Right now the GOP is in a position unlike anything I’ve seen before. It’s kind of like an exercise in Occam’s Razor. Broken to its simplest problem with the least number of parts, Trump’s GOP base can’t win a national election, and the moderate GOP can’t win without Trump’s base. Fine. Great. So, what’s the solution?
Watching the way the battle lines are being drawn so far in the primaries, it has occurred to me that the ultimate solution as to whether any of the current GOP presidential field, declared or likely, can win in November may end up resting in the answer to a question nobody has asked yet. We’ll get there in a minute, never fear.
As we all agree, Trump’s base is a solid 28-35% of the GOP base. Enough for him to get through the primaries with a fractured field, but nowhere near enough to actually win a general election if the majority of the GOP base is against him.
The problem is different for the moderate candidates like Haley and Pence who are choosing a non confrontational lane from Trump, and running on the fact that’s time for the changing of the guard. With 65-70% of the base to talk to, if one of them can catch fire with the right message, they could take Trump on head-to-head in the primaries.
But here’s their problem. It’s Trump’s 28-25% of the base that actually show up to vote in the primaries. Moderates stay home and bitch about how shitty the field is. If nobody can inflame then to get out in the primaries, they can’t beat Trump.
The wild card in the deck is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He’s straddling lanes. While he isn’t directly confronting Trump, he’s taking backhand swipes at him every chance he gets. In speeches this weekend he repeatedly referred to Trump’s string of failures, and his own string of uninterrupted victories. He portrayed Trump as all hat and no cattle. DeSantis is truly running as Trump without the baggage, trying to pick off some of Trump’s base, while trying to appeal to moderates who still like Trump’s policies, but are sick of his bullshit.
Which leads us to the question nobody has asked yet, and which may determine whether any GOP candidate can win the White House in 2024. Is the GOP moderate base sick of Trump, or Trumpism? And while the jury is still out on that one, I strongly suggest it’s the latter, which is the worst news in the world for DeSantis.
I’ll explain. In 2018 the masses took to the streets and Kicked Trump’s ass, flipping 40 seats in the House and putting him in check. But they didn’t spank Trump, he wasn’t even on the ballot. Which means that voters came out in swarms to protest and stop his policies and ideas, such as the Muslim ban and child border separation. Those are core principles of Trumpism. What DeSantis wants to run on in 2024, just more quietly.
Here’s why I think that’s true. In 2020 Traitor tot was on the ballot personally, and the voters slapped him silly. But at the same time, they deeply cut in on the Democrats House advantage. How? By electing moderate conservative swing districts, with moderate policies. Trump back candidates and self admitted Trump acolytes took it on the chin. And remember this, Trump and Trumpism cost the GOP two Senate seats in Georgia, giving them control of the Senate.
In 2022, with El Pendejo Presidente out of the picture, the GOP lost a seat in the Senate, but barely managed to retake the House by the slimmest of margins. Again FrankenTrump backed a whole slate of GOP House candidates, and yet it was the smallest slice of moderate swing district voters who turned the tide.
So to my mind, that’s the critical question that needs to be definitely answered. If it turns out that the moderate GOP and independent voters fled Trump personally, while personally liking what he espoused, then that leaves DeSantis a lane to run in. But f the GOP moderates and independents ran from Trump because they’re revolted by personal and political beliefs like overt racism, overt sexism, LGBTQ intolerance, child separation, Trans shaming, continued voter intimidation and discrimination and women’s bodily autonomy, then it really doesn’t matter if DeSantis wins the primaries and becomes the nominee. Because the moderates and independents won’t vote for him either. By his own admission, all DeSantis is is the same darn pig with a different shade of lipstick.