DONALD TRUMP’S CHANCES of winning another term as president are fading fast, thanks to revelations in the Jan. 6 hearings and the continued surge by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who now looks like the GOP favorite for the presidential nomination in 2024.
TWO DEVELOPMENTS YESTERDAY highlighted Trump’s descent: a poll in New Hampshire that showed Trump trailing DeSantis slightly, and a report in Politico that DeSantis apparently won’t even bother to seek Trump’s endorsement in the Florida gubernatorial race.
TRUMP’S SUDDEN PLUNGE has ignited a blame game in his camp; he and his advisers are livid that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy chose ignore the Jan.6 committee hearings, not putting any Republicans on the panel. The Democrats thus have controlled the narrative.
WE’VE TALKED WITH A DOZEN Republicans in recent weeks who all have the same viewpoint: Trump, they say, still has a hard core of supporters but increasingly appears to be more trouble than he’s worth. His legal woes will not subside, as odds now appear to favor an indictment by the Justice Department for his role in the Jan. 6 riots.
WHILE MOST AMERICANS ARE MORE WORRIED about a recession and the spike in gasoline and food inflation, even voters who aren’t paying much attention to the Jan. 6 hearings have heard about William Barr’s devastating testimony, the chants to hang Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump’s belief that her father didn’t win, and the blatant attempts to alter election results.
OUR TAKE IS THAT MOST AMERICANS would prefer to tackle economic issues rather than dwell on Jan. 6 and myriad Trump scandals. But DeSantis and a half dozen Republicans sense an opening; they’re not willing to wait until 2028 to run for president — the 2024 nod suddenly looks wide open.
DeSANTIS IS FLUSH WITH CASH and likely to easily win re-election in Florida this November; he’s far more popular in the state than Trump. On several issues, he’s running to Trump’s right, especially on Covid lockdowns, which Trump initially supported and DeSantis adamantly rejected.
SEVERAL OTHER REPUBLICANS MAY RUN: Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appears to be campaigning, as is former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and several others — including Mike Pence, who looks like a candidate who could annoy Trump. A handful of moderates (Liz Cheney and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan) also may run.
WE’RE NOT READY TO BURY TRUMP: He has astonishing support in the South and West and can generate publicity better than anyone in recent political history. But he’s losing altitude fast as Republicans embrace an agenda that focuses on the future, not the past.
THE 2024 GOP NOMINATION IS VERY MUCH WORTH WINNING, whether Joe Biden runs or not (we think he will not). As of now, we’ll make this prediction: after a landslide re-election by DeSantis on Nov. 8, he will become the early favorite to win the presidency in 2024.
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