The Scott Campaign: The Story of Charlie Crist

Jackie Calmes: Ron DeSantis proves that cruetly is a Republican trait that’s hard to overcome

Published August 26, 2019 at 11:45 am

By Jackie Calmes | The Swamp

Before the campaign against Donald Trump entered a new phase, it seemed like everyone had lost its voice. A sense of collective exhaustion set in as the Trump presidency stretched on for months, and all the normal modes of American political life — television, social media, news magazines, op-ed, op-ed wars — were suddenly in the tank.

But there was one voice that still stood, and that was the Republican Party’s top dog, the one in the spotlight who could be sure that the Trump haters were not going to destroy him.

That man was Rick Scott. And from the first week of the Scott campaign for governor in late 2013, his strategy has been the same: Ignore the media and his own voters. Stick to the script from the campaign speeches and policy platform speeches he gave as the Florida gubernatorial nominee for president 12 years ago, and just go forth with the business of running for governor.

A campaign like this, without talking to the press or voters, does not change minds. It can only change an election’s temperature. The Florida Republican Party, the Party’s establishment, had to let go of the past in order to make way for the Scott campaign.

The Scott campaign that began 10 months ago has been very much like the campaign that his first opponent, Charlie Crist, ran for president in Florida in 2010. Scott’s candidacy has been defined by a series of campaign events that are very much like the events that Crist’s first opponent and then rival, Bob Graham, ran for president.

In the end, only one thing matters, and that is having the right political moment. Crist built his campaign on the premise that the Florida GOP had an election to win in 2010. He used his speech to call for the conservative base to unite behind him in an effort to unseat then-Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid. Crist promised to be for social issues, taxes and small government. He

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