A quick glance at the calendar reveals it’s the first of March, 2023. Two months ago today, Americans rang in the new year and hope sprang eternal that 2023 would be better than… well, the past several years combined.
Nobody thinks about the phony COVID panic any longer, except perhaps to recall the absurdity of the lockdowns and vaccine and mask mandates and to renew their vows of “never again” when it comes to accepting dictates from self-interested government authorities who only want to preserve power over our lives – and lie about the origins of the virus. Politically speaking, more eyes turned to the upcoming presidential campaign this year, with everyone wondering whether former president Donald Trump would be renominated in 2024 – or would he be brought low by a challenger from his own party instead? With a couple more months to observe events, it’s evident that Trump has established himself as the clear frontrunner.
“Donor hesitancy has limited Trump’s ability to raise campaign funds. But if the money men see him successfully retail politicking week after week, the spigot will start turning open. For as long as DeSantis stays out of the fight, Trump can define him. Every insult or implied contrast will go more or less unanswered. DeSantis looked good not responding to Trump’s puerile jabs — the former president continues to mock him as Ron DeSanctimonious — but the time will come soon when staying above the fray starts to look like being scared.
“Now three Republicans have entered the field: first Trump, champion of the populist wing; former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, representing the pre-Tea Party caucus; and Vivek Ramaswamy, 2024’s Andrew Yang. DeSantis could scoop up supporters from all three of those camps. If he decided not to run, others would leap into the vacuum. But if he got in now, they’re more likely to stay out for good, and the GOP primary could become a two-horse race — him against Trump. (Sticking with the terminology of the track, Haley and Ramaswamy probably wouldn’t show.)
“If a week is a long time in politics, three months (till Florida has finished legislating) is an eternity. The calculus for DeSantis is changing fast.”
Yes indeed, it is. And as I’ve written a lot lately, Trump only hurts himself with his childish name calling – especially when it comes to DeSantis. He can’t risk further alienating conservatives who’ve already had their fill of the showman’s sometimes over-the-top antics – so much so that Trump’s behavior occasionally blocks out the positive stuff. Talk about walking a thin line.
But losing potential donors to a resurgent Trump isn’t the only thing DeSantis needs to worry about. Gurdon’s piece mentioned that the Florida Governor is conceding ground in the polls – which he is – but there are still other tallies showing Trump moving ahead of senile president Joe Biden with leads near or outside the margin of error as well.
Last Friday, the Washington Examiner’s political guru Paul Bedard highlighted one particular Trump favorable survey, with the former president leading the current one 48 percent to 44 percent in a head-to-head 2024 matchup. The results also indicated senile Joe would be vulnerable to a Democrat challenger in a primary, if there was one.
Therefore, if senile Joe ain’t as bulletproof in the 2024 general election as he’s been depicted to be for the past however long… and Trump isn’t as vulnerable as the establishment media suggested he is… then the “electability” debate shifts. Considerably.
Thus far, the main pretext for Ron DeSantis’s candidacy was his purported ability to be “the one” sure bet against Joe Biden – or whoever the Democrats end up nominating. Whereas liberals opted for the visibly failing, broken-down old goat of an establishment candidate in 2020 solely because Obama’s errand boy veep was viewed as having the best chance to defeat the hated Donald Trump, this year (and next) it’s DeSantis who was thought to be way ahead of the others in reference to electability.
I’ve had extended family members send screenshots of the Real Clear Politics’ ongoing compilation of the favorability ratings of America’s premier pols (you know, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Kamala Harris, Kevin McCarthy, Chucky Schumer, Mitch McConnell, etc.) with DeSantis’s name highlighted as the only one with a net positive number of favorables vs. unfavorables. (Note, new House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries also has a barely positive figure, but people don’t really know him yet.)
And based on a sampling of folks I’ve talked with who pay attention to the news (unlike your typical low-information Democrat voter), Governor Ron is universally appreciated for not only his “sure thing” electability qualities, but also his willingness to take on all “woke” evil forces on ground of their own choosing – and win.
Add DeSantis’s crushingly good performance in last November’s elections and people put two-and-two together – and it equaled Ron DeSantis as invincible.
But American politics is never that simple, with new flashes in the political pan appearing practically every time you turn around. Last week, for example, there was Fox News darling Vivek Ramaswamy who turned more than a few heads by announcing his out-of-the-blue candidacy and then drew keen interest for his straightforward arguments advocating restoring merit as the criteria for personal financial advancement and ditching Affirmative Action. Ramaswamy is a “brown” skinned man but boasts he earned his way thanks to capitalism – his success had nothing to do with race.
All of this is music to conservatives’ ears as they search the heavens for the right combination of name recognition, financial backing, issue platform, enthusiasm and a smidgen of nastiness for the media – so as to take on Biden and win.
As I’ve repeatedly noted, Ron DeSantis has a ton of good policy accomplishments to tout himself, as well as a beautiful wife, three young children and an outward appearance that screams “vote for me”. But thus far, before the 2024 race actually starts and people buckle down comparing candidate x vs. candidate y, DeSantis’s best contention for his potential presidential run has been his perceived electability advantage.
If polls like the one last week show Trump pulling noticeably ahead of senile Joe, Ron’s electability argument shrinks to a much lower level of intensity. Make Trump “viable” and people will jump back on his bandwagon after abandoning it on a dozen or more occasions whenever Trump did something that appeared disqualifying at the moment. And that’s happened a lot, hasn’t it?
Folks forget we can never control events. The recent chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio, along with the Biden administration’s overt snubbing of the travesty together with senile Joe’s inane public relations trip to Ukraine and eastern Europe (where he infamously declared that the U.S. would aid Ukraine for “as long as it takes”) – the totality made Trump appear as though he was back to his old self again, the one that endeared him to millions in 2016. Trump’s visit to East Palestine last week was about as “presidential” as it gets, not bad for a guy who was literally drummed out of town (Washington D.C.) two years ago before he was impeached for a second time by the heinous bunch of Democrats still in charge of Congress at the time.
For Trump to have not only weathered the blizzard of sleaze tossed at him by the Biden Justice Department, his Democrat enemies and the always biased establishment media, but also to gain an advantage on Biden himself… is impressive. Democrats almost always lead in the period leading up to an election, with Republicans usually gaining towards Election Day as sensible folks tire of being lied to about the federal budget, the conservative social agenda and just about everything of consequence in a campaign.
All it would take in many Republicans’ minds is the notion that Trump isn’t hopeless after all – and to the contrary, is quite competitive – and DeSantis’s best marketing angle erodes or disappears. People looked at DeSantis because he was the best non-Trump alternative. If you no longer require an alternative…? Well, complete the thought yourself.
By the same token, if DeSantis were to leap into the race now, he could be perceived as desperate and afraid of Trump. Most Republicans still credit Trump for his successes in changing the direction of the country, a sense of gratitude that won’t fade no matter how many trumped-up scandals are tossed in his path.
Should Governor Ron speed up his announcement (assuming there is one)? Here’s thinking no, since there’s no need to at present. Everyone is still talking about him without his presence in the official field, and once he does jump in, the whole race starts anew. There are lots of conservatives and Republicans open to an alternative – Ron DeSantis will have his day in the sun.
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