Ron DeSantis could be the Trump candidate in the 2024 GOP Presidential primary
Various polls show the Florida governor beating or nearly trailing the former president in polls for Republican’s preferred 2024 option.
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has emerged as an early favorite to become the GOP’s presidential nominee for 2024.
Much of the recent hype culminated with a straw poll conducted at the 12th annual Western Conservative Summit that took place June 18-19 in Denver. Participants were asked to select their preferred candidate for the future republican nomination.
They were provided with prominent names from both major political parties, with figures like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders included.
Selecting multiple options was allowed in the unscientific survey that was limited to Republican activists.
In the end, results showed that most would approve of DeSantis running in three years as he received 74.1% support from 371 respondents.
The governor of the Sunshine state ranking so highly is not surprising given the rapid growth in his popularity, but most were shocked to see him above former President Donald Trump.
The previous commander-in-chief came second in the survey, obtaining 71.4% approval for another bid to return to the White House.
Despite Trump’s many controversies during his presidency, he still holds strong support among GOP voters.
A recent Politico/Morning Consult survey showed that three in 10 registered Republican voters are such diehard fans of him they believe he will be reinstated as president by the end of the year.
The conspiracy stems from Trump’s reported belief that after evidence of voter fraud is found in the GOP-commissioned election audit in Arizona and similar ballot reviews across the country, he will be acknowledged as the real winner of the 2020 election.
America’s 45th president also still holds a firm grasp on Republican leadership in Congress.
On May 28, 46 Republican senators did not support the creation of a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump loyalists in a last ditch attempt to overturn the electoral results of the presidential election.
Rep. Liz Cheney, former Chair of the House Republican Conference, was ousted from leadership in mid-May for publicly denouncing claims pushed by the former president that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
At a CPAC event in Dallas over the weekend two straw polls were conducted that provided a better view of DeSantis' presidential aspirations in three years.
With Trump on the ballot, the former president obtained 70% support from respondents, but with his name not included the current Florida governor reached 68% of the vote.
If the results from the survey do eventually translate to what a wider range of Republican voters feel about potential candidates for 2024, it does not mean they reject Trump.
Given the friendly relationship both men have and the similar policies they have defended, respondents want either the former president back in the White House or a figure akin to him.
On May 6, 2021, the Florida governor signed a bill that many Democrats labeled as a form of voter suppression.
It required ID for those wanting to request a mail-in ballot and limited dropboxes to areas where they can be monitored in-person.
Trump heavily criticized this form of voting and claimed it would litter the 2020 election with fraud, but contradicted himself by saying that the system works in Florida because of its Republican leadership.
On social issues, DeSantis is also fighting the same battles as the former president by antagonizing the teaching of Critical Race Theory, a loose intellectual framework that seeks to analyze how modern American institutions, systems and laws create inequalities between whites and people of color.
The Florida State Board of Education, with many members appointed by DeSantis, unanimously approved the amendment banning critical race theory on June 10. He would later say that the teaching is “not worth any taxpayer dollars."
The 45th president took a step further by promoting so-called “patriotic education” by establishing the 1776 Commission after a Summer-long racial justice protest in 2020. Its goal was to not examine U.S. history through slavery and racism, and dismiss critical race theory as liberal propaganda.
DeSantis approves many of Trump’s initiatives, but because of his more traditional background, he could give voters on the fence more reassurance as less of a disrupter to the system.
The 42-year-old is a Yale and Harvard graduate with six years of active military service in which he obtained the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He also served in Congress for nearly three terms before becoming the leader of America’s third most populous state.
Republicans may also be leaving Trump because they feel that he carries too much baggage to be electorally viable.
He would be 78 in 2024 and was the only president to face two impeachments, the first one for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress with regards to allegedly engaging in a quid pro quo with Ukraine so it would investigate the Biden family.
The second impeachment resulted from incitement of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots , which tried to stop the certification of President Biden’s electoral victory.
CNN’s Harry Enten, senior politics writing and analyst, believes DeSantis’ rapid rise in popularity mirrors that of the former president because of exposure.
“If we learned anything from 2016, what we know is that the media can oftentimes drive momentum and Ron DeSantis on Fox News and Fox Business has 456 mentions over the last two months. That’s ahead of Ted Cruz and that’s well ahead of Mike Pence at 116,” he said.
Their similarity has also made many ask whether Gov. DeSantis could be Trump’s running mate if he chooses to run in 2024.
“I endorsed Ron and after I endorsed him he took off like a rocket ship. He’s done a great job as governor. A lot of people love that ticket but certainly Ron would be considered,” former president Trump told Fox Business in April.
Only one detail is impeding this from happening at the moment.
The former president changed his voter registration from New York to make Florida his home state ahead of the 2020 election. He would have to switch his residency back or change to a different state to avoid losing out on the Sunshine State's 30 electoral votes.
Florida gaining an additional congressional district after last year’s Census means that whoever the Republican nominee for president is in the next cycle, they will want to secure the state.
The state has gone to the GOP since 2012, but with the party likely challenging either the incumbent president or vice president in 2024, it is sure to be hotly contested.
Another clue that indicates the two will pair up is that Trump allies are certain that if he enters the 2024 primary, DeSantis will not launch a bid of his own.
“I think Ron DeSantis is identified across the country now for the courage that he shows for conservative solutions, and he would be the first to say that if President Trump gets in, that he would win the nomination and would clear the field, and so I don't ever see it being a 2016 primary scenario," former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said.
DeSantis has said that he plans to run for reelection in 2022, but faces a tough Democratic challenger in congressman Charlie Christ, who governed Florida for one term as a Republican before running for Senate as an independent.
The state’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried entered the race last month and she labeled DeSantis “an authoritarian dictator who is borderline Fascist” over the signing of the previously-mentioned voter suppression bill.
If he wins that race, it places him in prime position to launch a presidential bid, but his frontline may dissipate before then.