But his prospects have declined rapidly since last November’s midterm elections, when the governor was re-elected in Florida so that Rupert Murdoch’s new york post The front-page headline suggested DeSantis was the GOP’s “DeFuture.”
DeSantis trailed Trump by just 13 points in late January, according to polling aggregator Real Clear Politics.This week, he trails by 37 points — even in the face of Trump’s criminal indictment and E. Jean Carroll’s Devastating Rape Trial.
Such an outcome speaks volumes for Trump’s extraordinary grip on the Republican base. Just as his supporters believe the twice-impeachable president’s lies about the 2020 election being stolen, they also see him as the victim of a witch hunt spearheaded by a left-wing legal system.
But DeSantis’ stock plunge was also attributed to his failure to capitalize on his midterm momentum to go head-to-head with Trump and fill the vacuum of non-Trump Republicans looking for an alternative.
This encouraged other candidates to competemuch to Trump’s delight, knowing he has a better chance of winning the nomination in a multi-field primary.
As former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said this week: “Trump keeps gaining and strengthening, but at the same time, DeSantis hasn’t proven capable of reaching all the different elements of the party”.
DeSantis campaign on Twitter Thursday — though plagued by technical glitches — was an opportunity to reorganize the game. In a more than hour-long meeting moderated by Elon Musk and Republican donor David Sachs, the candidate positioned himself as the future of the conservative movement, accusing Biden of “taking cues from waking mobs.” , and vowed to address the U.S.-Mexico border crisis. Without naming Trump, he also suggested the former president carried too much baggage to lead Republicans to victory.
“We must end the culture of failure that has infected the Republican Party in recent years,” he said. “We need the courage to lead, we have to have the strength to win.”
Maybe so, but winning the nomination isn’t easy. DeSantis is a smart and shrewd politician, but he’s largely untested nationally, Lacks Trump’s charisma, known for glass jawwhich begs the question: How will he perform on a debate stage with one of the world’s most famous bullies?
So far, the Republican governor has grappled with a barrage of attacks from Trump and his allies, barely a day goes by without a statement or an ad prodding “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
His strategy is not to take the bait, but to point to his record of victories in Florida and the legislative gains he’s made since.
But history shows that to take on Trump, he needs more than a solid record: It was this man’s endorsement in 2018 that propelled him to the governor’s mansion.
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