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The question is rising to the forefront of American politics, and increasingly, the answer looks like it could be Yes.
We’re still a ways out from the GOP primary properly heating up. And we’re still about two years out from the 2024 presidential election. But right now, December 2022, DeSantis’s stock is rising while Trump’s stock is falling.
The inverse trajectories of the two biggest names in conservative politics could well lead to the GOP having a new presidential nominee for the first time since Mitt Romney went head-to-head with incumbent Barack Obama during the 2012 presidential election.
Indeed, Trump has been the GOP’s standard-bearer since 2016 when he upset a crowded field of established politicians.
But now, Trump’s hold on the GOP is faltering.
Trump’s stock falling
A variety of problems have besieged Trump, namely, lawsuits, investigations, and scandals. There’s a lot; here’s the run down…
Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, is being sued in the State of New York for allegedly falsifying valuations to receive more favorable loan rates. New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking to have Trump and his children barred from ever conducting business in New York again. Trump is also being investigated for the mishandling of sensitive documents – many of which were seized in an FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago last August. And just last week, the House finished up an eighteen-month investigation into Trump’s behavior relating to the January 6th riots.
The House concluded that Trump has indeed conducted himself in an illegal manner – and made criminal referrals to the Department of Justice in the hopes that Attorney General Merrick Garland would bring criminal charges against Trump.
If Garland does charge Trump, it would represent the first time in US history a former president had been charged criminally. Then, there’s the scandal. Trump hosted Kanye West and Nick Fuentes – tow antisemites – for dinner at Mar-a-Lago over Thanksgiving.
The resultant fallout was a “political nightmare” for Trump.
The timing couldn’t be worse for Trump who just announced his third consecutive presidential run, despite mounting concerns over the real estate mogul’s electability. Trump of course lost the 2020 election and his endorsees have been getting trounced in elections ever since.
DeSantis’s stock rising
Meanwhile, Ron DeSantis is on the rise, threatening to overtake Donald Trump as the standard bearer of the GOP. DeSantis has made a name for himself with several high-profile political maneuvers. Ron DeSantis flouted the CDC’s COVID recommendations, to the delight of conservatives. Ron DeSantis also signed the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill into law. And most stunt-like, DeSantis recently loaded up a chartered plane full of migrants and flew the thing to Martha’s Vineyard – the renowned enclave of coastal liberal elites.
DeSantis was rewarded with a twenty-point margin of victory in his gubernatorial election. Now, DeSantis is surging into the presidential conversation. In fact, polls are beginning to indicate that Republican voters prefer DeSantis to Trump. A USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll found that DeSantis held a shocking margin over Trump – 56 percent to 33 percent. If the poll is to be believed, Donald Trump is in serious trouble.
Granted, Trump has been besieged with lawsuits, investigations, and scandals throughout his juvenile political career – and he’s always pulled through.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison 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. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.