Trump Falling, DeSantis Rising - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Trump Falling, DeSantis Rising
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the 2022 Student Action Summit (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

On the morning of the midterm elections, former President Donald Trump had a 33 percent chance of winning the 2024 presidential election, according to online betting markets, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a 16 percent chance.

The betting markets — and that political wisdom — have now been upended by the contrast between DeSantis’ overwhelming 19.4-percentage-point victory in Florida and the consistent failure of Trumpian candidates to compete at the same level as other Republicans.

The Trump-endorsed Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker, for instance, ended the night with 48.5 percent support in a race that is now headed to a runoff, while Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who had to fend off a Trump-endorsed opponent during the primary, beat Democrat Stacey Abrams with 53.4 percent of the vote.

As of Thursday, the betting markets give DeSantis a 29 percent chance of heading to the Oval Office. Trump has fallen to 17 percent odds.

The liberal media is excitedly pushing the story that conservatives are on the outs with Trump and are now anointing DeSantis as the heir apparent.

On Morning Joe Thursday, Joe Scarborough held up the New York Post’s cover portraying Trump as “Trumpty Dumpty” and said, “Huge, billowing puff of white smoke over News Corp” — a reference to the selection of a new leader, DeSantis, at the company that publishes the Post as well as the Wall Street Journal. “You gotta go back to the early summer of 2015 to see something like this,” Scarborough said, referencing opposition among many conservatives at that time to selecting Trump as the presidential nominee. On Wednesday, the Post declared on its cover that DeSantis is “DeFUTURE.”

The Washington Post had a headline Wednesday that declared, “After midterms, Ron DeSantis eclipses Trump on Fox News.” The New York Times, meanwhile, said in a headline, “Trump Under Fire From Within G.O.P. After Midterms.”

Liberals are reacting out of glee that their seven-year campaign of hate against Trump may have finally paid off. But there is plentiful truth to their narrative. More conservatives than ever are concluding that Trump is the one to blame for Republicans’ poor performance in the midterms and are lining up behind DeSantis.

Conservative social media was afire against Trump as the midterm election results came in, noted National Review writer Michael Brendan Dougherty on Twitter. “[A]ll the chatter on my conservative and GOP channels — is rage at Trump like I’ve never seen,” he said. “The one guy he attacked before Election Day was DeSantis — the clear winner, meanwhile, all his guys are s***ing the bed.”

The publisher of The American Spectator, Melissa Mackenzie, agreed with these sentiments, writing on election night: “I’m sick of Trump. I tire of the lack of discipline. I weary of his histrionics. He alienates too many people and while he has charisma for days, he doesn’t know how to govern.” (READ MORE: As Usual, I Was Wrong)

Others joined in the anger at Trump. The New York Post’s postelection cover story, written by John Podhoretz, was particularly vicious. It deemed him “Toxic Trump” and called him “the political equivalent of a can of Raid.” The Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen scoffed, “Donald Trump [cost] us the Senate twice in a row.”

The New York Times’ story on conservatives’ falling-out with Trump quoted two long-time Trump supporters, former New York GOP Rep. Peter King and former Trump adviser David Urban, who declared themselves done with the ex-president.

King told the New York Times: “I strongly believe he should no longer be the face of the Republican Party…. His self-promotion and his attacks on Republicans including Ron DeSantis and Mitch McConnell were largely responsible for Republicans not having a red wave.” David Urban, meanwhile, said, “Republicans have followed Donald Trump off the side of a cliff.”

The lieutenant governor of Virginia, Winsome Sears, who previously chaired the group Black Americans to Re-elect President Trump, also broke with the president Thursday in an interview on Fox Business. “The voters have spoken,” she said, “and they’ve said that they want a different leader. And a true leader understands when they have become a liability.”

Even Trump’s former press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who is now a Fox News contributor, told Trump to suspend announcing his candidacy until after the Georgia Senate runoff and said that DeSantis “made the single best case I have heard made for the GOP in quite some time…. It needs to be the future message for the party.”

It will take a significant shift on the right for Trump to be displaced as the leader of the GOP. Trump has reshaped the Republican Party in his image, transformed its policy focuses, and centered it around himself. But, with Republican anger exploding over three election cycles of defeat, DeSantis, who in many ways models himself off of Trump, minus his egotistical personality and inability to admit defeat, could take the former president’s place.

At DeSantis’ victory rally the night of the election, his supporters chanted, “Two more years!” Many more conservatives could be joining in those chants soon.

Ellie Gardey
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Ellie Gardey is Reporter and Associate Editor at The American Spectator. Follow her on Twitter @EllieGardey.
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