Post # 172, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary
For President in 2024, it is Trump, or perhaps DeSantis or Scott against Biden; then for President in 2028, it could be Crist, Fried or Demings against DeSantis, Scott or Rubio.
Because of Florida's size as the third largest state by population, votes in the sunshine state have to be important. Add to that the state has been a toss up between the Republicans and Democrats for over 20 years, peaking with the legendary nail biter Bush-Gore Election of 2000. Add to that further, Florida is somewhat a snapshot of what our country may become in the future--clusters of similar voters--traditional southerners, minority voters (Black, Hispanic, and Asian), retirees, transplants for the weather, beaches, or taxes), and military. It is not surprising then that most politicos suggest that as Florida goes, so goes the country in Presidential elections.
With that as the introduction, a careful look at key Floridians today will result in a future President probably coming from the Sunshine State in the next 2 elections:
Transplanted Floridian President Donald Trump (R). If not indicted and jailed, look for Trump to run again against President Biden or probably Vice President Harris. Regardless, Floridian Trump is the singular most powerful influence in American politics for the foreseeable future. His financial and legal troubles are probably his largest hurdle throughout his remaining lifetime.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R). Assuming he wins re-election in 2022 and only if Trump does not run, look for our Governor to run as a near favorite Republican candidate for President in 2024. Even his opponents feel he has grown into his office, perhaps at the expense of the suburban Republicans and moderate Democrats, which were his base.
Florida Congressman Charlie Crist (D). A former Florida Governor trying to re-take the Governorship in Florida, but this time as a Democrat. Probably the favorite in the Primary. Deeply disliked among his former party faithful, and somewhat untrusted by many Democrats, he still remains the favorite to win the Primary. If he were to win, he would immediately become a probable candidate for President in the future.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D). Also a candidate for Governor, she is the only Democrat to win a statewide office in 2018 as Agriculture Commissioner. Although the most obscure Cabinet office, the Ag Commissioner does have powerful political supporters. Fried's historic support has been in the narrow medical marijuana industry and she is probably the underdog against Crist in the Primary. If she were to upset Crist and beat DeSantis, she would become an immediate potential candidate for President.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R). A Republican running for re-election, with almost unlimited potential, but unable to maintain a consistent record and message. He badly needs Trump's endorsement, which he will do almost anything to obtain. Probable candidate for President again, if re-elected.
Florida Congresswoman Val Demings (D). A candidate for U.S. Senate and very attractive on paper--minority, woman, law enforcement background, and aggressive debater, that is liked by the press. If she pulls the upset, she will probably become an immediate prime candidate for President. She probably has the best chance of statewide Democrat victory.
Florida U.S. Junior Senator Rick Scott (R). Not running for election in 2020 but probably most important Republican Senator running the Republican Campaign to re-take the U.S. Senate. Scott, has his eye on running for President in 2024, if Trump does not run, and four years later if Trump does run. As previously noted in the column, Senator Scott dislikes Governor DeSantis which will probably play into Floridians running for President in the future.