DeSantis is Done Playing Nice with Trump

by Phil Schneider

The truth is that Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump do not differ all that much on most policy issues – both domestic and foreign. But, they both want to be President. Get ready for some serious attempts at bringing down the other candidate. Donald Trump is far more experienced in this craft. But Ron DeSantis, does not cower easily, knows the playbook of Donald Trump, and is confident that he wins out even if he loses. A loss in 2024 will probably place him in poll position for a run in 2028 with experience dealing with the national debate stage.

Donald Trump is angry about the 2020 election and will give it everything he has to get renominated in the Republican primaries. The more the woke D.A.’s go after him, the better it is for Donald Trump. The comeback kid who is being mercilessly attacked by a panicking left is a great story line for Donald Trump to succeed in the primaries. But the cloud of Jan. 6th, no matter what one thinks actually happened on that fateful day, will not go away. Donald Trump is a candidate that scares many middle of the road voters. Yet he has an amazing ability to bring voters out of the wood works that would otherwise stay home.

It will probably be a closer battle than many would think. Donald Trump will certainly carry a few States. But he will also lose along the way. DeSantis will carry Florida and a few other more moderate States. That is when Donald Trump will either win or lose the nomination. If Trump holds strong and controls the headlines skillfully as he did in 2016, despite growing support coalescing around DeSantis, Trump will probably win the nomination. Otherwise, Donald Trump may implode or start a third party, which would effectively hand the election to the Democrat nominee.

Interestingly, the key factor that may determine the Republican nominee is the Democrat primary. If Joe Biden is indeed the nominee, Donald Trump appears young enough compared to President Biden and will probably poll close to Biden. But if the Democrat nominee is a younger outsider who is brought in as a last minute candidate, Ron DeSantis’ youthful leadership will probably play better. Polling data will be a major factor – as usual – in determining who has more positive momentum during the election.

An additional factor are the other Republican candidates who will ultimately side one way or another. Nikki Haley will probably support Ron DeSantis at a critical point in return for an unofficial pledge to be nominated as Vice President or Secretary of State. Nobody wants to confront Donald Trump directly too much in order to avoid the Trump treatment. But if Ron DeSantis is effective in confronting Donald Trump in the primary contest, he may very well win outright as the new fresh face that has the positives of Donald Trump without the personality issues that turn off the centrist voters.

DeSantis is not a Trump protege, but he has certainly learned a thing or two from Donald Trump about confronting the press in order to win popularity points with his core constituency. That may just be enough to beat Donald Trump at his own game.

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