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Meet The Self-Interested Trio Behind The Anti-DeSantis Attacks

Before you buy the down-with-DeSantis spin, pay attention to who is peddling it.

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You can tell who’s feared in politics by who gets attacked. Many political observers believe nominating Ron DeSantis is the GOP’s most likely path to beating Joe Biden and getting an effective conservative president into office. At the same time, DeSantis faces a three-pronged axis working to convince Republican voters that his nascent presidential campaign can’t possibly succeed.  

The first prong consists of legacy media. Naturally, they want nothing to do with a competent, conservative candidate. The second is the Trump campaign; DeSantis is the man Trump must beat to win the GOP nomination. The third is establishment Republicans, who are so caught up in the idea of getting one of their own back in power that they forget they will have to choose between Trump and DeSantis.

Each of these distracts both from the fact that the GOP election cycle will ultimately come down to Trump and DeSantis and from the reality that it’s time for a battle of political heavyweights in the Republican ring.

The Media Need Trump As Their Scapegoat

The corporate media oppose DeSantis for two reasons. First, he’s a conservative who defies their narrative on essentially everything: masks, lockdowns, indoctrinating children with LGBT propaganda, the need for fiscal restraint, the proper role of government, the merits of our founding, the goodness of America, and so on.

Second, they suspect he can win. Joe Biden’s presidency has been a disaster in a wide range of ways: high inflation, rampant illegal immigration, onerous government mandates, repeated violations of the separation of powers, incompetent foreign policy, massive deficit spending, loss of integrity and credibility at the Justice Department, and more. And while Biden isn’t getting any younger (or smarter), he also shows no signs of willingly leaving the stage.

The legacy media’s hope that he can win reelection as an 81-year-old curmudgeon with a poor record on policy, therefore, hinges mostly on Trump’s unpopularity with independents and affluent suburban Republicans.  

Moreover, if the Hunter Biden scandal continues to expand in size and scope, the legacy media know their best rebuttal will be to highlight Trump’s own scandals and indictments. They suspect, perhaps rightly, that most swing voters will have a hard time distinguishing between these.  

DeSantis Is Trump’s Main Opponent

Trump’s camp is aware of this vulnerability, so they are going hard after DeSantis and trying to knock him out before this could become a one-on-one race. At that point, concerns about electability would likely become quite prominent in Republican voters’ minds — especially if the weight of the Biden family business scandal or a clear downturn in the current president’s health were to open the door for Biden to be replaced by Gavin Newsom, the California authoritarian who is 25 years younger than Biden (and 22 years younger than Trump).

The sheer amount of firepower Trump has devoted to DeSantis, while largely ignoring the rest of the burgeoning Republican field, shows the former president continues to have good political instincts. He knows the “real deals” from the easily-beatable pretenders.

DeSantis has also arguably taken stronger positions or actions than Trump on a variety of issues that matter to conservative voters. These include Covid lockdowns, mask mandates, vaccine mandates, fiscal responsibility, LGBT extremism, abortion, Obamacare, and dealing with an out-of-control FBI. Trump knows this, so instead of debating DeSantis on these issues, he has run to the left of the Florida governor on so-called “entitlement” spending.

Old-School Republicans Stand in the Way

Establishment Republicans share the Trump campaign’s desire to see Nikki Haley or Tim Scott — or even Mike Pence — take on Trump, rather than having to choose between the two most combative candidates. The party’s establishment has never really come to grips with the beating it took in 2016, when Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson won 72.5 percent of the Republican primary vote.  

In 2016, establishment Republicans could have thrown their weight behind Cruz in the late stages of the contest when it was clearly a two-horse race. Instead, they pretended John Kasich — who had gone 1-33 (winning only his home state) in the first 34 contests and did not even come within 10 points of winning in 32 of those contests — was a real candidate. This was an odd calculation on the part of anti-Trump Republicans.

They are at it again now. Despite being vehemently anti-Trump, The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan is busy singing the praises of Chris Christie while also floating the idea of a third-party candidate — anything to avoid having to stomach DeSantis and his impolite determination to fight the left’s cultural onslaught.

Many of Noonan’s Upper East Side friends are pretending that Haley or Scott — or maybe a late-entering Glenn Youngkin — could emerge as Trump’s principal challenger. In the case of Haley and Scott, this ignores that the now Main Street-oriented GOP is fed up with the outdated Republican establishment — Haley has said and done little to inspire confidence that she’d be anything other than a generic Republican of old, while Scott’s most obvious political accomplishment is winning a couple of Senate races.

Despite having held elective office for just 18 months, Youngkin would be a more formidable threat than either member of the South Carolina duo. But he isn’t likely to gain traction unless DeSantis first gets pushed out of the field, and the legacy media’s efforts to bury DeSantis make clear that they fear him more than the possibility of Youngkin.

So, DeSantis faces a trio of self-interested forces, all of which see him as a hindrance to their respective goals — the legacy media’s goal to secure the reelection of a leftist administration, Trump’s goal of reelection, and the Republican establishment’s goal to ensure the election of a squish.

Given these motivations, criticisms of the popular Florida governor should be taken with more than a grain of salt.  

The sooner this race features just Trump and DeSantis on the stage together, the better — for both the GOP and the country. 


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