AOC vs. Ron DeSantis for the Presidency in 2024? Get the Popcorn – 19FortyFive

AOC v. Ron DeSantis – The upcoming 2024 presidential election appears incredibly open-ended – with uncertainty surrounding both the Democrat and Republican tickets. 

On the Democrat’s side, the big question is whether incumbent Joe Biden will run for reelection is unclear. Biden is historically unpopular, and Biden is historically old, meaning he’s likely to withdraw from contention. Were Biden to withdraw, he would be the first president since Lyndon B. Johnson to opt out.

Ron DeSantis

Then U.S. Congressman Ron DeSantis of Florida speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

The vacuum created at the top of the DNC would inspire political chaos; each and every Democrat with name brand recognition would bid for the ticket. One name in the mix for potential Biden successors is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Barely into her thirties, AOC is going to be around for a while. One would imagine that a politician of AOC’s visibility would one day run for president. But is 2024 the year?

Know this: she would just make the constitutional age requirement if she won the presidency and took office in 2025. 

Few politicians enjoy AOC’s prominence. She is a bona fide celebrity, appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair, appearing on the red carpet at the Met Gala. She has 13 million Twitter followers and a legion of fawning fans.

Here’s a DNC communications strategist, Michael Starr Hopkins, gushing through an op-ed AOC. 

“Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is less of a personality and more of a movement. Yes, the smart, photogenic congresswoman is the face of the rising progressive movement, but she is also the future of the Democratic Party. AOC has cultivated a following beyond politics. She’s an influencer in its purest form. Her ability to relate to her supporters and allow them a glimpse into her private life is a blueprint for Democrats trying to act less like mannequins and more like humans.”

It’s hard to read a grown man fanboying like this, but the op-ed offers a valuable insight into how the left generally perceives AOC. Starr Hopkins thinks AOC is ready for 2024. “She has been unafraid, unapologetic and unwilling to bend to the will of Washington. She is a force to be reckoned with, and in 2024 Democrats are going to need her force to reckon with Republicans.”

To rationalize AOC’s candidacy, Starr Hopkins offers a string of platitudes, each vapider than the last: “AOC wields a superpower that is rarely found in Washington: She isn’t afraid to lose,” “AOC has the ability to tell the story of her generation,” “Ocasio-Cortez represents the possibilities and opportunities that make our country great,” “AOC has become the face of a generation,” “AOC rarely backs down from a fight,” “the congresswoman holds no punches.”

And there you have it in a nutshell – a synopsis of the left’s love affair with AOC; the left loves AOC– but can’t really point to anything meaningful that she has accomplished. They can’t point to her legislative record and say ‘she did X, Y, and Z’ – they can only point to her Twitter record and say AOC “holds no punches.” Yeah, okay. AOC is more of a marketing ploy than a politician. 

In the unlikely event AOC secured the 2024 DNC ticket, she would potentially face Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. Former president Donald Trump is still the Las Vegas favorite to head the GOP ticket – but DeSantis is quickly emerging as a viable alternative. Should Trump opt out of the 2024 race, DeSantis would indeed become the top candidate. 

A new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll showed that were Trump to withdraw, DeSantis would become the favorite, with 34 percent support – 15 points ahead of a three-way tie for second place between former Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Ted Cruz, and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. 

DeSantis has very traditional credentials. He was a talented baseball player, with blue-collar roots who earned a B.A. from Yale and a J.D. from Harvard. He served as a Navy JAG before being elected to the House of Representatives and then governor of Florida. DeSantis has endeared himself to the conservative base; In 2021, he signed into law a bill that prohibited schools, business, and governments from requiring proof of COVID vaccination; in 2022, he signed into law the Parental Rights in Education Act AKA the “Don’t Say Gay Law” that prohibits public school instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation before fourth grade.

Through sticking to right-wing cultural points, DeSantis has favor amongst the right – but he hasn’t operated with the bombast that turned moderates off of Trump. DeSantis could certainly have broader appeal than Trump – plus more experience (pre-presidency) in government – which makes DeSantis a particularly concerning candidate for the left – someone who can win office and then operate within that office to enact deeply conservative policies. If the left wants to avoid a DeSantis presidency, they may need to offer a stronger alternative than AOC. 

A DeSantis v. AOC showdown is unlikely yet possible. Such a format would represent a significant transition for both parties – as they move from the old-guard to the new. 

Harrison Kass is the Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken. Follow him on Twitter @harrison_kass.

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