OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
One phenomenon of then-President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign was that the level of enthusiasm among his supporters for his reelection was sky-high and triggered scores of spontaneous vehicle and boat parades around the country, including Florida where the former president makes his home.
Now, the Sunshine State’s GOP governor, Ron DeSantis, whose policies have been compared favorably to those enacted by Trump, is generating spontaneous boat parades as well as he tries to get reelected in the fall.
Breitbart News reported Saturday:
Hundreds of boats passed along the St. John’s River in Jacksonville, Florida, last weekend, decorated with patriotic flags. There were flags that read “DeSantis 2022,” “Daddy DeSantis,” “Don’t Tread on Florida,” and “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Trump.” One boat featured a woman waving with a cardboard cutout of the popular governor as she and others waved to the onlookers aboard the USS Orleck, which was docked along the river in downtown Jacksonville. At times, the speakers blared the song “Sweet Florida,” which praises DeSantis for championing freedom in the Sunshine State.
According to Duval GOP Chairman Dean Black, 1,300 boats participated in the event.
“With over 1,300 boats participating, the first-in-the-nation DeSantis Flotilla was a huge success!” he told Breitbart News.
“I’d like to thank those who came out to show their support for Gov. DeSantis and the volunteers who were crucial in making this event such a success. Floridians are united behind Gov. DeSantis and we look forward to his victory and the victory of Republicans up and down the ballot in November,” he added.
Christian Ziegler, the vice-chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, echoed those remarks, noting that Floridians are “excited to flood the polls in November to ensure that he is reelected.”
“As the Democrat Party’s chances continue to sink deeper in Florida, the Republican Party of Florida sailed full steam ahead with our DeSantis Flotilla in Jax,” he told Breitbart News.
“And what better way to spend a Saturday than being on the deck of a Navy Ship with hundreds of Florida GOP County Leaders and watching 1,300+ boats and 6,500 people celebrate Governor DeSantis’s principles, leadership, actions, and successes?” he asked, adding that DeSantis has “led the way for conservatives and by prioritizing freedom, he has won the appreciation and support of Floridians across our great state who are excited to flood the polls in November to ensure that he is reelected.”
Team DeSantis also celebrated the massive turnout for the governor as well.
HUGE turnout at the @DuvalGOP’s “DeSantis Flotilla” in Jacksonville today! 🛥☀️
— Team DeSantis 🐊 (@teamrondesantis) June 11, 2022
Breitbart News also covered the event and posted a video report:
DeSantis has been mentioned frequently as a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, but he has said just as often that his main focus is winning reelection and finishing his work in Florida. Should he win — and he is heavily favored to do so — his second term would end in 2026, giving him two years to work on a presidential campaign for 2028 should he choose to do so.
As for 2024, the other famous Florida GOP resident — Trump — has yet to announce whether he will throw his hat into the ring again, but he has been holding campaign-style rallies around the country for months and has strongly hinted on a number of occasions that he will run.
Late last week, DeSantis earned rare praise from a Democrat, former Obama administration official-turned-CNN analyst Van Jones.
Jones made his remarks after DeSantis responded to word that billionaire Elon Musk said that he was thinking of him for president in 2024; the governor said he was happy to have the support of the “African-American.”
“The most interesting rivalry is shaping up on the right when it comes to a potential 2024 race between former President Trump and current governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis. Ron DeSantis just had an interesting moment where billionaire Elon Musk talked about potentially supporting him for president, and this is how DeSantis responded,” host Brianna Keilar said before playing the video clip of the governor.
“That might have gone over the head of some people. But he was, is from South Africa,” she said.
“Yeah. People, again, people assume that everybody from Africa is Black. Elon Musk is a white South African who came to the United States. So he’s, he’s kind of teasing,” Jones responded.
“But what he’s really doing is keeping that story in the news cycle. This guy is very, very smart about keeping us talking about him, DeSantis. And when the richest guy in the world says something about you and then you say something funny, it keeps his name in the news cycle. This guy’s learned a lot from Donald Trump,” Jones added.