Donald Trump’s star is fading. The embattled former president is losing his grip on the GOP amongst a variety of lawsuits, investigations, and scandals. But Trump has always been embroiled in lawsuits, investigation, and scandals.
What is different now? Is America, particularly conservative America, suffering from Trump fatigue?
Trump Stock Has Never Been Lower
Usually when an incumbent president loses a presidential campaign – like Trump did in 2020 – their career at the presidential level of politics is over.
The losing candidates’ respective national party moves on in search of fresh blood, without the taint of national-level loss, capable of winning the next presidential election.
Trump busted the norm, forging ahead beyond the 2020 election, having lost yet remaining the de facto head of the GOP.
Part of Trump’s resiliency can be attributed to his refusal to accept the fact that he lost (inspiring his minions to do the same). So, in a twisted, reality defying way, Trump side stepped the taint of loss – or at least mitigated the taint.
But questions about Trump’s electability have lingered. Actually, questions about Trump’s electability have been exacerbated; the 2022 midterms were a disaster for Trump; Trump-endorsed candidates were trounced in battle ground states, losing in all but one contest (JD Vance won in Ohio).
The math is simple. Voters aren’t voting for Trump. Accordingly, the GOP is being forced to reassess who their standard bearer is.
Trump’s electability is one problem. Another problem: Trump’s ongoing lawsuits, investigations, and scandals – which the public may be losing its taste for. Maybe years and years of endless, up-to-the-minute media coverage on every Trump gaffe and lawsuit finally has Americans to the point where they just don’t want to hear it anymore, where Americans want something new, something positive.
An Alternative Arises
A new poll from USA TODAY/Suffolk University shows that the majority of conservatives – over 61 percent – want a presidential candidate who promotes the same platform as Trump but do not want to Trump to be the presidential nominee. Think about that for a minute. Conservatives, who have selected Trump as their presidential nominee in two consecutive elections, want Trump’s policies but not Trump himself.
That’s a remarkable evolution for American conservatives, who have helped build a cult of personality around Trump the demagogue. Now, those same conservatives want someone new.
Not just any someone, but someone specific. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Are conservatives fatigued with Trump? Or are they enamored with DeSantis? It’s probably a little bit of both.
The USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll indicated that DeSantis held a 23-point margin over Trump. That’s a big margin. DeSantis held a similar margin in last month’s Florida gubernatorial election, which DeSantis won with a 20-point margin over Charlie Crist.
The thing with DeSantis is that he is born of the MAGA mold. DeSantis will give you a lot of the Trump conservatism – but without the lawsuits, investigations, and scandals. All the stupid stuff that Trump does regularly, which voters are losing their patience for, DeSantis (to our knowledge) doesn’t do.
In the eyes of the public, DeSantis is a clean-cut American dad/JAG/baseball player. The State of New York isn’t suing DeSantis. The FBI isn’t raiding DeSantis’s home. The House isn’t investigating DeSantis.
Now, maybe after a term or two as president, the DOJ, FBI, and House will all be after DeSantis, too.
But right now, he’s fresh and clean. And for conservatives truly growing tired of Trump’s antics, DeSantis offers a fantastic alternative.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.