Ron DeSantis’s primary campaign against Donald Trump may have ended, but don’t believe the obituaries that claim his defeat was a result of some monumental failure. Those are just the desperate attempts of liberal writers trying to push their own agenda. The truth is, DeSantis ran a strong campaign built on a solid foundation of conservative principles.
Read the statement from Florida Gov. DeSantis ending his presidential campaign https://t.co/jNGX9auQ5l
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) January 21, 2024
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and countless losses for the GOP, conservatives were in need of a champion. That champion emerged in the form of Ron DeSantis. He took a purple state like Florida and turned it deep red, achieving legislative victories that proved his leadership skills. And unlike Trump, who left office before the pandemic hit, DeSantis was on the frontlines, providing a successful counter-example to the disastrous lockdowns and mandates implemented by the Biden administration.
While the rest of the country struggled to elect conservatives during the 2022 midterms, DeSantis pulled off a resounding victory in Florida, defying the trend set by Trump. He demonstrated that he could be a strong contender to challenge Trump in Iowa, gaining high favorability among Republicans. However, the unfortunate reality is that a majority of primary voters still wanted to give Trump another chance.
Democrats played right into Trump’s hands by attacking him with indictments and lawsuits, making him a martyr and rallying his supporters around him. While DeSantis initially pulled from Trump’s base, the moment the Republican Party rallied around Trump, DeSantis lost his momentum. It’s a shame that the attacks on Trump overshadowed his accomplishments and prevented him from gaining traction.
In contrast, Nikki Haley, who is still in the race, is only lingering in the polls because of Democratic support. Politico even delved into the efforts to get Democrats to interfere in the New Hampshire primary and vote on the Republican ticket. When you strip away that support, the race in New Hampshire becomes a much different story.
By dropping out when he did, DeSantis protected his political reputation and left the door open for a future run for president. History has shown that the runner-up in Republican primaries often goes on to win the second time around. On the other hand, the pressure on Haley has intensified as all eyes are now on her. She will have to navigate the minefield of attacks while potentially positioning herself as a top vice presidential option, but with Trump leading in her home state, her path forward is uncertain.
While DeSantis ultimately lost the primary, he should be commended for running a strong campaign. He showcased the successes of his governorship in Florida and offered a vision of conservatism beyond Trump. Unfortunately, the Republican Party seems to have circled the wagons around Trump, and as long as he remains capable of running for office, that’s where things will stay.
As we look ahead to the future, I hope that whoever wins in November will lead the country in the right direction. But I can’t help but wonder what could have been if DeSantis had emerged victorious with his vision for America. His track record speaks for itself, and he could have proven that there is indeed a bright future beyond Trump.