The top two leaders of the American conservative movement are clearly former President Donald Trump and current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, but is there room for two at the top?
So far, the two have mainly avoided each other; earlier this year, that changed when Trump took a dig at DeSantis for not being more in favor of the COVID vaccine.
Trump also tweeted out a link in which DeSantis is described as a pretend Trump who will never win over his base.
DeSantis is now backing a candidate for US Senate who Trump says is a “big mistake” and the Florida governor is now done being nice about it.
Trump Snubs DeSantis, Governor Hits Back
At this point, there’s no way to hide from the fact Trump and DeSantis are already running against each other.
Not only is DeSantis backing an anti-Trump Republican named John O’Dea for Senate in Colorado, but the two are now also holding competing rallies in the state of Florida.
As Trump steps up to campaign on behalf of the reelection efforts of Senator Marco Rubio next Friday, DeSantis will also be holding a rally for his reelection campaign for leading the state.
DeSantis won’t be invited to the Trump event. Trump has no place in his reelection campaign. The two are staking out their territory and circling each other. It’s now clear that 2024 is already on both of their minds.
Watching party insiders, it’s also clear to see that both candidates have factions of support and strong dislike from various quarters of the party. So who’s got the upper hand?
More DeSantis vs. Trump Republican infighting. pic.twitter.com/kKEKpf7tPC
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) October 27, 2022
The Path Forward
At this point, there’s little doubt DeSantis will win Florida and get rid of contender Charlie Crist by a wide margin. This is progress and a benchmark of the momentum and power gained by DeSantis.
When he first got in office it was by only 0.4% over leftist challenger Andrew Gillum; the vote was even recounted due to being so close. Now, he’s cruising to a comfortable win against Crist in a state and country where he’s never been so popular.
His leadership during the pandemic, along with his leadership of Florida, put DeSantis in a very strong position. Yet, this time around he won’t be profiting off Trump’s help.
Unlike 2018 when DeSantis became Florida’s GOP nominee for governor with Trump’s backing, this time he won’t need it. The message from DeSantis is clear: “hey Trump, watch me win Florida. Then watch your back, because I’m coming for the White House next.”
Republicans in the group chat arguing over Trump vs. DeSantis lmao
(censored to hide their identities) pic.twitter.com/gnR1HZMr2r
— Amelia May Johnson (@TheAmeliaMay) October 21, 2022
Who’s Got the Upper Hand?
At this point, it’s fair and accurate to say that Trump and DeSantis are neck-and-neck. Both have large support in the party and among voters.
DeSantis is also seen by a sizable amount as more responsible and disciplined, as well as having the advantage of a younger age. At this point, it’s anyone’s race. Let’s keep our eyes on the midterms and 2024.