For Republicans, Trump Is Today, DeSantis Is Tomorrow – RedState

For Republicans, Trump Is Today, DeSantis Is Tomorrow – RedState

I think maybe I’ve cracked the code. And we’ll all know on Monday night after the Iowa Caucus. Or perhaps the night of the New Hampshire primary, at the latest.

I join millions who’ve watched these political polls with utter amazement. This time last year, Ron DeSantis, fresh off his spectacular and historic victory in Florida, according to the polls, seemed the presumed front-runner for the GOP nomination. It was his for the taking, or so it appeared.

Today, after almost eight months of relentless campaigning — he didn’t announce his candidacy until late May — and after untold millions of dollars spent on his behalf in support of what few deny was the most extraordinary ground game in politics, focused almost exclusively in Iowa, DeSantis has either remained static or, according to some polls, actually lost ground.

Here is what I think is happening writ-large in the Republican Party. And don’t shoot me; I’m just the piano player.

On CNN after the DeSantis Haley debate, they had on 10 Iowa Republican voters who have been participating in a voter focus group. And what I’m about to share is based on my best recollection of the CNN segment. It was late, I didn’t go back and watch it again, but I think my memory is serving me well.


Highlights From the GOP Debate Between DeSantis and Haley

Rasmussen: Trump Holds 8-Point Lead Over Biden; DeSantis Would Beat President but Haley Would Fall Short

The ‘Sexist’ Ron DeSantis Attack Against Nikki Haley That Wasn’t

CNN has been tracking the same 10 Iowa voters from the beginning of these GOP debates. The moderator of the panel discussion asked these same ten voters a variety of questions, including who they thought won the debate. Four said they thought DeSantis won, four said Haley, and two said Trump.

Next, the moderator asked who they thought won most of the debates, going back to the beginning. Roughly less than half said Haley, roughly less than half said DeSantis, and a couple of them again said Trump. Then he asked if any of them had changed their minds over these last six or more months since the debates began, and not a single one raised his or her hand. Hmm.

He followed up by asking who they were supporting for the nomination. And that question played out this way: Two said Nikki Haley, one said Ron DeSantis, four said Donald Trump, and three were undecided. When the moderator asked the three undecided voters which of the candidates they were undecided on, all three said Trump and DeSantis. However — and this is what I found most interesting — the four voters who said they thought DeSantis won the debate against Haley, all of them said they’re voting for Trump.

So, what this tells me is that Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, at least according to this GOP voter focus group, have the hearts and minds of the Republican Party, but Haley does not. I also believe Republican voters, right or wrong, wisely or not, have decided that in light of the suspicious circumstances of the 2020 election — and it insults dumb to pretend there wasn’t anything suspicious about it — Trump deserves a second bite at the apple. I don’t think it is any more complicated than to say they believe that giving him that is the fair and right thing to do.

While I personally disagree with this point of view, I suspect that’s what is happening here and that it is why the polls have not shifted since Trump’s first indictment, except upwards. I also believe GOP voters understand this is Donald Trump’s last stand and his final opportunity at the White House. Whereas, I think these same Republicans, while they like and even admire DeSantis, understand he has a long and very bright future ahead of him still. And I think this is the collective judgment of a large majority of today’s Republican Party.

Might that all change Monday night in the freezing temps of Des Moines? Or after New Hampshire? Maybe. We’ll see.

Now, all of this begs the question of what happened to DeSantis’ sizable lead between January and May of last year. Well, the answer to that seems pretty obvious at this point: Republicans recoiled and coalesced behind Donald Trump in the face of the callous weaponization of our law enforcement apparatus. And I certainly don’t blame any of them for that.

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