The window of opportunity. The dictionary defines the term as, “[A] period of time during which some action can be taken that will achieve a desired outcome.”
It’s not something you’ll find on the side of a house or office building, but if conceptualized properly, the window of opportunity unlocks and shuts like any opening in a static wall. It can be cracked and widened at times or completely ignored and narrowed, but in general, the window of opportunity is beyond any mortal human’s ability to control. American politics certainly isn’t set apart from windows of opportunity. Perhaps the best embodiment of the concept is former president Donald Trump himself, who grasped the chance to run for the White House as a Washington outsider at precisely the correct moment (2016) and rode his own capability to one of the greatest political upsets in history. Trump had contemplated running for the top job several times before and rejected the notion because the time wasn’t ripe. Eight years of elitist dominance and exploitation of the “forgotten Americans” by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and the rest of the national Democrats blew open a massive window of opportunity for Trump – and he was wise enough to jump through it. Sure, Trump had intrinsic advantages that allowed him to attempt such a risky endeavor – like universal fame and a family fortune that provided the ability to self-fund much of his early campaign – a luxury no other Republican candidate could afford.
Trump is taking his time to formally announce whether he’ll mount another presidential run in 2024, but there’s little doubt his window of opportunity to make a comeback in American politics is closing rapidly. It’s 2024 or never for the 45th president. Others are perhaps weighing a run but delaying until Trump reveals his intentions first.
One such possible contender is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the hottest commodity in conservatism today (next to Trump, of course) and someone who’s viewed as both an up-and-comer and an established contemporary leader at the same time. At age 44, one would think DeSantis’s “window of opportunity” has longevity and staying power. But not everyone sees it this way. In a piece titled “Of Course Ron DeSantis Will Run…and He May Very Well Win”, the hard-hitting and brutally blunt conservative bomb-thrower Kurt Schlichter wrote at Townhall last week:
“The 2024 cycle is undoubtedly Ron DeSantis’s moment. He won a first election that everyone expected him to lose as the governor of the Free State of Florida. He will win a crushing victory over secret lizard-person Charlie Crist this November. And he has set about owning the libs hard not merely by humiliating them for their hypocrisy with awesome moves like sending illegals to Martha’s Vineyard but with substantive conservative policies that are sucking the remaining productive people out of hellscapes like New York and California...
“Ron DeSantis is … not dumb, and neither is Trump, who sees the governor of New Alligatoria as his only real competition. The libs are dumb, but even they see it. That’s why we are already getting the inevitable ‘Trump is literally Hitler, but DeSantis is literally Hitler²’ articles and tweets.
“The stars have aligned. All the pieces fit. The time is now. Ron DeSantis really has no choice but to run if he ever wants to be president – he will never have a better chance. Just ask ex-President Christie.”
As he alluded to in the last sentence, Schlichter thinks DeSantis would be committing a major career-altering blunder by failing to leap through his wide-open window of opportunity this cycle. Put another way, you gotta strike when the iron is hot, or dance when the music is playing or… buy the dang house while the interest rates are (were) low and you still can. You get the picture.
Kurt surmises Chris Christie should’ve run in 2012 when he was “hottest”, but didn’t. Or the same thing with Mario Cuomo in 1988 or 1992. Barack Obama saw his opening in 2008 and took it. The rest is history. From his immense storehouse of practical wisdom, Schlichter has touched on the subject of a possible Trump/DeSantis rivalry a few previous times, but his latest venture into the topic was his most insightful. The mystery of who will represent the Republican Party in 2024 has been raised from time to time, mostly from the eyeball and click-through-seeking mainstream establishment media, but the elusive notion of who might be the future standard bearer for the GOP has been practically tucked away lately. Be it from the wave of negativity cresting over the news from the ridiculous and Constitution-stomping Mar-a-Lago FBI raid last month to the slight resurgence of senile president Joe Biden’s poll numbers to the intense campaign being waged by both parties in pursuit of seats in the next Congress, the possibility that Donald Trump would be challenged by DeSantis kind of took a backseat recently to everything else that’s been going on. But a single news flash changed everything last week.
Just when some were starting to doubt DeSantis’s ability to pull off such a brilliant, trailblazing public relations stunt came his attention-grabbing move of sending a planeload of Florida-based illegal aliens to the epicenter of the snobby liberal cultural elitist universe, Martha’s Vineyard, where Teddy Kennedy’s ghost might’ve been present to greet them. DeSantis had threatened to do something like this before, and the conservative Republican governors of other states have shipped out aliens to major “sanctuary cities” for months now, but this one was a show-stopper.
The others had plopped buses full of illegal migrants in the middle of downtowns, where Democrat mayors would hypocritically gripe and moan about the strain being placed on their already overburdened welfare operations. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott additionally directed a few buses full of “undocumented” individuals to vice president cackling Kamala Harris’s official residence after she insisted the border was closed in a media interview.
All of these actions generated news buzz and positive feedback from conservatives. The various blue state governors and “woke” big city mayors were receiving a dose of their own medicine – and they didn’t appreciate how it was crammed down their gullets.
But for DeSantis to leave a few score aliens at the Martha’s Vineyard airport, just a hop, skip and a jump from Barack Obama’s seaside vacation complex? It took some real “stones” to follow-through with that idea. And that’s why every conservative admires Ron DeSantis. He did it again. He took a concept – in this case, the border crisis – and placed it before everyone to see.
And he did it with a smile on his face, as always.
There’s little doubt DeSantis has wedged his foot in the door of a possible credible presidential campaign, and if pursued, he could give Donald Trump a run for his proverbial money, even if current polls show the “incumbent” well ahead in the head-to-head race. His window of opportunity is certainly open, but how much? And even more importantly, is it as Schlichter argued, now or never for DeSantis?
I respect Kurt’s opinion, but I don’t think you can place the young Florida governor in the same category as Chris Christie or Mario Cuomo three decades ago. The first distinction between them involves where DeSantis is from. Unlike Christie, who was a “moderate” wishy-washy Bush-like establishment Republican on most issues from a bluer than blue state, Ron is a tested principled conservative who actually believes what he says.
Christie was always a calculated politician who picked his fights carefully and rarely challenged the Washington status quo (remember when he hugged Barack Obama?). DeSantis, in contrast, selects his targets based on the urgency of the moment and then pursues the correct outcome until the end. When Ron went after “woke” Disney earlier this year, the entire world took note. He knew he had moral right and the law on his side, and he mercilessly humbled The Mouse. This, and other notable victories is why DeSantis’s political shelf life is open ended. Schlichter could be correct that DeSantis’s chances will never be better than they are now, but the 44-year-old still must contend with a more-than-likely Trump run. It’s very possible that if Ron were to challenge Trump alone for the 2024 party nod that the contest would devolve into an ugly pissing match and damage both of them beyond repair. This would definitely sink any chances of one day saying “President Ron DeSantis”.
If the GOP takes the House in November, the party’s potentials for capturing the White House in 2024 become even stronger. Presumably all of the Democrats’ most damaging legislative initiatives will be stopped, Joe Biden will look even more helpless than he does now, and there will be a two-year political war to determine who – or what – comes next.
DeSantis will be part of that conversation. When he dispatches that party-switching piece of human garbage, Charlie Crist, in this year’s Sunshine State gubernatorial election, Ron will enjoy even more clout. And his window of opportunity will only reveal more Florida sunshine from which he can bask in.
Everyone faces windows of opportunity at some point. They’re as unavoidable as the setting sun and many times we don’t even realize they’re there. Historical examples of the phenomenon are infinite. “The Founding Fathers exploited a window of opportunity to claim independence from Great Britain due to residual debt issues leftover from the Seven Years War (French and Indian War here in America) and the remarkable collection of brilliant minds (Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Mason, among others) and unshakeable capability (Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, et al), all combined to lead the greatest revolution against authority of all-time.”
Most windows of opportunity don’t stay open for long and Schlichter was correct in trying to push Ron DeSantis to take advantage of what could be his best chance to be president. The only question is whether the Floridian is merely a political flash in the pan or if he truly has long lasting staying power. If I were a betting man, I’d wager on the latter.
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