The reason that Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis’ poll numbers in the 2024 GOP Presidential Primary season are so low is simple: his opponent, former President Donald J. Trump is shamelessly lying (and gaslighting) many Republican primary voters about DeSantis’ stellar record and most voters are simply not paying attention yet.
Name recognition is the single greatest driving force for voters at this early stage in an election. This was why experts like myself fully agreed with Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election, when he was saying that early polls in the GOP Primary that year were unreliable.
Of course, now Trump loves the polls that once used to trash him.
Perhaps the pollsters have truly perfected their trade and are now accounting for votes that they previously would have missed. Maybe—just maybe, though—the polls are still being used to shape, rather than reflect, the will of the people as we approach Election Day.
Remember, most polling agencies and their media backers loathe Donald Trump. So, any poll showing Trump with massive leads, before any voting has taken place, should be met by everyone with suspicion—including the giddy Trump Campaign. The interesting things will only start happening when we are nearer to the election days in the early primary states. That’s not until Iowa in mid-January.
With that in mind, rather than be deterred by Trump’s gaslighting and braggadocio (much of it unfounded), Gov. DeSantis has opted instead to punch back. And the best part about DeSantis’ hits on Trump is, unlike Trump, the criticisms are fair and honest. Trump, meanwhile, just makes things up whole cloth about DeSantis—a man that until five minutes ago, Trump effusively praised as his political protégé.
Recently, Gov. DeSantis struck out against Trump in public.
Hitting Trump Hard
First, by reminding voters that, if elected to the presidency, Trump would be little more than a lame duck. After all, he would be relegated to only one term. By the way, that’s if Trump decided to leave the White House after his second term ended (the former president seems to have issues with giving up the ghost, as January 6 proved).
Trump already previously intimated that, since his first term was derailed by the “Deep State” and his second term was “stolen” by the Democrats, he is entitled to two full terms.
What DeSantis is talking about is that, if Trump were to be reelected, he’d be lucky to get his first 100 days to do big things before the system closed around him. A normal president who could constitutionally run for reelection, would always know that he’d get his first 100 days (maybe his first two years, if he’s lucky) to enact sweeping policies and then he’d have to wait until his first year-and-a-half of a potential second term to get more things done.
But with Trump, he would not have that luxury.
More troubling for Trump is that there exists a serious possibility that, in no small part thanks to his own high disapproval rating among voters, he would have a Democratic Party-controlled Congress, as he had in his first term—and we all know how that went.
If that were the case, Trump’s effectiveness as president would be further diminished.
This, of course, would not be the case for a new, young Republican president, like Ron DeSantis. Alas, “MAGA”-world is intent on obliterating DeSantis, even if it means destroying the Republican Party’s only lasting hope for acquiring long-term power.
Because it is unlikely that, if DeSantis loses in 2024 to Trump, that the fanatical base would ever “forgive” the Florida governor for daring to challenge Trump (even though Trump has done little to earn reelection).
Trump Destroyed the Economy
DeSantis’ next line of criticism was extremely apt: if the number one issue Americans care about is inflation, and the number issue is the overall economy, how could the Republicans nominate the man who presided over the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression?
The reason that Americans are experiencing stratospheric inflation with concomitant high interest rates is because former President Trump spent an astonishing $7.2 trillion while in office—and it wasn’t all from COVID-19 relief (though that was a part of it)!
Sure, Bidenomics is awful and President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s nominee in 2024, has only worsened our economic condition. But Trump triggered the odious economy that we have today with his disastrous, debt-laden spending. He will repeat these catastrophic policies, if given the presidency again. After all, Trump’s long-time nickname has been the “King of Debt”.
DeSantis, on the other hand, has a stellar record governing the fourth-largest economy (in GDP terms) in the United States. He’s left our state with a massive budget surplus.
Further, he kept our state open for business when then-President Trump was demanding everyone lockdown and decimate their economies to save America from the novel coronavirus loosed from Wuhan, China.
Alas, Trump continues to lie about DeSantis’ record because to address it openly and fairly—for example, during a debate—would automatically destroy Trump’s claims that he alone can save both the country and the Republican Party.
DeSantis is right to attack Trump now, as more people begin paying attention. Perhaps the polls are right and Trump has already won the primary. Then again, maybe not. Regardless of what happens, the American people deserve to have a fair discussion about the truth of Trump’s presidency.
DeSantis is holding Trump accountable. For the sake of our republic, I am grateful. Such gumption may be rewarded when the voters actually take to the polls next year.
In all, I’d advise DeSantis to keep pushing against Trump. What else does he have to lose?
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor and an energy analyst at the The-Pipeline, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense. He can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.
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