Straw poll shows GOP favorability to Ron DeSantis over Donald Trump

What to make of a new straw poll that shows Florida's popular Gov. Ron DeSantis now besting Donald Trump as GOP candidate of choice for the coming 2024 election?

According to Fox News:

The results of a straw poll of conservative voters this weekend [about 500 people] is spotlighting the appeal of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.

DeSantis came out on top of a 2024 straw poll at the Western Conservative Summit, narrowly edging former President Donald Trump, according to organizers of the conference.

The straw poll at the summit, which was hosted by Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, asked people attending the gathering both in-person and on-line to vote for all of the potential 2024 presidential contenders that they approve of – out of 31 choices of both Republicans and Democrats.

DeSantis, a first-term governor and Trump ally who’s become very popular among conservatives nationwide since the start of the coronavirus pandemic for his resistance to COVID lockdowns and other restrictions, scored a 74% approval, followed by the former president at 71%. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 43%, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 39%, and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, at 36%, rounded out the top five in the straw poll.

It sort of suggests that maybe the GOP public is moving on from Trump. 

Which, for those of us who made a considerable mental investment in supporting Trump, and who would like to see an egregiously stolen election corrected, is a little bit of a disappointment. Trump, after all, needs justice. And so do we. We voted for him and we want to see him back where he belongs, in the White House, so that the economy can take off, the working classes can finally prosper, and the wonderful specter of a new party with growing appeal to black, Hispanic and all kinds of non-traditionally Republican voters can continue. He was a president like no other.

But it's not entirely bad news. DeSantis is pals with Trump and the two men see eye to eye on pretty much everything regarding policy. The pair have met at Trump's redoubt in Mar a Largo and one can only wonder with curiosity what might have been said between the two friends as fraudy Joe blows his presidency on leftwingery and the White House is very likely to next go to a Republican candidate. Would it be Trump? DeSantis? We know that both want it...

If Trump opts not to run for re-election, then the dilemma is easy: DeSantis would be a terrific choice, and it wouldn't be hard for a Republican to pick him at all.

Like Trump, DeSantis is a fighter. And like Trump, he understands the nature of the enemy. He has an unblemished record as governor of Florida, which is in fact a very heroic one.

Unlike the vile, corrupted, blue-state governors with their dreams of permanent lockdown, he protected his state's large elderly population from COVID by refusing to seed the nursing homes with highly contagious COVID patients, which is why so many elderly people stuck in blue states literally died. DeSantis also got his state open and returned to running normally back when the CDC and now-discredited medical bureaucrats with politicized agendas, such as Dr. Fauci, were advocating for more lockdowns and economic shutdowns in the name of "public health." Those now-discredited people creepily resisted any scientific findings to suggest that maybe they ought to open up, and making any risk of catching an illness more important than actually having an economy. They were absolutist fanatics happy to shut down the great U.S. economy in the name of countering a mere risk of an illness virtually everyone survives except for the vulnerable. DeSantis defied those dishonest people and decided instead that he would protect the elderly -- and protect the rest of the population from an economic shutdown and the horrific effect on kids of isolation from all society.

DeSantis opened his state with no bad results, acting on actual "science" instead of Get-Trump politics.

As a result, his state is an absolute magnet for refugees from one-party blue states, who keep rolling on into his fair state -- its taxes low, its government unobtrusive, its schools uncorrupted by Critical Race Theory, its business climate optimal, its leaders sensible and not under the thumb of crazed left-wing activists, and its citizens happy.

If Trump lost the election either legitimately (unlikely) or in part due to the COVID disaster, DeSantis could be an emblem for the road out of COVID. He could naturally be a Zeitgeist choice for that reason alone.

Still, a lot of us loved Trump. We knew for sure that he'd fight for us -- we've had him before and we knew what we would be getting. His showmanship was amazing, his outsized personality and flair for drama was refreshing. We love his trolling of pampered self-important media princelings, and his mean tweets directed at leftists, along with his general common sense as well as his accurate judgment about the nature of the left. He never betrayed us, he never insulted the little guy and he rarely let us down. 

All the same, there's reason to think that the straw poll is accurate. Fox News notes that it's part of a trend of the GOP moving toward DeSantis for one.

Anecdotally, I think it could be true. This past weekend, I attended a big family party with relatives from all over flyover country, and they said the sentiment in their parts of the country was that it was time to move on. They favored DeSantis because Trump was "too divisive" and the crazed response from the left had some amazing ways of creating extended trouble for Trump -- from phony special counsel appointments created out of utterly false information, to phony impeachments once again, created from beds of lies and machinations of deep staters, to completely dishonest stories about what Trump supposedly said in non-public settings -- s-hole countries, a refusal to go to veteran cemeteries based on hair considerations, a phony claim about Russian bounties, these lies took up tremendous energy to counter and in the end, the president had great difficulty countering them. It's not that Trump wasn't wronged, but it was that he triggered these crazed extended reactions. Might it be possible to get a Republican in there who wouldn't have so many things the left could make up things about based on their incandescent hatred? 

Another problem, it seems, was that Trump had huge difficulty getting control of the government. There was deep state and its dishonest intelligence community, of course, trying to get Trump prosecuted, busted, and impeached. But there was also the dishonest medical community, doing its utmost to "make the economy scream" while being in hock to China, collaborating with the Wuhan lab while taking on the role of halting the pandemic created by it, and dismissing important information about Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine as treatments for the ill, something that would have saved thousands of lives. This medical blob demonized authentic men of science, such as Dr. Scott Atlas, as well as the corps of doctors who advocated for hydroxychloroquine as a treatment based on their own experiences saving patients. Why did Trump keep trusting them? It's sad, given all the worse-than-expected information that is rolling out about them now. Trump also never got control of the Voice of America, which pretty much remained in the control of minions connected to the Washington Post and all its hostile agenda. Perhaps it was too much for one man.

The crazed reactions seemed to bother such voters even though Trump was blameless.

Perhaps the smoother, lower-key DeSantis, who did manage to navigate his state away from the leftist machinations skilfully, would be a harder target for them, as well as a nice contrast. Because right now, they're the crazy ones, not Trump, and voters are sure as heck noticing that. Maybe an obviously sane guy is the antidote. After all, DeSantis has never talked out of turn to the point of creating an 'in' for his enemies as Trump sometimes did.

A good analogy that I like to think of is in the California recall referendum coming up, which features three GOP candidates who'd like to replace the odious Gov. Gavin Newsom: John Cox, Caitlyn Jenner, and Kevin Faulconer. Which would I pick? Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, hands down.

Cox is a good Republican who likes to talk tough, but he's gone soft at key times -- as he did when he was running against Newsom in 2018. Therefore, he's hard to trust right there, and even more so since he's run for office several times in various places and never has managed to win. He's a good Republican, very likely, but also a guy who can't seem to win and can't seem to stick to the program. Not him.

Jenner is terrific too in many ways -- a fiery Republican who speaks as a transgender person which makes his statements on where the line should be drawn on transgender participation in parts of society far more weighty and powerful. Jenner's ads are wonderful in that they appeal to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people to join the Republicans, which is welcome stuff indeed in this blue state. No one has tried to do that and Jenner is very effective. However, she's a bit erratic on some issues, such as amnesty for illegals and other things she doesn't know a lot about. Jenner, fundamentally, is an outsider, and that's a problem, in that during the last recall referendum, when actor Arnold Schwarzenegger bested Gov. Gray Davis, it did not take long for the Sacramento Democrat machine to roll him, sometimes literally getting him drunk to get him to sign on to their program. This kind of inexperienced outsider is a recipe for disaster. Could Jenner, too, be rolled? I think so. They'd get something on her.

Faulconer, though, is impressive. He was a skillful moderate Republican who navigated the snake-filled thickets of San Diego's leftist politics and did not lose his integrity. He wasn't super-loud, he made no big statements, but he kept the accounting honest, he came up with workable solutions on the homeless issue, and he got the job done, sparing San Diego the horrors of Los Angeles and San Francisco under one-party blue rule. Faulconer was able to handle the leftist government itself without getting consumed and destroyed in the process. I'd take him as a first choice, with the solid knowledge that we know for sure that he has a decent and reliable record, often actually making things better.

That might be the same dynamic going on with the shift towards DeSantis. If this is what it takes to right the wrong and fraud of the 2020 election, I am all for it. May the best candidate win. The straw poll is early, of course, and things can easily shift. If we can't have Trump, DeSantis might just be the answer.

Image: U.S. Secretary of Defense (cropped), via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

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