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Watch: Ron DeSantis' Victory Lap

A leftover from last week, which I wanted to be sure to highlight.  Leah covered Florida's extraordinary, record-breaking tourism numbers, which Gov. Ron DeSantis has been justifiably touting for days.  He continued to share clips over the weekend of a recent press conference he gave on the subject, which piqued my interest enough to find the full video.  If you don't have time to watch the entire half-hour-plus, just start at the beginning and watch the first six minutes or so.  I realize some people are puzzled by DeSantis' political appeal.  They, especially, should watch this.  It's a mini-informercial for the Florida boom, and helps explain why the state's governor is currently above-water by double digits in public opinion polls, appearing on track for a comfortable re-election, at a time when President Biden is slightly underwater in even the bluest of states, California:

As I've argued before, it's beyond obvious that the Left (Democrats, news media, etc) view this guy as a serious political threat; they've even started test-driving inevitable and predictable "worse than Trump" talking points.  A few points to highlight from this messaging: (1) Near the very beginning, DeSantis notes that Florida is a very low-tax state, yet it has experienced a massive and unexpected mid-pandemic increase in tax revenue.  Growth and opportunity in a favorable business climate is a remarkable force.  (2) DeSantis coincidentally just happened to contrast Florida's economic outcomes with those in New York (out-performing the Empire State on international tourism last quarter) and California (eclipsing a much larger state on business formations), illustrating why I suspect he welcomes the barbs being directed at him by Gavin Newsom.  He'd happily lean into that feud.

(3) In mentioning the large number of Canadians who have come to Florida during the pandemic (juxtaposing 'Free Florida' with...less than free Canada was also no accident, I'd imagine), DeSantis boasted that Florida was able to provide life-saving COVID vaccines to older Canadian property owners in the state at a time when the shots were widely unavailable up in Justin Trudeau's country. (4) Starting at the 2:25 mark, DeSantis makes a direct pitch for vacationing in Florida, citing the risk of getting stranded abroad, or getting hounded about masks and vaccine papers domestically.  "People know that when they come here, they can actually have a vacation," he says.  The 'vacation to freedom' slogan emblazoned on the podium isn't just theoretically appealing.  The
numbers bear out the strong appeal of that message:

(5) About five minutes into the above clip, DeSantis points out -- with apparent relish -- the reality that among the record-setting 118 million visitors to Florida last year were more than a few restrictionist politicians and media figures.  DeSantis has mentioned before that about half-a-dozen pro-mandate governors have come to Florida during the pandemic, in addition to the AOC's and Eric Swalwell's of the world.   Then there's fired CNN 'news' anchor Chris Cuomo, who repeatedly ripped the Sunshine State's COVID approach on the air (we all know who his disgraced older brother is, of course, and Florida's COVID death rate is ten slots better than New York's, despite having an older population), but has apparently been relaxing down in Florida's freedom now that he has a lot of free time on his hands.

DeSantis doesn't name any names in this press conference, but it's not too difficult to decipher who he's talking about.  "Almost all of them have been criticizing Florida for a year-and-a-half, and yet many of them are part of our visitation figures, coming down to Florida. you find them on the beach, you find them somewhere else, at some resort.  All the while, they're treating their own people very poorly, and criticizing us for treating people with respect and protecting their freedoms," he says. "But look, people vote with their feet -- what they do is often more important than what they say."  Clean hit.  I'll leave you with this study in contrasts:


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