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Ron DeSantis swings Miami-Dade, and the Republican Party Kingmaker along the way.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Sunday Morning / January 8, 2023

The U.S. Congress has flipped for every first term president but three. With a 39% approval rating, nothing shy of a referendum was expected for President Joe Biden.

That a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate were still up for grabs 72 hours following Tuesday’s election — nitpicking through absentee ballots, a run-off in Georgia, and a new 2022 redistricting map — means the expected Red Wave unfurled only in the Sunshine State. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a republican, shored up democratic stronghold Miami-Dade county for the win, and was crowned the de facto Republican frontrunner by the conservative media for Election 2024.

The Week

While midterm elections often see the president's party lose a significant number of seats in Congress, preliminary results instead saw Democratic Party candidates dramatically over-perform these historical trends making this the best performance for a sitting president's party since the 1950 U.S. midterm elections.

Meanwhile, Republican Party candidates who denied the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election (291 in all) underperformed significantly. Issues concerning Democrats were extremism; democratic backsliding; the status of abortion following Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

Referendums to preserve or expand abortion access uniformly won in Kansas, Michigan, Kentucky and Montana where Democrats took full control of government for the first time since 1983. Nebraska and Nevada increased the minimum wage, South Carolina expanded Medicare.

In other contests, Democrats gained full control of their governments in Minnesota and Pennsylvania, while making gains in gubernatorial elections in Maryland and Massachusetts.

But it was Governor Ron DeSantis — a Republican hopeful for the 2024 U.S. presidential election — that won the Florida gubernatorial election in a landslide re-election thanks to a double-digit victory among a vibrant latino community. DeSantis has realigned the Swing State into a Republican stronghold.

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News Corporation's Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who controls the most powerful levers in conservative media, appeared to make clear on Wednesday that he and his outlets intend to cast Trump aside in favor of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the future of the Republican Party.​

Headlines like "Toxic Trump" and "Trumpty Dumpty" scrawled across the more pedestrian New York Post, but it was Murdoch's erudite Wall Street Journal that offered the balanced view. "Since his victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump has a perfect record of electoral defeat."

Even Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told CNN on Sunday, "the committee cannot pay former President Trump’s legal bills if he announces a bid for the White House in 2024."

“Governor DeSantis is the single biggest winner of the night,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Fox & Friends, adding, "he's the rallying point for everybody in the Republican Party who wants to move beyond Donald Trump.”

Win for the Ages

DeSantis’ nearly 20-point win shattered Jeb Bush’s record as the best win for a GOP governor in modern history. His dominating performance flipped counties like Osceola, Palm Beach, and Miami-Date that have traditionally backed Democrats. During his jubilant victory speech DeSantis said, “We have rewritten the political map.” He's moving full throttle toward the party's leadership with media moguls, mega-donors, and the very spirit of America.

Citadel CEO and philanthropist Ken Griffin smiled when asked if he’ll be the No. 1 political donor in 2024?

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Citadel CEO Ken Griffin

He’s donated nearly $68 million to federal Republican candidates and campaigns this election cycle. That puts Griffin behind liberal billionaire George Soros, who’s given more than $128 million to Democrats, and Richard Uihlein, who aligns himself with far-right candidates and organizations, at about $80 million.

“Charitable giving was the lane that I was most focused on for many, many years of my life as a means of moving society to a better place,” says Griffin. “Watching so much of what I did on the philanthropic side be undermined by poor policies from our political sphere has pulled me more into politics with a portion of my resources.”

While he’s supporting one of this cycle’s biggest culture warriors in DeSantis, Griffin said most hot-button issues — abortion rights, battles over sex education and LGBTQ rights — don’t define his interests. He wants to improve the diversity of the GOP, and blunt the vein of populism that has complicated the party’s relationship with the corporate world.

Florida Son

In 1787, after America's Founding Fathers hammered out the U.S. Constitution in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, a woman asked what the gathering had actually produced? Benjamin Franklin replied, "A republic, madam, if you can keep it."

Thomas Jefferson writes to John Adams 34 years on:

The flames kindled on the 4th of July 1776 have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism. On the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them.

“If he runs, he runs,” says former President Donald Trump, preparing a precipitous bid for the White House ahead of the Georgia run off. “If he does run, I’ll tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering. I know more about him than anybody, other than perhaps his wife.”

"For a litany of reasons,” Griffin says, of he and Rupert Murdoch’s allegiance to Governor Ron DeSantis, “It’s time to move on to the next generation.”

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