Think Ron DeSantis: What if Donald Trump and the Florida governor join forces and create a mega GOP ticket for 2024? Is that possible with both of their massive egos?
We looked at it.
Two Words That Could Mean Trump Wins
Currently, the most closely monitored dynamic in US politics is the interplay between former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Obviously, only one candidate can win the GOP nomination. The competition will likely define the 2024 GOP primary.
Trump v. DeSantis
Trump has dominated GOP politics for nearly eight years – ever since he rode down his golden escalator and declared his candidacy for the 2016 election (which, somehow, he won).
Trump lost the 2020 election (by seven million votes), while his endorsees fared poorly in subsequent midterm elections.
Trump is compounding his electability woes with a plethora of lawsuits, investigations, and scandals.
Meanwhile, Ron DeSantis is now quite popular, however, he can’t match Trump in the polls.
Last November, DeSantis destroyed Charlie Crist in the Florida gubernatorial election – concretely demonstrating just how viable DeSantis is. DeSantis has risen to prominence with a series of brash political stunts/maneuvers.
Through flouting COVID conventions, “wokeism,” Disney, and left-wing-open-borders-immigration-policy, DeSantis has endeared himself to right-wing constituents.
Could Donald Trump and DeSantis team up?
In 2008, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton ran a bitterly contested DNC primary against each other. Obama, a freshman Senator, upset Clinton, who was already a well-established political institution and the expected winner.
In victory, Obama was gracious; rather than marginalize his former opponent, Obama reached out, courting Clinton to join the nascent Obama administration. Clinton was hesitant at first but ultimately accepted the position as Secretary of State, which of course helped her posture to re-run for the White House in 2016.
If either Trump or DeSantis wins the GOP primary, could the winner reach out similarly to court the loser and consolidate power and talent within one administration? It seems less likely here.
If DeSantis wins, Donald Trump simply isn’t going to join the DeSantis administration. Trump is a former president and any Executive Branch position other than President of the United States isn’t going to work. Trump is not going to join a DeSantis ticket as vice president, nor is Trump going to join a DeSantis cabinet. Assuming DeSantis even wants such a thing, it’s just not going to happen.
The more likely scenario is that Trump wins and reaches out to DeSantis. Yet, for Trump to reach out after the primary was settled would require the notoriously thin-skinned Trump to get through a bitterly contested primary without getting his feelings hurt, without taking DeSantis’s criticisms and political attacks personally.
Can Trump do that? I don’t think so. Perhaps if DeSantis ran a squeaky-clean race, without ad hominem attacks, or even without general criticisms of the Trump administration, DeSantis would be welcomed into the fold.
But DeSantis is cut from Trump’s cloth. If DeSantis runs, he’s going to run hard. No, Trump is probably going to hate DeSantis by the time the GOP primary is settled, making it less likely a defeated DeSantis is invited to join a hypothetical Trump administration.
Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense 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 has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.
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