“He’s not just auditioning for the Trump role, I think he’s ordered Trump masks for the campaign trail,” said professor Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s center for politics.
Sabato cautions that Trump could still be a factor in whether DeSantis, who will seek a second term in the Tallahassee governor’s mansion in elections next year, will announce his candidacy.
“Trump can wait very late, and DeSantis does not [yet] have a constituency so independent of Trump that he could run anyway and win,” he said.
“In fact, he would provoke the ire of Trump and his family and his cult forever.”
Regardless, DeSantis’s recent moves in Florida have followed the Trump doctrine almost to the letter, and offer clues to how a DeSantis administration would operate. All the signs are that it would push a fresh, hard-right Trumpian agenda, only without Trump in office.