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As Election Day nears, Florida's DeSantis still needs a platform

Election Day is in eight weeks. Ron DeSantis has been running for governor since January. He's still fleshing out his platform? It's all about the Trump Model.
Image: Ron DeSantis
Florida gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters at a rally Wednesday, July 18, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Tampa Bay Times  reports today that Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Republicans' gubernatorial candidate in Florida, has made plenty of time in recent months for Fox News, discussing national issues, but he's been more reluctant to make himself available for local media interviews. It led to this interesting tidbit:

His campaign confirmed several days ago would sit down with the Tampa Bay Times to discuss his position on issues facing Florida between campaign stops in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties Tuesday. The campaign cancelled Tuesday morning, saying they wanted to give him time to flesh out his platform before taking questions.

Election Day is in eight weeks. The sitting congressman has been running for governor since January. He's still fleshing out his platform?

That got me thinking about DeSantis' agenda, so I went to his official campaign website, which has an issues page. It features six areas of interest, each with a few bullet points. The six areas, explaining the congressman's positions, range in length from 8 to 39 words.

And then I swung by the issues page for his opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), which has 10 areas of interest, each of which leads to fairly lengthy individual pages -- several hundred words long -- detailing the candidate's positions.

Gillum's issue paper on Puerto Rico, for example, is longer than DeSantis' entire campaign platform covering every issue.

If this sounds at all familiar, it's because we saw something very similar two years ago -- at the presidential level.

In 2016, Donald Trump ridiculed the very idea of putting together a detailed agenda ahead of the election. "My voters don't care and the public doesn't care," the Republican said. "They know you're going to do a good job once you're there."

The Associated Press reported two years ago this week that the Trump campaign had published just seven policy proposals to its website. Hillary Clinton had 38.

It led CNN's Brian Stelter to highlight a related detail: "Trump's site has 9,000 words of policy proposals. Clinton's site: 112,735 words."

Trump, however, won the election. Two years later, his "mini-me" in Florida is following the president's lead.