David Frum, formerly a Republican speechwriter but now a Never Trumper, writes in the Atlantic that Ron DeSantis has figured out how to woo the Republican base but not how to win a national election.

DeSantis spoke out on the Tucker Carlson show against support for Ukraine because the conflict is nothing more than “a territorial dispute” that does not concern us.

Never mind that the US, NATO, and the UN have a vital stake in protecting a rules-based international order where one sovereign nation does not invade another in order to extinguish its national identity.

Never mind, as Frum wrote, that DeSantis “was on record, in 2014 and 2015, urging the Obama administration to send both “defensive and offensive” weapons to Ukraine after the Russian annexation of Crimea.”

DeSantis is courting the base by imposing a nearly-complete ban on abortion, limiting it to the first six weeks of pregnancy, before women know they are pregnant. But a majority of voters in Florida oppose the ban: “That bill is opposed by 57 percent of those surveyed even inside Florida. Another poll found that 75 percent of Floridians oppose the ban. It also showed that 77 percent oppose permitless concealed carry, which DeSantis supports, and that 61 percent disapprove of his call to ban the teaching of critical race theory as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion policies on college campuses.”

How will DeSantis’s hard-right views play outside Florida?

More dangerous than the unpopular positions DeSantis holds are the popular positions he does not hold. What is DeSantis’s view on health care? He doesn’t seem to have one. President Joe Biden has delivered cheap insulin to U.S. users. Good idea or not? Silence from DeSantis. There’s no DeSantis jobs policy; he hardly speaks about inflation. Homelessness? The environment? Nothing. Even on crime, DeSantis must avoid specifics, because specifics might remind his audience that Florida’s homicide numbers are worse than New York’s or California’s.

Frum believes that DeSantis could win the GOP nomination but has no realistic path to winning the presidency.

I hope he is right. DeSantis has no respect for the very idea of a two-party system. He wants a one-party state, led by an all-powerful autocrat. As he bragged in Nevada, no member of the Democratic Party won any statewide races. His preference is to have no opposition, no criticism, no free press. He is dangerous. He has a fascist instinct.