pursuit like Andrew Gillum running for Florida governor. After losing to DeSantis, Gillum’s once-illustrious future went up in smoke and evaporated like Fourth of July fireworks.
Obviously DeSantis got talked into running. He listened to the old Republican establishment that despises Trump. And DeSantis could be absent from office until the Republican convention in July. His handlers and donors may demand that in return.
That’s the way the sordid political system works. A candidate takes money from wealthy donors to campaign — and becomes obligated. It’s legal, common, and wrong.
Trump is immune from these dirty practices. Trump doesn’t need their money, ignoring their self-indulgent influences. Trump is worth billions from his business empire; DeSantis is lucky to be worth $1 million after a lucrative book deal.
Back home, state officials are understandably reluctant to discuss the impact or costs of DeSantis being away and preoccupied. After all, the Republican-dominated legislature granted DeSantis a leave of absence to run.
DeSantis has been an outstanding governor, until now. He has helped preserve Florida as one of the few large states under conservative control. Texas is another. However, Texas is gradually changing from an influx of illegal migrants and transplants from liberal hotspots like California. The same with Georgia and North Carolina.
While Georgia has a quasi-Republican governor in Brian Kemp, he just extended a suspension on state-levied gasoline taxes to help struggling residents. DeSantis halted gas taxes for a month, saving state residents 25 cents a gallon, and rightfully boasted about it during an appearance in Jacksonville. That was a year ago, however.
“It’s time for DeSantis to hang it up,” said Trump, who has become a Florida resident. “We have to take care of the people of Florida, who are really being neglected. You have a governor who’s never in the state.”
Steve Nicklas is the managing partner of Nicklas Wealth Management in Fernandina Beach. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns 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.
The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida.