DeSantis vs Trump: The Republicans are now engaged in the race for the White House

    Is there a proven formula for how to become a president? This question is probably the first thing a candidate for the US presidential elections ponder about, especially if the opponent is Trump. 

    Preparations for the 2024 presidential race are underway for the Republicans. After Donald Trump, who started his presidential campaign in November 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis joined the race for the Republican Party presidential primaries. DeSantis and Trump are strong contenders in the race, along with ambitious figures like Mike Pence and Nikki Haley. 

    The Republicans seem to have the advantage in the 2024 elections. The public perception of Biden as an ‘old man’ and other controversial policies dent the Democrats’ chances. The Republicans have plenty of issues to criticise: the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, the failure to stop the Ukraine war, the ineffective sanctions against Putin, the high oil prices, and the record-high inflation, which is nearly 6.6 times higher than in 2020, the greatest increase since 1981.

    Polls confirm that Republicans have an advantage in the upcoming election. According to a survey of nationally registered voters conducted by the Marquette Law School, 52 per cent of respondents said they would support the Republican candidate, Trump, while 47 per cent favoured Biden. In the option that excludes Trump and includes DeSantis, 38 per cent of the voters said they would vote for DeSantis, while 37 per cent said they would vote for Biden. Eighteen per cent say they will not vote for either candidate. 

    DeSantis and Trump threw jabs against each other at the launch of their campaigns. DeSantis, whose campaign on Twitter was affected by a technical glitch, was laughed at by Trump. DeSantis embraced a different stance, stating he would use pardon for Trump if the latter was found guilty in the January 6 Attack court case. DeSantis’ ‘forgiving’ attitude is telling because the Democrats previously accused him of remaining silent about the January 6 riots. DeSantis avoided an approach that directly accuses or implies that Trump was guilty in the January 6 attack and other cases where the former president was tried. 

    Although Trump seems to have more support for his presidential candidacy than DeSantis, the litigation process is like a Damocles Sword hanging over his head. While hardcore Trump supporters consider these lawsuits fabricated by the deep state, these lawsuits will not disappear. Hence, this situation represents a significant political opportunity for DeSantis.

    Media companies affiliated with News Corp and Dow Jones & Company, close to the Republicans, noted this situation. The New York Post chose the headline “DeFuture” after DeSantis’ midterm election victory. Also, The Wall Street Journal editorial board published the election victory as the “The DeSantis Florida tsunami.” Meanwhile, the same media outlets criticised Trump’s role in the Capitol riot.

    However, at this point, the most important challenge for DeSantis will be to reveal his policies and how they differ from the former president’s. Both names prefer a non-interventionist posture in their foreign policy, advocate for strong cooperation with Israel, and align in their immigration approaches. DeSantis says the term global warming is used as an excuse for unnecessary leftist politics. Similarly, Trump was criticised for not supporting renewable energy during his presidency. The former president withdrew from the Paris Agreement and tried to increase domestic fossil fuel production by approving controversial projects like the Keystone XL pipeline. 

    At this juncture, DeSantis has strong points in his favour. He is young, well-educated, and served in the military. He still does not have the edge over his opponent. In other words, he is not Trump 2.0. Therefore, he tries to win the comparison battle. For instance, he underlined that Trump would not be as effective as him on immigration policies. However, DeSantis must act courageously to carve more public support from his opponent’s voter base.

    In this sense, DeSantis’ decisive victory in Florida, a swing state. Moreover, unlike in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, the Republicans secured more votes not only in rural areas but also in urban settings like Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Furthermore, DeSantis’ bold policies during the Covid period, cancellation of DEI spending, and fight with Disneyland raise his stakes. Economic indicators also play in his favour. For example, Florida’s budget announced a surplus of $21.8 billion in 2022- the highest in the state’s history.

    In light of all these developments, DeSantis’ campaign could sail well ahead, but he still needs the support of Lobbies and Evangelical churches. It is said that “money is the nerve of war”. While Campaign manager Generra Peck won him Florida, he still needs to expand his campaign team and boost his digital ad spend because his current spending is almost four times lower than President Biden’s. 

    In short, the race has just started, but one thing is clear: The Republicans have a big shot at the presidential office in the upcoming election.

    Latest Articles

    Related Articles