The lessons learned from the 2016 presidential and down-ballot elections seem to be lost on the old guard Republican establishment in Florida. The wave of voter alienation and dissatisfaction with “politics as usual” that President Trump rode into office is as strong as ever, as is disdain for career politicians. Yet, the party establishment has lined up in the gubernatorial primary behind a career politician – Adam Putnam – who opposes the president’s efforts to secure our southern border and stop illegal immigration.
Worse, Putnam did his best to sabotage Trump’s election by saying, among other things, that he is not “a level, steady, consistent guy who is a well-read, conservative.” The 4,617,886 Floridians who voted for Donald Trump would disagree. Moreover, the president’s actions during his first 18 months in office belie Putnam’s contention.
It is ironic that, given Putnam’s voting record, he dares to question anyone’s conservative credentials. His opponent in the primary, Ron DeSantis, hammered Putnam at last week’s gubernatorial debate for the former congressman’s vote against allowing troops to assist in securing our southern border — the only member of Florida’s delegation to do so. This is as anti-border security as it gets.
DeSantis also ripped his opponent for supporting what DeSantis called the “Obama-Schumer Gang of 8 amnesty bill” — the “biggest amnesty in history.” DeSantis pointed out that the bill would have lowered wages for American workers and incentivized additional illegal immigration into our country. That Putnam went out of his way to endorse the bill — he was Florida’s agriculture commissioner at the time and not in the Congress — was so gratuitous that it neatly demonstrates his strong pro-amnesty impulses.
The GOP establishment cannot really think that Putnam’s voting record will inspire Republican voters to turn out in the numbers needed to win the general election if Putnam somehow secures the nomination. So, why is the old guard lining up behind him instead of DeSantis, the candidate endorsed by Trump?
One simple reason: DeSantis threatens their establishment existence. He will do in Florida what Trump is doing at the national level – drain the swamp and put an end to politics as usual. This is what over 4.6 million Floridians said they want, yet the old guard has turned a deaf ear to the voice of the people. This is the reason that voter alienation remains so high.
President Trump needs governors who will work with him to Make America Great Again. Ron DeSantis will be one of those governors. Don’t take my word for it, take Donald Trump’s word for it from a recent tweet:
“Congressman Ron DeSantis . . . is strong on Borders, tough on Crime & big on Cutting Taxes – Loves our Military & our Vets. He will be a Great Governor & has my full Endorsement!”
The party establishment in Florida got this one wrong. They acted on their personal interests in retaining power by backing a career politician – Putnam has been in elected office since he was 22 years old – with a problematic voting record instead of Ron DeSantis, an Iraq War veteran with a conservative voting record and the full support of the president. How did the old guard get such an easy call so wrong?