Four Takeaways From the DeSantis-Crist Debate in Florida’s Governor Race
This is Part 3 of a 3-part series analyzing the DeSantis-Crist debate in Florida.
We discussed how Crist’s campaign is building a campaign narrative around DeSantis’s support for the Confederate Battle Flag, and Crist’s and DeSantis’s conflicting positions on illegal immigration, the War on Drugs, and the Confederate Battle Flag.
On March 11th during a televised debate in Orlando, Crist, who is running for Governor in the Republican Primary, spoke about the Confederate Battle Flag. In response, DeSantis, who is running for Governor in the Republican Primary, spoke during another televised debate in Fort Pierce, Florida about the Confederate Battle Flag issue. The Fort Pierce debate was held the same day as the Orlando debate.
The following are our key takeaways from the two debates, and how they could help DeSantis and Crist in the race for Governor.
Crist has a “tough guy” persona and a “buddy” persona. Crist has shown both in his public comments and his campaigns that he is a “tough guy” in a political sense. DeSantis, on the other hand, has a “buddy” persona and a “soft guy” persona. This is true in the public, as well as in the campaign, where DeSantis speaks in a soft manner as a result of his youth and inexperience as a governor and his campaign has sought to distance itself from President Trump.
Crist is also running as an outsider to the state. This was a factor in both debates in the eyes of the electorate in choosing DeSantis. Crist campaigned on an outsider, political, grassroots platform.
Although the public perception is that DeSantis and Crist will be running on very different platforms, both candidates have similar positions on illegal immigration: both support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and both support a “Buy American” bill that would require state governments to purchase American-made goods and services from the U.S. government rather than from foreign countries.
Both candidates also have similar views on drug policy. Crist supports the decriminalization of all narcotics, and DeSantis has defended those who oppose it