After historically poor results in the Republican midterm elections, ordinary Republicans more or less accept that the Republican Party must walk away from Donald Trump in order to survive in the elections.
Among party leaders and conservative-leaning media, there is a quiet but clear desire for Trump to stay in the shadows and popular Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to take over as party leader in 2024.
There is no doubt about it. Donald Trump is political quicksand for the Republican Party. His decision to dine with notorious anti-Semite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes last week at his Mar-a-Lago home poses a political risk to the Republican It highlights both real risks. .
DeSantis, on the other hand, is aptly described as “Trump with brains and no drama.” The governor of Florida largely imitates Trump’s policies and positions. He fuels culture wars, denounces the ‘awakened’ left, and uses divisive social issues for political gain.
As governor, DeSantis treated immigrants as political pawns by flying them into Martha’s Vineyard without warning, punished Disney for deviating from his political views, politicized LGBTQ rights, and expelled from the NRA. It has an A+ rating.
DeSantis has primarily used Mr. Trump, including mishandling classified documents, the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, the Trump Organization’s tax troubles, and clearly inappropriate advice. It does so without corruption on multiple fronts, which is not limited. Decisions Trump made about what he said and who he met.
I often disagree with DeSantis, but he is clearly a politically savvy, policy-minded Trump. By extension, he’s probably the best bet for Republicans to win the White House and Senate in 2024 and retain control of the House.
DeSantis is a fighter like Trump, but arguing about policies and issues rather than personal revenge. He rarely gets angry, deflects messages, or resorts to personal attacks or petty insults. Meanwhile, Trump’s propensity for public spectacle and personal attacks has overshadowed most of his policy achievements.
While DeSantis appeals to the right as a cultural warrior, his political demeanor and the general success of his economic and criminal policies have made Florida a popular destination for people fleeing the tax and crime-ridden cities of the Northeast and West. has become an increasingly popular destination for Coast—allowed him to penetrate middle voters in a way Trump never could.
An important note: DeSantis carefully chooses which elements of the right-wing cultural agenda to elevate. Recognizing that a blanket abortion ban would be political suicide in the purple state, DeSantis signed a 15-week anti-abortion law.
Put another way, DeSantis, unlike Trump, knows how to win elections and has the track record to prove it.
He won re-election this year by nearly 20 points. This was the largest gap in a Florida gubernatorial election in decades. It also caused a red wave across the state. Equally important, he won with the support of independents, Latinos, women, and suburban voters.
Several post-midterm polls suggest Republican and Republican-leaning voters support DeSantis as the party’s nominee for 2024, while other polls still favor Trump. It shows a clear advantage.
It’s worth noting that DeSantis is favored among more moderate Republican voters, while Trump leads the “strong” Republican voters.
Indeed, it will almost certainly not be possible for the Republican Party to completely ditch Donald Trump or make a decisive turn for Ron DeSantis before the next election.
The biggest obstacle to the new era of the Republican Party is Trump himself, who would rather take down the entire party than see someone else surpass him as party leader.
Mr Trump has already announced his intention to run for president again in 2024 and faces potential indictments for stealing classified documents from the White House.
We know Trump will use the indictment to bolster his base, and if he is indicted, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Republicans could run a standard primary centered around policy instead of Trump. is.
Plus, many other Republicans, such as Mike Pence and Nikki Haley, could also throw their hats into the ring, making it look like the Republican primaries went first in 2020. It may become like this. running.
A crowded Republican primary would almost guarantee Trump winning the nomination.
If that scenario plays out, Republicans would be wise to back their strongest general election candidate, perhaps DeSantis, just as Democrats backed Joe Biden heading into Super Tuesday 2020.
But unlike 2020’s Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump won’t graciously concede and surrender without taking down the entire Republican Party with him.
Douglas Schoen is a longtime Democratic political consultant.