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Ramesh Ponnuru

Ron DeSantis Isn’t a Trump Clone. He’s Just a Republican.

Liberal critics falsely label the Florida governor Trumpy, but that’s just a crowd-pleasing way to deplore the things they dislike about most GOP politicians.

Not really a Trumpy look.

Not really a Trumpy look.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

If Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is the Republican presidential nominee in 2024, it’s already obvious what one of the main Democratic lines of attack will be: He’s just like Donald Trump, only worse.

He increasingly acts like his role model, the tyrannical Donald Trump,” the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale editorialized last year. Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat wrote at CNN’s website that he has a “mini-Trump brand” (and also reminds her a bit of Mussolini). Molly Jong-Fast, in a newsletter for The Atlantic, concluded her tour of press clips about the governor with this conclusion: “DeSantis may prove to be the Trojan Trump who finally brings down American democracy.”