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Why Ron DeSantis can’t break from Trump (yet)

Who does Trumpism better? Credit: Getty.

November 17, 2022 - 10:15am

Tensions between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, widely considered to be the two serious frontrunners for the 2024 Republican presidential candidacy, have been simmering below the surface for months. Though Trump did not name his rival directly in Tuesday night’s announcement speech, the former president is usually more explicit in his criticisms of the Florida governor.

DeSantis, for his part, has yet to respond. The Trump broadside of calling him ‘Ron DeSanctimonious’ was predictable, but it puts the governor in a tricky spot. The majority of his voters in Florida — and a large portion of the voters he’d need to woo in a 2024 Republican primary — are Trump supporters. According to exit polls, Trump voters outnumbered Biden voters by eleven points in the Florida gubernatorial electorate — and 95% of them went for DeSantis.

DeSantis’s best claim to the nomination is not to present himself as a break with Trump’s legacy, but as the man who is better-suited to continue it than Trump himself. That is not, of course, why the Trump-sceptical conservatives who have flocked to DeSantis prefer him. Republican elites and beltway conservative leaders, many of whom were less enthusiastic about Trump than rank-and-file party voters, see DeSantis as a long-overdue reprieve from the ex-president’s influence over the GOP.

On the heels of last Tuesday’s election, Paul Ryan attacked Trump as “a drag on our ticket”, while adding that he was “very happy to see” that “Ron got re-elected.” Senator Cynthia Lummis (R., Wyo.) told Politico that DeSantis was “the leader of the Republican Party.” Major conservative media outlets like Fox News and the New York Post have turned on Trump and touted DeSantis as the future of the party. GOP mega-donors Stephen Schwarzman and Ken Griffin — billionaires who previously backed Trump — both announced their defections from the former president. Griffin went so far as to explicitly endorse DeSantis.

That has made DeSantis the object of understandable, if not entirely fair, suspicion among a segment of Trump supporters. Writing in the MAGA-friendly American Greatness a month before the election, Paul Ingrassia criticised “the concerted efforts of many Republican establishment types to elevate Florida governor Ron DeSantis over Trump,” arguing that “if DeSantis were truly a kingmaker, he would have launched an attack on the Republican establishment.” 

In a piece titled “The Establishment is Still Terrified of Donald Trump” in the same publication, Matt Boose argued that “one advantage that Trump has over protĂ©gĂ© Florida governor Ron DeSantis” is that he “has taken the blows. He understands America is in a struggle for liberation against tyrants that goes beyond ordinary politics, a struggle which, for Trump, is personal.”

On Twitter, popular Right-wing blogger Benjamin Braddock wrote: “I would like to see this settled without rancour. But there is clearly a concerted push to use DeSantis to take out Trump. And we don’t know DeSantis’ foreign policy/federal law enforcement positions. Way too premature for anyone to jump on that bandwagon.” Sohrab Ahmari and Matthew Schmitz have made a similar defence of the former president in Compact.

But regardless, neither Right-wing writers nor the Republican establishment have the final say in these matters: Republican voters do. If DeSantis allows himself to be defined as the Never Trump — or even the anti-Trump — candidate, he will be permanently discredited in the eyes of many of the voters he needs to win. If he can convince those voters that he is the next step in the MAGA movement, he may just have a chance.

Can DeSantis do Trumpism better than Trump? After last Tuesday, it’s an easier pitch to make. The former president’s selling point to Republican voters, above all else, was that he could win where his counterparts would lose — that if they went with him, they would “win so much” that they would be “sick and tired of winning.” DeSantis, though, has spent the last four years winning. 

Trump’s influence, at least in part, helped stymie the long-foretold red wave, delaying the arrival of the Republican “cavalry” to throw sand in the gears of the Biden agenda for at least another two years. Republican voters are looking for someone to lead the movement that Trump began in 2016 — not to abandon it altogether. But they also need someone who can win them the election.


Nate Hochman is a staff writer at National Review.

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Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

I voted for Trump in 2020. In 2024 I’ll vote DeSantis if he runs. I simply can’t vote for a party that thinks men can be women. If they can’t even get that simple fact right, how can they be trusted on economic or foreign policy? It amazes me that they did so well during during the mid-terms.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

The Democrats did so well because most voters didn’t focus on completely irrelevant wedge issues that the Republicans (and right wingers globally) use to get people to vote against their own best interests, and in the US to vote for a complete buffoon like Trump.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Mudslingin’ ain’t arguin’, pal. Try again. And just wondering, is men being men, and women being women, an irrelevant “wedge” issue? I don’t think so.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

What you miss is the fact that, for most Democrat voters, the idea is so preposterous that nobody takes it seriously. It’s seen as a nonsense that you have to play along with to make sure you’re not attacked by a minority of over-educated woke cranks. Remember, the tranny lobby are headcases – there is no debating with them. Dems say along for a quiet life. You however, do take it seriously, for obvious reasons – it’s an obvious issue for you to blow up into a “big issue”, as your own GOP party is now so ridiculous that you have no other option.   

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

What is weird is that the Democrats have normalized ‘mental illness’ and in doing so have sought to redefine transgenderism which in the recent past was rightly diagnosed as a mental illness. Transgenderism is a tragic state of being in a predominantly binary world – and sane folks understand that redefining this awful condition is insane itself.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

What you miss is the fact that, for most Democrat voters, the idea is so preposterous that nobody takes it seriously. It’s seen as a nonsense that you have to play along with to make sure you’re not attacked by a minority of over-educated woke cranks. Remember, the tranny lobby are headcases – there is no debating with them. Dems say along for a quiet life. You however, do take it seriously, for obvious reasons – it’s an obvious issue for you to blow up into a “big issue”, as your own GOP party is now so ridiculous that you have no other option.   

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

What is weird is that the Democrats have normalized ‘mental illness’ and in doing so have sought to redefine transgenderism which in the recent past was rightly diagnosed as a mental illness. Transgenderism is a tragic state of being in a predominantly binary world – and sane folks understand that redefining this awful condition is insane itself.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Mudslingin’ ain’t arguin’, pal. Try again. And just wondering, is men being men, and women being women, an irrelevant “wedge” issue? I don’t think so.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Inflation ranked highest as the issue that folks were concerned about when polled. But the Wall Street Journal went one step further and asked, “Is inflation harming you personally?” Over 2/3 said ‘no’. Clearly, the $4 Trillion that the Biden Administration spread across the land, in addition to the ill-advised use of a huge portion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – a reserve kept mainly for wartime- to tamp down gas prices – buffered the pain of inflation. However, that largesse is beginning to run out across the country, so let’s see what kind of monkey the Democrats can pull out if the hat in the next 24 months. The Democrats have shown that it is easy to but votes – but at some point that becomes unsustainable.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

The Democrats did so well because most voters didn’t focus on completely irrelevant wedge issues that the Republicans (and right wingers globally) use to get people to vote against their own best interests, and in the US to vote for a complete buffoon like Trump.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Inflation ranked highest as the issue that folks were concerned about when polled. But the Wall Street Journal went one step further and asked, “Is inflation harming you personally?” Over 2/3 said ‘no’. Clearly, the $4 Trillion that the Biden Administration spread across the land, in addition to the ill-advised use of a huge portion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – a reserve kept mainly for wartime- to tamp down gas prices – buffered the pain of inflation. However, that largesse is beginning to run out across the country, so let’s see what kind of monkey the Democrats can pull out if the hat in the next 24 months. The Democrats have shown that it is easy to but votes – but at some point that becomes unsustainable.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

I voted for Trump in 2020. In 2024 I’ll vote DeSantis if he runs. I simply can’t vote for a party that thinks men can be women. If they can’t even get that simple fact right, how can they be trusted on economic or foreign policy? It amazes me that they did so well during during the mid-terms.

John Pade
John Pade
1 year ago

In the 2010 mid-terms the Republicans gained 63 House seats. In 2022 they gained gained maybe 10 or twelve. But the Republicans started with 179 seats in 2010 vs. 212 in 2022. So there were far fewer seats to be gained. Many of the contestable seats were already in Republican hands. And in the meantime, demographic trends have locked more seats in the blue column.
So people like me have to temper their criticism of Trump’s toxicity with a dose of historical cold water. The economy was also much worse in 2010 than 2020, for example. We must base our aversion to Trump on more than the 2022 election results to be on firm ground.
My own Trump skepticism is based on Trump’s proven unelectability. He lost the popular vote in 2016 by 3 million. In 2020, he lost it by 7 million despite increasing his own count by 12 million. Only the barest of victories in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania carried him in 2016. The Democrats didn’t ignore this in the 2020 run-up. They learned. It won’t happen again.
There are positive reasons for favoring Desantis as well. He is an American success story. All he received from his parents was a good upbringing. He’s a Yale alumnus and served his country in the Navy. These are strengths that should play well with Trump’s base (I include the Yale part because, unlike Trump, he earned his college admission and took advantage of his opportunity).
In office he’s fought hard and well against loony leftism. He’s picked his battles, outmaneuvering opponents at every turn. He oversaw the excellent preparation and recovery efforts from Hurricane Ian. He might be the best governor in the nation.
Politically, he turned a swing state Red as a result of his job performance.
The problem is getting the Republican base to see this. This will be much harder to do than to convince independents or even red dog Democrats, if there still are any.

John Pade
John Pade
1 year ago

In the 2010 mid-terms the Republicans gained 63 House seats. In 2022 they gained gained maybe 10 or twelve. But the Republicans started with 179 seats in 2010 vs. 212 in 2022. So there were far fewer seats to be gained. Many of the contestable seats were already in Republican hands. And in the meantime, demographic trends have locked more seats in the blue column.
So people like me have to temper their criticism of Trump’s toxicity with a dose of historical cold water. The economy was also much worse in 2010 than 2020, for example. We must base our aversion to Trump on more than the 2022 election results to be on firm ground.
My own Trump skepticism is based on Trump’s proven unelectability. He lost the popular vote in 2016 by 3 million. In 2020, he lost it by 7 million despite increasing his own count by 12 million. Only the barest of victories in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania carried him in 2016. The Democrats didn’t ignore this in the 2020 run-up. They learned. It won’t happen again.
There are positive reasons for favoring Desantis as well. He is an American success story. All he received from his parents was a good upbringing. He’s a Yale alumnus and served his country in the Navy. These are strengths that should play well with Trump’s base (I include the Yale part because, unlike Trump, he earned his college admission and took advantage of his opportunity).
In office he’s fought hard and well against loony leftism. He’s picked his battles, outmaneuvering opponents at every turn. He oversaw the excellent preparation and recovery efforts from Hurricane Ian. He might be the best governor in the nation.
Politically, he turned a swing state Red as a result of his job performance.
The problem is getting the Republican base to see this. This will be much harder to do than to convince independents or even red dog Democrats, if there still are any.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
1 year ago

DeSantis should ignore Trump. His standard response to questions regarding Trump should be “I’m not going to comment on or criticize the former President. I’m focused on helping the citizens of (FL/US).” Let everyone else (and Trump himself) make Trump look bad.
Trump would go more and more non-linear getting zero response from DeSantis as Trump makes up his schoolyard names

Z 0
Z 0
1 year ago

Good strategy. And I think you are right on; Trump would love getting into a verbal fight, but having his jibes ignored would probably send him up a wall. Let him gradually alienate some of his base on his own.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago
Reply to  Z 0

Never wrestle with a pig. You just get dirty and the pig likes it.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago
Reply to  Z 0

Never wrestle with a pig. You just get dirty and the pig likes it.

Z 0
Z 0
1 year ago

Good strategy. And I think you are right on; Trump would love getting into a verbal fight, but having his jibes ignored would probably send him up a wall. Let him gradually alienate some of his base on his own.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
1 year ago

DeSantis should ignore Trump. His standard response to questions regarding Trump should be “I’m not going to comment on or criticize the former President. I’m focused on helping the citizens of (FL/US).” Let everyone else (and Trump himself) make Trump look bad.
Trump would go more and more non-linear getting zero response from DeSantis as Trump makes up his schoolyard names

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

A very large number of voters, me included, held their noses when they voted for Trump. He is vulgar and undisciplined. We don’t disagree with Trump’s goals, but his style is so repulsive to so many voters he has become toxic. The Donkeys have done us a favor with their Jan 6 obsession since this, and the midterms, have shrunken Trump’s base dramatically.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

A very large number of voters, me included, held their noses when they voted for Trump. He is vulgar and undisciplined. We don’t disagree with Trump’s goals, but his style is so repulsive to so many voters he has become toxic. The Donkeys have done us a favor with their Jan 6 obsession since this, and the midterms, have shrunken Trump’s base dramatically.

Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
1 year ago

As a Republican who voted twice for Trump, I’ll not vote for him again as he is too divisive and lacks self discipline. I knew the latter in 2016 but felt he was turning over the rocks that needed to be turned over. He did that job but now we need someone who is a more polished fighter. As much as I love my guv (voted for him twice), I’d be happy to sacrifice him for the greater good.
Many of my conservative friends, both in Florida and elsewhere in the US, are weary of Trump. Time for him to go. He will not go without a fight so DeSantis needs to be prepared for it.

Michael Daniele
Michael Daniele
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

So if Trump wins the primary you will
a) not vote
b) vote democrat
c) other?

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago

The point is that, if Trump wins the primary, he will lose the presidency (again) because independents tend to hate the man more than his policies.

Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
1 year ago

I will not vote for him in either the primary or general election. In the general election, if he is the GOP candidate, I will skip that box and move down the ballot to the other races.

Michael Daniele
Michael Daniele
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

I think you’re correct Richard, many feel that way. Just curious why Mary will help Joe Biden gain a second term as opposed to holding her nose again.

Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
1 year ago

I cannot vote for Trump again because (1) he’s divisive, undisciplined and a poor judge of character given his appointments during his presidency; (2) It’s always all about him. He is not loyal to anyone who does not agree with him 100%. If he’s on the ballot in 2024 it won’t matter if I vote for him or not. The Democrats will not let him win. I will not throw my vote away to him. If necessary, I may write in my candidate of choice.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

If Trump is the Republicans candidate- we will lose the swing states (again, though maybe by more), so we’d be throwing our votes away anyway – but for those who live in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia – i also pray they vote for Trump (though I am confident that he loses (we lose). At least your vote counts in Florida (Desantis et al), whereas I’m still registered in Cook County Illinois (might as well be California)

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

If Trump is the Republicans candidate- we will lose the swing states (again, though maybe by more), so we’d be throwing our votes away anyway – but for those who live in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia – i also pray they vote for Trump (though I am confident that he loses (we lose). At least your vote counts in Florida (Desantis et al), whereas I’m still registered in Cook County Illinois (might as well be California)

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago

That’s a fair point – I (having voted for Trump twice and praying he is not the Republican candidate), would never vote for Biden or anyone roughly like him (ergo I would vote for trump again.). The fight will be in the Primary – but if Trump wins, we lose.

That’s the disturbing “fact” that we have to live with – either get rid of him, or suffer more Bernie Sanders type madness, (since I think most independents will either not vote or vote against Trump). And then – we wait another 4 years to restore sanity.

Paul M
Paul M
1 year ago

Perhaps because we’re all f*****g tired of the Trump Derangement Syndrome, and the ensuing paralysis. He is largely a cancer on any organization he joins.

Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
1 year ago

I cannot vote for Trump again because (1) he’s divisive, undisciplined and a poor judge of character given his appointments during his presidency; (2) It’s always all about him. He is not loyal to anyone who does not agree with him 100%. If he’s on the ballot in 2024 it won’t matter if I vote for him or not. The Democrats will not let him win. I will not throw my vote away to him. If necessary, I may write in my candidate of choice.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago

That’s a fair point – I (having voted for Trump twice and praying he is not the Republican candidate), would never vote for Biden or anyone roughly like him (ergo I would vote for trump again.). The fight will be in the Primary – but if Trump wins, we lose.

That’s the disturbing “fact” that we have to live with – either get rid of him, or suffer more Bernie Sanders type madness, (since I think most independents will either not vote or vote against Trump). And then – we wait another 4 years to restore sanity.

Paul M
Paul M
1 year ago

Perhaps because we’re all f*****g tired of the Trump Derangement Syndrome, and the ensuing paralysis. He is largely a cancer on any organization he joins.

Michael Daniele
Michael Daniele
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

I think you’re correct Richard, many feel that way. Just curious why Mary will help Joe Biden gain a second term as opposed to holding her nose again.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
1 year ago

Write in DeSantis.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago

The point is that, if Trump wins the primary, he will lose the presidency (again) because independents tend to hate the man more than his policies.

Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
1 year ago

I will not vote for him in either the primary or general election. In the general election, if he is the GOP candidate, I will skip that box and move down the ballot to the other races.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
1 year ago

Write in DeSantis.

Michael Daniele
Michael Daniele
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

So if Trump wins the primary you will
a) not vote
b) vote democrat
c) other?

Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
1 year ago

As a Republican who voted twice for Trump, I’ll not vote for him again as he is too divisive and lacks self discipline. I knew the latter in 2016 but felt he was turning over the rocks that needed to be turned over. He did that job but now we need someone who is a more polished fighter. As much as I love my guv (voted for him twice), I’d be happy to sacrifice him for the greater good.
Many of my conservative friends, both in Florida and elsewhere in the US, are weary of Trump. Time for him to go. He will not go without a fight so DeSantis needs to be prepared for it.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

I think the media, even the conservative media, have misread Trump and what he represents. They have, from the beginning, assigned far too much significance to the man himself, something he actively encourages for reasons of his own ego, and far too little to the ideas behind his movement, particularly the power of his anti-establishment, anti-authority, anti-media campaign. I think many of them would privately admit to agreeing somewhat with Hillary’s basket of deplorables comment. Trump the man is quite obviously a buffoon of the highest order and has been pretty much since the 80s when he entered the public consciousness. His political ideas and policies were always rather nebulous and vague. He was a Democrat for most of his life, only coming to Republicans when he saw an opportunity, which in the end, is about all he’s good for. He’s great at reading people, reading a room, understanding what motivates people, at least people other than himself. Trump came about by playing to the rooms he found himself in, voicing views and opinions that were always present but not considered politically acceptable by the people who ran the parties, because they directly threatened the power of global oligarchs. It is a grave error to see the entire movement and Trump’s supporters as reflections of him when the opposite is far nearer the truth. Trump is rather a reflection of his people, not the other way round, a reflection highly distorted by Trump’s many personal shortcomings and his inadequacy to the task his followers have handed him. Trump’s supporters are neither as stupid, nor as blindly loyal to him, as the media believes. They are motivated not by dedication to him, but rather to the mission he claimed as his own. Build the wall, America first, drain the swamp. Those things are what animates Trumpism and if someone comes along who offers a better path to that revolutionary end, they will shift as quickly as the wind, because it was never about Trump. It was about defeating the enemy. Trump almost certainly realizes this, so he is aggressively trying to paint DeSantis as an establishment tool and as a traitor to the movement. Trump’s hyperbolic reaction to DeSantis is humorously rather similar to the establishment’s initial reaction to Trump, that of a scared animal realizing he’s been noticed by a predator.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

I think the media, even the conservative media, have misread Trump and what he represents. They have, from the beginning, assigned far too much significance to the man himself, something he actively encourages for reasons of his own ego, and far too little to the ideas behind his movement, particularly the power of his anti-establishment, anti-authority, anti-media campaign. I think many of them would privately admit to agreeing somewhat with Hillary’s basket of deplorables comment. Trump the man is quite obviously a buffoon of the highest order and has been pretty much since the 80s when he entered the public consciousness. His political ideas and policies were always rather nebulous and vague. He was a Democrat for most of his life, only coming to Republicans when he saw an opportunity, which in the end, is about all he’s good for. He’s great at reading people, reading a room, understanding what motivates people, at least people other than himself. Trump came about by playing to the rooms he found himself in, voicing views and opinions that were always present but not considered politically acceptable by the people who ran the parties, because they directly threatened the power of global oligarchs. It is a grave error to see the entire movement and Trump’s supporters as reflections of him when the opposite is far nearer the truth. Trump is rather a reflection of his people, not the other way round, a reflection highly distorted by Trump’s many personal shortcomings and his inadequacy to the task his followers have handed him. Trump’s supporters are neither as stupid, nor as blindly loyal to him, as the media believes. They are motivated not by dedication to him, but rather to the mission he claimed as his own. Build the wall, America first, drain the swamp. Those things are what animates Trumpism and if someone comes along who offers a better path to that revolutionary end, they will shift as quickly as the wind, because it was never about Trump. It was about defeating the enemy. Trump almost certainly realizes this, so he is aggressively trying to paint DeSantis as an establishment tool and as a traitor to the movement. Trump’s hyperbolic reaction to DeSantis is humorously rather similar to the establishment’s initial reaction to Trump, that of a scared animal realizing he’s been noticed by a predator.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

You know what’s predictable? Articles like this. For all anyone knows, this whole Trump vs DeSantis is actually a strategy: Trump takes all the media brickbats, DeSantis looks like what he is – calm, reasoned, capable, intelligent – and DeS wins the primary. Trump is an old lion with very tough skin. His family has eaten more sh*t than any in American politics and have had enough. This is the very last article I will read on this subject because none of the writers know any more than I do.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

You know what’s predictable? Articles like this. For all anyone knows, this whole Trump vs DeSantis is actually a strategy: Trump takes all the media brickbats, DeSantis looks like what he is – calm, reasoned, capable, intelligent – and DeS wins the primary. Trump is an old lion with very tough skin. His family has eaten more sh*t than any in American politics and have had enough. This is the very last article I will read on this subject because none of the writers know any more than I do.

Bill Fenley
Bill Fenley
1 year ago

I live in Trump country (Mississippi, the white part of it anyway!) and I confirm what others here say: Trump’s support among his “base” is withering. Not just many, but most, of his voters here that I talk with are supporting or leaning toward DeSantis.

Bill Fenley
Bill Fenley
1 year ago

I live in Trump country (Mississippi, the white part of it anyway!) and I confirm what others here say: Trump’s support among his “base” is withering. Not just many, but most, of his voters here that I talk with are supporting or leaning toward DeSantis.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

“Republican elites and beltway conservative leaders, many of whom were less enthusiastic about Trump than rank-and-file party voters, see DeSantis as a long-overdue reprieve from the ex-president’s influence over the GOP.”

This statement completely misunderstands what’s going on. Beltway elites have been mortified at DeSantis’ antics. The GOP machine criticized him for taking away Disney’s tax exemption. He had parents’ backs against gender ideology in schools, the the establish GOP didn’t have his. And let’s not even start on how appalled they were at the migrant flights.

There are no blue-blood Republicans thinking DeSantis’ will let them go back to ingoring blue collar people and focusing on wars and corporate tax cuts (the only two things the national party has proven capable of doing in the last 25 years.) To the extent that DeSantis has establishment support, it’s only because they’re even more afraid of Trump.

Meanwhile, the base is already migrating to DeSantis. He’s doing exactly what he needs to: let Donald Trump rage around and scream while Ron DeSantis runs his state, solving problems, taking on hurricanes, standing up for his people… in other words, being a governor. DeSantis brings Trumps policies but also the key thing Trump lacks: competence.

This article is literally 180 degrees off.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

“Republican elites and beltway conservative leaders, many of whom were less enthusiastic about Trump than rank-and-file party voters, see DeSantis as a long-overdue reprieve from the ex-president’s influence over the GOP.”

This statement completely misunderstands what’s going on. Beltway elites have been mortified at DeSantis’ antics. The GOP machine criticized him for taking away Disney’s tax exemption. He had parents’ backs against gender ideology in schools, the the establish GOP didn’t have his. And let’s not even start on how appalled they were at the migrant flights.

There are no blue-blood Republicans thinking DeSantis’ will let them go back to ingoring blue collar people and focusing on wars and corporate tax cuts (the only two things the national party has proven capable of doing in the last 25 years.) To the extent that DeSantis has establishment support, it’s only because they’re even more afraid of Trump.

Meanwhile, the base is already migrating to DeSantis. He’s doing exactly what he needs to: let Donald Trump rage around and scream while Ron DeSantis runs his state, solving problems, taking on hurricanes, standing up for his people… in other words, being a governor. DeSantis brings Trumps policies but also the key thing Trump lacks: competence.

This article is literally 180 degrees off.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago

I wonder how many people are in the same boat as Andrew Sullivan? I interpreted what he wrote here: https://unherd.com/2022/11/why-im-voting-republican/ as saying that the only thing that could keep him voting Democrat is to keep Trump out of power.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago

Andrew Sullivan is a chump. I don’t pay him any mind, and neither should any serious-minded person.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Agree – Sullivan keeps saying he’s a conservative and he is anything but! He’s blows with the wind.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Agree – Sullivan keeps saying he’s a conservative and he is anything but! He’s blows with the wind.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago

Andrew Sullivan is a chump. I don’t pay him any mind, and neither should any serious-minded person.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago

I wonder how many people are in the same boat as Andrew Sullivan? I interpreted what he wrote here: https://unherd.com/2022/11/why-im-voting-republican/ as saying that the only thing that could keep him voting Democrat is to keep Trump out of power.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago

Trump has become a florid distraction from the business of beating Democrats. His 40% party base might win him the primary with a good measure of Independents pushing him over the finish line. But he can’t beat even Joe Biden with that lineup. The Democrat/Media complex with Big Tech help is too much for a tattered old target like Trump. A fresh start is needed and DeSantis has what it takes, including a lack of the high level of narcissism that makes Trump so unstable.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago

Trump has become a florid distraction from the business of beating Democrats. His 40% party base might win him the primary with a good measure of Independents pushing him over the finish line. But he can’t beat even Joe Biden with that lineup. The Democrat/Media complex with Big Tech help is too much for a tattered old target like Trump. A fresh start is needed and DeSantis has what it takes, including a lack of the high level of narcissism that makes Trump so unstable.

chris Barton
chris Barton
1 year ago

Judging by the mid terms, the Dems wont let another Republican anywhere near the white house.

chris Barton
chris Barton
1 year ago

Judging by the mid terms, the Dems wont let another Republican anywhere near the white house.

Neil Anthony
Neil Anthony
1 year ago

First of all Fox needs to “shut their trap” with their infantile Trump bashing. Secondly, Trump has to “give” his base to Ron… after being vanquished a la WWE style. Trump knows all politics is Television, no matter how serious the “pundits” appear to be. The clowns at Fox apparently have not learned from their corporate liberal colleagues. You bash Trump and we will use the remote…

J Guy
J Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  Neil Anthony

Fox News is a business and most certainly has done the marketing research to back its shift away from Trump. Many of us are still sore from Trump’s narcissistic antics that gave the Senate to the Dems in the two 2020 Georgia runoffs. Without that we all would be experiencing a lot less pain caused by the left’s overspending and political overreach. We are ready for younger leadership — time finally to retire the Boomers!

J Guy
J Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  Neil Anthony

Fox News is a business and most certainly has done the marketing research to back its shift away from Trump. Many of us are still sore from Trump’s narcissistic antics that gave the Senate to the Dems in the two 2020 Georgia runoffs. Without that we all would be experiencing a lot less pain caused by the left’s overspending and political overreach. We are ready for younger leadership — time finally to retire the Boomers!

Neil Anthony
Neil Anthony
1 year ago

First of all Fox needs to “shut their trap” with their infantile Trump bashing. Secondly, Trump has to “give” his base to Ron… after being vanquished a la WWE style. Trump knows all politics is Television, no matter how serious the “pundits” appear to be. The clowns at Fox apparently have not learned from their corporate liberal colleagues. You bash Trump and we will use the remote…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

I amm merikan an fink donilds ttrumpe iz bes persin on th wewld 2 b priZ isisent coz i iz veri cleva an unjukated an kleva

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

I amm merikan an fink donilds ttrumpe iz bes persin on th wewld 2 b priZ isisent coz i iz veri cleva an unjukated an kleva

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Stupid people need someone to vote for too – it’s only right that the incoherent draft-dodging Putin fan boy should run again.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Stupid people need someone to vote for too – it’s only right that the incoherent draft-dodging Putin fan boy should run again.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
1 year ago

I agree with the premise that the Republican Party has elites, who are slowly distancing themselves from Trump, and many rank-and-file members who are not. But to conflate these Trump loyalists with a so-called GOP “base” ( a vague term at best ) is misleading. Trump’s followers, in the minds of most everyday Republican voters, are an aberration. They are not “the base”, and never were. In fact, it was the betrayal of average Republicans when the elites abdicated to him in 2016 that led to the debacle wherein true conservatism has almost no voice in the Party. If delegates to the next GOP national convention don’t act responsibly and are intimidated into supporting Donald Trump, then the Grand Old Party will have gone the way of the Whigs. It will be the Dead Old Party.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gerald Arcuri