Recent polls of Republican voters suggests that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis could beat former president Donald Trump if the primaries were held today. See, A ‘civil war’ looms in the Republican party as Trump rages at polls showing DeSantis is more popular, warns GOP donor (msn.com) Of the two men, only Mr. Trump has declared his candidacy; however, less than a year remains before candidates will need to be campaigning in those primaries if they expect to win delegates. We can therefore expect a decision not only from Governor DeSantis but from numerous other challengers over the next few months.
Mr. Trump’s strongest argument in favor of his own candidacy runs as follows: Polls were all showing Jeb Bush to be the favorite in 2015. Nobody believed he had a chance to win back then. Yet he did. Therefore (his reasoning goes), he’s destined to prove the pollsters wrong once again.
There are at least four counterarguments to that logic:
- In 2016, Mr. Trump had never served in an elective position; thus, voters were free to imagine that he could become whatever President they were hoping he would be. But now, eight years later, having seen him in on the job for four long years, they know he was voted out of office. In other words, he may have once been an unlikely but proven winner, but now he’s shown himself to be a proven loser.
- On January 6, 2021, his words served as encouragement for a crowd of loyal supporters who attempted to disrupt the lawful counting of electoral votes. Since then, he has publicly written that we should “terminate the Constitution” if that’s what it takes to reinstall him as President. He also apparently felt it okay to take documents owned by the federal government with him to Mar-a-Lago after he left office, in violation of federal law. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that this man would be happy to transform our republican democracy into a totalitarian dictatorship if given a second chance.
- Early this month, two subsidiaries of the Trump Organization were convicted in New York of criminal charges that included tax fraud and falsifying business records. See, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/12/06/trump-organization-convicted-in-new-york-criminal-tax-fraud-case.html Testimony during that trial indicated that Mr. Trump was aware of what was going on in his organization.
- After teasing the public about a major announcement, Mr. Trump released a series of NTF “trading cards” amounting to digital cartoon art depicting the former President in various imaginary heroic poses. If, as the year 2022 now draws to a close, there are still any Spirited Reasoners who question his level of narcissism and/or hucksterism, those doubts have all been answered in a single announcement. (Did you know, by that way, that he was a greater President than either Washington or Lincoln? See, https://dailycaller.com/2022/12/15/donald-trump-better-president-abraham-lincoln-george-washington-nft/ )
Despite all this baggage, Spirited Reasoners cannot write off Donald Trump’s candidacy just yet. We have learned the hard way just how many crazy voters there are out there.
On the other hand, we know relatively little about the Presidential qualities of Mr. DeSantis, other than the fact that he likes to send helpless, homeless refugees to Martha’s Vineyard. See, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/02/us/migrants-marthas-vineyard-desantis-texas.html One concern of note is that he appears to be tacking to the political right of Mr. Trump. See, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/steve-bannon-touts-ron-desantis-after-expressing-frustration-with-trump/ar-AA15oMXV (And all this time we Spirited Reasoners thought there was no breathing room for anyone to Mr. Trump’s right.)