Trump-DeSantis primary could get destructive for Republican Party

David Pakman
Liberal Opinion

David Pakman

Host of The David Pakman Show
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Former President Donald Trump may have been reinstated on Twitter, but that doesn’t mean his bid for president will encounter the same fate. Trump has officially launched his candidacy for president but polls from Nov. 11-13 suggest Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds an 11 percentage point lead in Iowa and 15 points in New Hampshire. Straight Arrow News contributor David Pakman argues a Trump-DeSantis contest could get ugly and destructive for the Republican Party.

Well, Donald Trump is once again running for president in 2020. Donald Trump’s announcement had a very different energy, and by different I mean a notable lack of energy when he made that announcement on the evening of Nov. 15. And everything is so different about this run, that I don’t believe we can really say with any level of certainty at this point how it’s going to go.

So let me set it up for you.

Donald Trump, of course, was the eventual Republican nominee in 2016. That campaign started in 2015. Early on, Trump didn’t have the Republican establishment behind him. Trump didn’t have Fox News behind him. And the way that Donald Trump won was in an extraordinarily crowded field with – I believe it was 18 or maybe even 19 total candidates – Trump stuck around just long enough for one of the ones and twos – the candidates with one, two and three percent support to drop out. And Trump would pick up a point or two from people who didn’t really like anyone else. This just by sort of attrition led to Trump being in a position to be one of the top three, and then eventually he was able to secure that nomination.

We all know Trump never could have won a Democratic presidential nomination because, let’s be honest, the standards to be the Democratic nominee are dramatically higher than the standards to be the Republican nominee. Republicans will vote for anyone who says some of the right things: “I’m religious now,” as Trump claimed – it was a lie. “I’m against abortion now” – Trump was pro-choice his entire life…it was probably another lie, just meant to be the Republican nominee. They fell for it, they made him the nominee. Over time, Trump failed and failed and failed again and again and again.

Well, Donald Trump is once again running for president in 2020. For Donald Trump’s announcement had a very different energy. And by different I mean a notable lack of energy when he made that announcement on the evening of November 15. And everything is so different about this run, that I don’t believe we can really say with any level of certainty at this point, how it’s going to go. So let me set it up for you. Donald Trump, of course, was the eventual Republican nominee in 2016. That campaign started in 2015. Early on, Trump didn’t have the Republican establishment behind him. Trump didn’t have Fox News behind him. And the way that Donald Trump won was in an extraordinarily crowded field with I believe it was 18 or maybe even 19 Total candidates, Trump stuck around just long enough for one of the ones and twos the candidates with one to 3% support to drop out. And Trump would pick up a point or two from people who didn’t really like anyone else. This just by sort of attrition led to Trump being in a position to be one of the top three. And then eventually he was able to secure that nomination. We all know Trump never could have won a Democratic presidential nomination because let’s be honest, the standards to be the Democratic nominee are dramatically higher than the standards to be the Republican nominee. Republicans will vote for anyone who says some of the right things I’m religious now as Trump claimed it was a lie. I’m against abortion. Now. Trump was pro choice his entire life, it was probably another lie just meant to be Republican nominee. They fell for it, they made them the nominee. Over time, Trump failed and failed and failed again and again and again. And in the midterms in 2018, not a particularly good midterm for Republicans. Trump straight up lost in 2020. And Democrats took control of the House and Democrats took control of the Senate. And then Trump’s endorsements in 2022. A few weeks ago, were also a disaster. I know Trump will tout his endorsement record. Oh, it’s like 290 and 15, or something along those lines. Trump mostly endorsed incumbents incumbents tend to win. Trump mostly endorsed Republicans who had already won their primary in safe red districts where whoever is the Republican nominee is going to win, but where it mattered, in the contested races that had could have had an impact on the outcome of who controls what Trump was wrong. Trump lost Carrie Lake and Blake masters lost. Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano. Lost tutor Dixon lost in Michigan. So Trump really did not do well. Many around Trump said don’t announce don’t announce on November 15, either, because it didn’t go so well, on November 8, and it looks like maybe the party is moving away from Trumpism. Or some said, just don’t announce yet, because there’s this run off December 6, Raphael, Warnock versus Herschel Walker, it wouldn’t look good to announce before that. Trump a legend in his own mind. And a genius in his own mind said I’m going to announce anyway and he did at Mar a Lago on November 15. Pretty boring. Trump seemed almost bored with the speech he was reading off of the teleprompter. The crowd wasn’t very engaged. There were really two moments where the crowd really got engaged when Trump said I’m running, okay, they cheered for that they were there for that. And when Trump made transphobic comments, and as we know, from CPAC, and other reasons, speeches, one of the things that most excites Republicans right now is transphobia, and homophobia, sort of going back to an old old canard that is useful to them. But it was not a high energy event. And in fact, Jonathan Karl from ABC and there’s video showing this. People started to walk out of the Mara Lago ballroom while Trump was speaking people were bored, they wanted to leave a shot of Roger Stone showed him looking very bored, looking more for the bar than he was at Trump’s speech. And Mara, Lago staff blocked people from leaving the room. So the energy was quite low. Another difference is that right now, the polling doesn’t look very good for Donald Trump. Almost every poll released after the November 8 midterms, shows Ron DeSantis leading Donald Trump and DeSantis hasn’t even announced that he’s running for anything now. We’re still waiting to get polls that are from after Trump’s announcement. Maybe Trump’s announcement will boost him in the polls, but without even announcing that he’s running without even teasing that he might run. Ron DeSantis in most 2024 polls, is leading against Donald Trump. So I don’t see it as a foregone conclusion at all that Donald Trump is a shoo in to be the Republican nominee. That being said, there is a good counterpoint here, which is if Trump does the same things he did in 2015 and 2016. Come up with the nicknames for people. Ronda sanctimonious, right, he’s got that go up, go for the jugular with personal attacks. We don’t yet know whether DeSantis has what it takes to face that over a long primary battle. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have it. It’s just an unknown. So might Trump be the nominee? Yes. Is it a guarantee? Not even close. And if Ron DeSantis decides to announce, this could very quickly get very ugly and hopefully destructive for the Republican Party


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