Here’s a thought: if, as expected, Donald Trump runs in 2024 and appears to struggle in the national polls, will there be a “Draft Ron DeSantis” movement?
Don’t laugh, it could happen. With last week’s news that the Florida governor scored yet another conservative public relations victory, the murmurs surrounding a budding Trump-DeSantis rivalry are only getting louder and more urgent. Watching as DeSantis thoroughly and effectively explained his reasoning for canning (or more accurately, suspending) the George Soros funded leftist non-prosecutor from the Tampa area was sheer genius.
Soros-backed prosecutors have taken over the country’s largest cities and their lack of action on basic criminality has ruined these places, turning them into crime-ridden “woke” dystopias where decent, law-abiding citizens live in fear of victimization without hope of justice. It has become commonplace for DeSantis to recognize such cultural slides and do something about them. No wonder he’s such a hero to millions who aren’t even in his state.
DeSantis’s brilliant piece of work followed closely on the revelation that he had ordered his state’s schools not to comply with the senile president Joe Biden administration’s unconstitutional order to punish states that failed to adhere to the “woke” policy of treating transgenders as though they’re somehow superior to everyone else. DeSantis further decreed that doctors who perform sex transformation surgeries on minors would run afoul of the law.
The man doesn’t dawdle, hem and haw or equivocate, which has many, many commentators suggesting that DeSantis is the best and most talented politician of this generation. It’s a group that includes Donald Trump, of course, and it’s generally surmised that Trump taught Ron every tactic that he’s now employing. There had to be someone in Republican-land who could come in and make an appropriate gesture to the Washington political establishment and then do what was right based on its own right-ness regardless of the inevitable leftist “outrage” fallout. Trump was that man. But this isn’t 2015 anymore and the New York outsider is a known quantity for the multitude of good things that he accomplished, but also for his volatile personality that turns some people off. DeSantis doesn’t seem to have that problem, but he hasn’t yet been tested on the nationwide scene.
If/when Trump runs and the national polls and those in key states fail to move much from their current position – with his favorable rating well below 50 percent -- it could get a lot of skittish conservatives freaked out about the possibility/likelihood of losing in 2024. Running Trump against the mere chance of being subject to another four years of senile Joe Biden – or some other leftist wacko kook that the Democrats nominate – isn’t something conservatives are willing to sit quietly by and tolerate.
“DeSantis is Trump 2.o. He’s not the Never-Trump dream candidate, any more than Ted Cruz was the Never-Trump dream candidate in 2016. DeSantis is the most based and ballsy Republican politician currently holding office in America today. The things he does in Florida are every bit the radical departures Trump offered during his first term in the White House, things which are ‘divisive’ and ‘controversial’ as Trump’s actions like placing our embassy in Israel in Jerusalem were...
“The issue isn’t whether Trump or DeSantis is the GOP nominee in 2024. Both would be fine. Seriously. Trump is starting to get to the outer edge of what you’d look for age-wise in a president, but he’s also been through the wars and he’d be able to leverage that experience to hit the ground running and efficiently do the things that are controversial until they aren’t early in his second term...
“[I]t takes a generation for the concrete of a new political era to cure. And that means it’s less important whether Trump or DeSantis wins in 2024 than that one of them does. And furthermore, what’s more important than that is the standard both of them set for Republican politicians up and down the governmental food chain.”
Redundantly speaking, McKay is right. When it comes to straight-up leadership styles and policy gravitas, both Republicans would fill the shoes well starting in early 2025. There’s already a ton of things to do and the pile of problems will only grow in the ensuing months and years. Borrowing an analogy from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, the chain that Democrats and establishment Republicans have forged is long and heavy even today. Together they will labor on it until it becomes a “ponderous chain.”
Joe Biden is struggling to drag around the invisible shackle, but you know it’s there. If anything, getting COVID over and over the past couple weeks has helped the man stay mostly out of sight, which can only serve to boost his approval ratings. He’ll hoot and holler over last week’s promising jobs report and the passage of the badly mis-labeled “Inflation Reduction Act”, but the other signs of economic strife aren’t going away. People are working – but they’re earning comparatively less and inflation is particularly eating away at the wages of the low-income earners.
Trump would instantly enjoy a plethora of strong arguments in favor of returning him to the White House. Again, assuming he runs, which, to me, is virtually assured after this week’s Mar-a-Lago FBI raid -- it’s hard to imagine a scenario where he’ll struggle in the Republican primaries. If DeSantis stays out, that is. There simply isn’t enough headlining talent in the GOP to compete with Trump’s MAGA train.
As Trump’s intra-party poll numbers remain high and he steamrolls the junior varsity team candidates (Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Kristi Noem, Larry Hogan, Liz Cheney (?), some unspecified establishment senator from State X, and… the rest of the field of pretenders, whiners, has-beens and Mitt Romney-like goofballs) in several 2024 debates that Trump reluctantly agrees to participate in, the media will go nuts and declare that the former chief executive must be stopped at all costs.
Who knows, if Trump is doing too well maybe the hags at “The View” will stage a collective hunger strike and promote it as their latest weight-loss gimmick until he comes on their show and gives them the biggest ratings boost of all-time.
One can’t help but sense that the Republican establishment won’t step to the side and just allow Trump to do what he did in 2015 and 2016 without a real fight this time. Whereas there were amateurish efforts to supplant Trump at the party convention in Cleveland back then, in 2024 there possibly could be a bum-rush of Bush disciples recruiting “White Knight” candidates to run in Trump’s stead when he is deposed.
The Republican elites who control the convention rules will make it virtually impossible for Trump to withstand some sort of 11th hour challenge, maybe even dredging up Paul Ryan to take over and thus “save the party”. Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg, Evan McMullin, George Will and David French will hold counter-rallies funded by Democrat and Never Trump billionaires.
Trump’s polling numbers will remain strong with the MAGA coalition, but the growing contingent of conservatives who would tolerate another Trump candidacy but not seek it could begin to peel off and call for DeSantis to reconsider his reluctance to run against Trump and act as a “compromise” candidate thanks to a “Draft Ron DeSantis” movement.
Note: This would be separate from the current “Ready for Ron” petition drive, which probably would disband as soon as DeSantis opted not to join the other candidates, sometime next year.
I am not advocating for such a scenario, just pointing out that this could happen. There isn’t a soul in this country who doesn’t have an opinion on Donald Trump, but there are plenty – perhaps tens of millions – who aren’t yet aware of Ron DeSantis. Leftists in the media are in the early stages of attempting to brand the Florida governor as the second coming of Trump, only slightly less demonstrative about his personal presentation. But make no mistake, the smear campaign is coming. The closer DeSantis gets to a big announcement, the more ferocious will be the attacks.
One observation: it would be considerably more difficult for senile Joe Biden or Kamala Harris -- or whatever Democrat – to lay a glove on DeSantis than it would be to land a jab on Trump. All the Democrats have is the stupid January 6 committee – and stupid corrupt FBI raids -- and Governor Ron wasn’t anywhere near Capitol Hill on that day. If DeSantis were the Republican standard bearer, the January 6 nonsense would fade into the background. It’ll never go away completely, but what would Liz Cheney do to stop a non-Trump Republican?
Can’t you just hear the ads now? The Democrat nominee: “It took Ron DeSantis x number of hours to publicly condemn the Trump-led insurrection on January 6th. Ron DeSantis is just like Donald Trump. He would deny women the right to their own healthcare choices. He’s against equality for all humans and he even attacked the Walt Disney Company and Mickey Mouse. What kind of president would this intolerant man be? Keep him in Florida where he belongs. Narrator: Ad paid for by concerned Citizens Against Bigots and Racists.”
Scott McKay is correct – conservatives need both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis to be in the 2024 conversation, and not necessarily just as ticket mates. If the United States is to recover from the disaster that has been Joe Biden’s presidency (along with Democrat control of Congress), we need leaders with steel backbones who aren’t afraid to tweak the noses of the left and follow it up with a proverbial punch to the jaw if things get rough.
The days of Bush-ian compromise and capitulation are over. Better get used to it, Democrats.
Joe Biden economy
Biden cognitive decline
January 6 Committee
Build Back Better
Marjorie Taylor Green
2024 presidential election