How Ron DeSantis can secure his lead among GOP presidential contenders

Published January 31, 2023

The Washington Post

If Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis decides to enter the 2024 Republican presidential race, he almost certainly will do so after his state’s legislative session ends in early May. Until then, he should use that session to burnish his already formidable national identity by focusing on three areas of interest to GOP primary voters: immigration, education and abortion.

Immigration remains a hot-button issue, especially for conservatives. DeSantis has already highlighted his opposition to illegal immigration with his politically brilliant stunt over the summer of flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., a vacation mecca for elite liberals. Nonetheless, he would benefit from having something tangible to bring to the national stage to show he is even stronger and more successful than former president Donald Trump on the issue.

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Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.

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