“Donald Trump’s Achilles heel has always been his ego. It will remain so in the primary and if DeSantis can capitalize on it, he’s got a shot.”
The Ron DeSantis Dilemma for Donald Trump – As the race for the Republican primary heats up and Ron DeSantis is now officially campaigning, Donald Trump faces a challenge.
How will the former president, once seen as a rogue player who operated “outside the system” tackle a candidate who has fought the system at every turn and unlike Trump, beat it?
Donald Trump Will Flip Flop
In an interview with Newsmax earlier this month, DeSantis claimed victory for the people of Florida over Disney who outwardly opposed the governor’s Parental Rights in Education Bill. The legislation, which has come to be known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, easily passed in the Florida legislature despite the entertainment titan’s protests.
“Disney is not allowed to pervert the system to the detriment of Floridians.” Check.
He then turned to the special privileges Disney has enjoyed for decades in Florida. “Why should one corporation govern itself? Be exempt from laws? It’s the most egregious type of corporate welfare you can believe.”
While culture warriors on the right cheered Ron on for tackling a gender-neutral mouse, those more left of center may have a hard time arguing against DeSantis for his fight against unfettered corporate privilege that Disney was able to take advantage of.
Yet, Trump derided DeSantis’ feud with a company that, once beloved by millions of people, recently faced boycotts. By siding with Disney, Trump came off as – I can’t believe I’m typing this word next to the former President’s name – woke. Or, at the very least, weak in the eyes of conservatives.
A similar situation occurred with the Bud Light transgender debacle. While a good number of Republicans united to boycott the beloved blue-collar brand, Donald Trump Jr. called for an end to the public stoning, defending Anheuser Busch, the parent company. They have historically been a big donor to the Republican party.
While we didn’t hear much from Donald Trump himself on this one, one might assume his son’s stance was representative of the Trump campaign in general.
Such positions suggest a man who will place politicking over principle simply to trash his opponent or garner votes. If there is one thing conservatives like to tout, it’s their adherence to principle, even if it means losing profit.
While Trump whines on about DeSantis’s lack of loyalty, moves like this demonstrate Trump may be willing to sell out his own followers for personal gain.
It’s not a good look – almost as bad as his hair.
It’s About Winning
At the end of the day, Republicans have to be able to win, and Ron DeSantis did that in Florida. Not only did he win, but as his prime competitor right now would say, he won “bigly.”
DeSantis flipped Miami-Dade County to become the first Republican governor to secure victory in the predominantly Hispanic and Democrat stronghold. He secured 58% of the Latino vote, who are largely more culturally conservative and Catholic. The Latino population makes up 40% of the Catholic population. Translation: cultural battles matter to them.
DeSantis’s victory came despite his strong stance against illegal immigration.
If Republicans are going to defeat Joe Biden in the general election, they need to harness votes of minorities and more traditional liberals across the country. The Republican candidate must secure some votes in blue urban areas.
DeSantis has demonstrated that a conservative can win amongst groups that don’t always vote red.
He needs to convince the always Trumpers that a vote for Trump in the primaries may not result in a victory in 2024.
Florida’s favorite needs to emphasize that even with what may be considered conservative policies, or maybe just a little common sense, he can win over enough independents and minorities to turn Republicans from losers to winners.
Trump’s Achilles Heel
Donald Trump’s Achilles heel has always been his ego. It will remain so in the primary and if DeSantis can capitalize on it, he’s got a shot.
By the sounds of a recent radio show interview in Tennessee with host Matt Murphy, he already is. DeSantis commented on Trump’s weaknesses:
“It seems like he’s running to the left . . . you don’t win nationally by moving to the left. I never watered down anything I did. I don’t know what happened to Donald Trump. This is a different guy today than when he was running in 2015 and 2016.”
Voters should expect to see DeSantis continue to highlight both Trump’s failures on issues such as border security, gender, and other issues that expose his hypocrisy. As well as the former president’s very real potential to lose the general election – again.
If Ron DeSantis can convince enough of the MAGA crowd that blind loyalty may lose them the war in 2024, then he’s got a shot at securing the Republican nomination, and an even better chance at a new home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review.
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