Long before the 2024 election season started, Donald Trump was the de facto frontrunner for the nomination. Frankly, in the aftermath of the much-disputed 2020 election results, there were probably few Trump voters who would have entertained voting for anyone else but Trump in 2024.
Of course, things changed. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a rising star in the GOP, quickly proved himself to be a popular Trump alternative. While many in the GOP give a lot of lip service in the culture wars, it quickly became clear that he wasn’t afraid to fight. And he surprised many by taking on woke Disney and winning. All the while, he managed to turn Florida into a solid red state and win reelection in a huge landslide.
DeSantis proved himself a winner. Republicans started to see that DeSantis was someone who could make America great again without having the baggage of Donald Trump. Even though polls showed Trump with a substantial lead, DeSantis chose not to wait until 2028 to run for president, much to the offense of Donald Trump and his most die-hard supporters who believe he should have waited his turn.
DeSantis still remains in a far second-place position in the GOP primary polls because of Trump’s loyal base. So why would DeSantis run in 2024, knowing that convincing Trump supporters to back him would be no easy feat? According to DeSantis, he had a good reason.
Tomi Lahren interviewed DeSantis and asked him this question on her Outkick podcast. Lahren prefaced her question by pointing out that she is a longtime Trump supporter who has gotten “a lot of flak” for looking at DeSantis and his candidacy and for being impressed by his record of accomplishment in Florida.
“But because I do also represent a lot of Trump supporters, I have to ask you this because this is what I constantly get questioned on: What do you say to those Trump supporters who say, ‘We like Ron DeSantis; we wish he would have waited till his 2028 turn?’ What do you tell those people?”
“First of all, in America, we don’t have turns,” DeSantis began. “People can run if they believe they have something to offer the country. I can tell you as somebody that’s worn the country’s uniform, who served in Iraq, who believes in a cause greater than myself, I believe 2024 is make or break. I don’t think we have time for excuses. We’re not going to get a mulligan on this one.”
“And I think I’ve shown the ability to defeat the Democrats, yes, at the ballot box by winning Florida by a historic margin, but also on issue after issue,” he continued. “We beat them on lockdowns. We beat them on education. We beat them on ESG. We beat them on illegal immigration. We beat them on transgender athletes competing with women.”
“On issue after issue, we didn’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk,” he said. “And so I’ll run. I’ll beat Biden, but I think even more importantly than that, I will deliver on all these things, because if we don’t actually deliver, then I think we’re going to end up being in a hole it’s going to be very difficult to dig out of. So I think I’m the guy that can get all of that done. And I think I have a responsibility to offer myself, given that that’s where I’m coming from.”
— OutKick (@Outkick) July 8, 2023
DeSantis also added that he’s not concerned about the polls showing him behind now and is looking to win in January and February.
Let’s face it: DeSantis makes a compelling case for himself, and that’s why he’s raising a ton of money and is the only candidate who gets double digits in the GOP primary after Trump.
“Some candidates feel that they only get one shot, and if they don’t take their shot in time, the moment will pass them by, and the attention of the voters will shift elsewhere,” political analyst Robert Collins told Newsweek. “DeSantis is young enough to wait and run for president in a future cycle. However, DeSantis is placing a bet that he thinks that eventually a criminal conviction will remove Trump from the race and give DeSantis a clear shot at the nomination.”