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It didn’t take long for Donald Trump to attack the latest threat to his
2024 presidential campaign. Within hours of Ron DeSantis’ record-breaking re-election in Florida, Trump was downplaying the feat and taking as much credit as possible for the win.
While DeSantis was soaking in the warmth of the national media spotlight, Trump was the target of criticism of conservatives across the board.
The vast majority of candidates who Trump endorsed were already on pace to win their election. Conversely, candidates who suffered the worst loss margins or underperformances even in victory were the candidates who made Trump’s policies and personal support an integral part of their campaign platform.
Following Trump’s criticism of DeSantis, many conservatives voiced their desire to turn the page from Trump, and move on to DeSantis, including columnists such as Ann Coulter and respected conservative publications such as National Review, The Hill, and more.
Even Trump’s former press secretary, Kayleigh Mcaneny said Trump should postpone his 2024 candidacy announcement until the Georgia runoff ends on December 6th.
DeSantis can proudly point to his present policies as his future plan meanwhile Trump is stuck on complaining about the 2020 election being stolen.
Money always plays a huge role in elections DeSantis best chance for success is to build a coalition of support from other likely contenders who may opt not to run including Nikki Haley and Tim Scott.
If you recall the 2016 Republican primary Trump faced a large field which divided the competition and enabled him to win winner take all states with less than 50% support. Voters may have already forgotten this key fact: In 2016, it wasn’t until many other competitors dropped out of the race when we saw Trump saying serious competition from the remaining two contenders Ted Cruz and John Kasich.
If the GOP primary starts and ends with DeSantis as trumps only challenger, Trump won’t be able to deflect toward other candidates and will benefit from a fractured opposition vote as he did en route to his nomination in 2016.
In some ways, Trump versus DeSantis could resemble the intense battle between Hillary Clinton and Obama in the 2008 Democratic Primary. Clinton was the overwhelming favorite and American’s already knew her backstory, which wasn’t as charming as her opponent. Trump is a known commodity with a support base that has virtually no room for growth conversely DeSantis is a rising star with plenty of blue ocean to expand his base of support.
DeSantis is in a position where he can focus strictly on touting his positives on the other hand Trump is forced into a position where he must go negative on DeSantis rather than focusing on himself.