DeSantis surges, while Trump candidates are mixed in midterms

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ sweeping win in Florida on Tuesday has propelled his stature in the Republican Party just as candidates backed by former President Donald Trump struggled on election day, setting a more favorable stage for DeSantis ahead of a potential 2024 presidential primary matchup.

DeSantis won his gubernatorial race in 2018 by about 33,000 votes. This time around, with 99% of the total reporting, DeSantis leads his Democrat opponent by more than 1.5 million votes.

DeSantis’ win validated his brand of economically strong, anti-Covid-19 restriction politics with an edge on culture war issues. He hammered home that message in his victory speech Tuesday night.

“We have embraced freedom,” DeSantis said. “We have maintained law and order. We have protected the rights of parents. We have respected our taxpayers, and we reject woke ideology … We will never ever surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die!”

Miami-Dade County supported Hillary Clinton by 29 points in 2016 but swung hard for DeSantis this year. DeSantis won that county by about 11 points.

Miami-Dade and other regions showed an impressive number of Hispanic voters side with DeSantis, a fact that would be crucial in a potential general election in 2024.

Meanwhile, Trump’s candidates did not fare as well. Candidates like Dr. Mehmet Oz and Herschel Walker, celebrities backed by Trump, struggled Tuesday. Oz lost his race, and Walker is headed for a Dec. 6 runoff.

One outspoken Trump supporter, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., is trailing as her race is near a dead tie and comes down to the wire.

“There’s no question this was a bad election for Donald Trump,” said Asher Hildebrand, former Capitol Hill Chief of Staff and current associate professor of the practice at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. “With the possible exception of Kari Lake in Arizona and Herschel Walker in Georgia, every governor and Senate candidate he endorsed in five main battleground states appears to have lost.

“…That combined with DeSantis’ strong showing in the Florida governor’s race increases pressure among Republican elites to find another standard bearer in 2024,” he added.

Others echoed that message.

“An election where Oz and Walker narrowly lose and where DeSantis romps by 20 points is the worst possible night for Trump and the best possible night for DeSantis,” Patrick Ruffini, a pollster for Echelon Insights, wrote on Twitter.

Likely aware of this narrative, Trump posted on TruthSocial Wednesday afternoon attacking DeSantis, whom he recently nicknamed “DeSanctimonious.”

During his 2016 primary campaign, Trump belittled his GOP rivals with crude nicknames.

“Now that the Election in Florida is over, and everything went quite well, shouldn’t it be said that in 2020, I got 1.1 Million more votes in Florida than Ron D got this year, 5.7 Million to 4.6 Million? Just asking?”

The stocks for TruthSocial’s merger partner, Digital World Acquisition Corp, dipped roughly 20% after Trump’s candidates did not fare well.

“While in certain ways yesterday’s election was somewhat disappointing, from my personal standpoint it was a very big victory – 219 WINS and 16 Losses in the General – Who has ever done better than that?” Trump wrote on the platform Wednesday.

Other analysts pointed out that regardless of whether Trump is the nominee in 2024, his style of politics isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

“There may be an end of Trump but there won’t be an end of Trumpism,” said Adriane Lentz-Smith, associate professor and associate chair in Duke’s Department of History.

Casey Harper is a Senior Reporter for the Washington, D.C. Bureau. He previously worked for The Daily Caller, The Hill, and Sinclair Broadcast Group. A graduate of Hillsdale College, Casey’s work has also appeared in Fox News, Fox Business, and USA Today.

27 COMMENTS

  1. With the division so narrow, Trump didn’t really lose. We are a divided country and getting more divided each day. This is Joe Biden’s agenda. Two more years of Joe Biden will solidify Trump. But he must start soon. The nation is falling apart under Biden. Trump’s “Save America” campaign platform will take off like lightening.

  2. What you’re looking at in DeSantis is the next president of the United States. Trump needs to sit down shut the hell up and fade off into history trying to stay out of jail. As the rest of the country catches up to what we in Florida already know, look for a landslide in 2024. He doesn’t use a bully pulpit. He does what’s best for people and what people want. He listens to people. He’s out there every day around the state listening and asking questions. Trump being a poor loser that he is will try to muddy up the waters just like Palin has done in Alaska but in the end it won’t matter. Trump will fade away in the distant past and DeSantis will be in the new Star rising on the horizon making this country not great again because we’re still already great, but just putting this country back on track in an uncertain world.

  3. Mixed? Most of Trump’s hand picked candidates lost.

    JD Vance at present is the only bright spot.

    Also not smart to start snarking the single bright spot in GOP politics right now.

  4. I thought the point of Trump/MAGA was to get rid of the elites that decide who should run for office–to “drain the swamp”–but now, the establishment is being quoted saying that the elites need to decide who will be the next standard bearer for the GOP? From the article above:

    “There’s no question this was a bad election for Donald Trump,” said Asher Hildebrand, former Capitol Hill Chief of Staff and current associate professor of the practice at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy….

    “…That combined with DeSantis’ strong showing in the Florida governor’s race increases pressure among Republican elites to find another standard bearer in 2024,” he added.

    • You might be able to get your money back on that reading comprehension course; that is some lefty professor from Duke saying “Republican elites” have to find another standard bearer. The Republican Primaries and Republican voters will find a standard bearer.

        • Who is funding DeSantis right now? I like him and I think he’s great for Florida right now. There’s some dark money trying to get him to crush the MAGA movement though. I hope he stays true to the people.

  5. People are comparing Trump vs DeSantis, but Trump wasn’t on the ballot. Obviously, DeSantis was going to win in a landslide. If Trump was running for an office, he would have won too. Trump AND DeSantis are popular. Dr. Oz is an awful pick! How did candidates that DeSantis endorsed do?

    • “Dr Oz is an awful pick!” …. and so is Herschel and so is Lake and so is Palin.
      Many of president Trumps picks were SO awful that Democrats threw money at them to help them get into the General, knowing full well that they would be easier for liberals to beat then actual Republican politicians.
      And that Dem strategy worked very well for them, unfortunately.

  6. MAKE
    AMERICA
    LIKE
    FLORIDA
    AGAIN

    Trump go sell steaks or make another TV show, you’re done
    Dunleavy grow a pair and just copy Desantis’s homework. he’s laid the blueprint. less big mike more
    ronnie d

    sure would have been nice to have a governor with the backbone to standup to local authoritarians in 2020

  7. If the House and Senate flip Republican that will be victory. If the Biden Agenda is stopped and defunded that will be victory. If the ivestigations into The Plandemic, DOJ, Border Crisis, etc. seriously happen that will be victory. No need to nit-pick victory. Take the gains and advance. As for us, we need to press the heck out of our Washington delegation and insist they get on the MAGA train. That’ll put a sour expression on their faces.

  8. Maybe Trump’s candidates had weak character development and weak work skills though they look good and had electrifying personalities. Perhaps they didn’t work as hard as a candidate should work when they thought they could rely on Trump’s name and positive presidential achievements to pull them across the finish line like that Trump’s endorsement is a enough.

  9. Even if the crooked elections are fixed in some of the states, how do we plan on getting rid of the criminals controlling the government in states like California and New York? Nothing can be accomplished until people realize we are dealing with a massive insurrection that threatens the existence of the United States.

  10. Trump is the new Palin. He has just enough acolytes on his side to continue making serious noise while spoiling everything he touches. This election shows the left has his number and played him like a fiddle.

    Even if DeSantis eases him aside in the primaries, I expect Trump to make a third party run in 2024 – once again handing victory to the left.

    • Trump does not have the organizational skills to put together a third party campaign, look at Truth Social, Trump U, Trump Atlantic Casinos, et al for examples

    • I stopped reading after they all argued under the assumption that the rampant, obvious election fraud happening all over the nation is actually an example of fair elections. The vindictive side of me can’t wait to see them eating bugs, and being happy with the nothing that they’ll be allowed to own.

  11. I was ready to do the Trump thing one last time. Until this election cycle.

    Trump did way more harm than good. He motivated the left far more than the right. Worse, when he might have actually made a difference by funding campaigns, he sat on the money he raised.

    He could have been a watered down version of Reagan. Instead he has become a goblin from a Harry Potter novel.

  12. Trump, the draft dodger, never served. Desantis served, and is a veteran of the US Navy.

    Trump, went bankrupt many times. Trump, supported Hillary.

    Trump lost the last two elections (in the popular vote) by millions each time.

    Republicans should now be realizing that Trump is no Reagan, and he is killing the Republican party.

    I say, as a veteran, that the BS he pulled on Jan 6, and his endless denial of the election results makes him delusional, and the Republican candidates that parrot his nonsense less electable.

    With a little luck, the corrupt, demented, mean, Biden will run in 2024 against someone like Desantis.

  13. Governor DeSantis and President Trump make a fine team pulling the same direction. Then hierarchy puts President Trump above DeSantis. The red wave is there as anticipated but is obscured by actions of the olligarch lovers. None of it is unknown by the military. The evidences are accounted for. Prepare households for a cold long winter. Take care of your loved ones as best as you can.

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