Nolte: DeSantis v. Trump Polls Mean Nothing Until Campaign Begins


    Some of the individual states look good for Trump. Some look good for DeSantis.

    What does this tell us?


    The campaign has not begun.

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    Trump just announced his intent to run for reelection in 2024.

    DeSantis just won a jaw-dropping reelection campaign in what used to be a vital swing state. But DeSantis has not yet announced his decision on a presidential bid.

    Until the campaign begins, nothing means nothing. The polls are useless. But things are happening that are worthy of note.

    The first is that Trump seems as vulnerable as he ever has. Trump’s personal 2022 candidate picks, especially in Pennsylvania and Georgia, are seen by many as costing the GOP a Republican Senate. Trump’s gubernatorial candidates in Pennsylvania and Arizona also failed to win elections that seemed winnable (Republican Kari Lake is contesting Arizona). Fairly or not, Trump has been damaged by this. After all, his whole aura revolves around, Are you tired of winning?

    Then there was Trump’s disastrous Mar-a-Lago meal with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes. No one honestly believes Trump is a bigot or antisemite. But he looked foolish, like a sucker. Why? Because he was suckered. And now, once again, due to an unforced error, he’s explaining rather than campaigning, looking back instead of forward.

    Speaking of looking back, Trump seems more interested in refighting the 2020 presidential campaign than moving the country forward. His obsession, which appears to include him advocating for “the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” isn’t the top concern of GOP primary voters worried about record inflation, a violent crime wave, the Brownshirting of our security services, gay porn in elementary schools, and more than a million illegal aliens being allowed into the country to replace law-abiding Americans.

    Trump’s biggest problem, however, is DeSantis… And Trump knows it, and Trump has not yet figured out how to lay a glove on the guy.

    For example, last month, when Trump called DeSantis “DeSanctimonious” at one of his MAGA rallies, that went over like a rat in a birthday cake.

    This isn’t 2016, you see. Trump isn’t running against establishment stooges and do-nothing U.S. Senators. DeSantis is the real deal, a crusading governor who turned a purple state bright red, got COVID right, refuses (unlike Trump) to do business with the corporate media, and gets things done.

    For the last two years, while Trump has been complaining about the past, DeSantis has been fighting and defeating the left, including uber-powerful multinational corporations like Disney.

    DeSantis might not have declared himself a 2024 presidential candidate, but he is running a very smart stealth campaign.

    While Trump is explaining away breaking bread with an unrepentant racist and antisemite, DeSantis is launching an investigation into the COVID vaccine.

    While Trump rages away on Truth Social, DeSantis is shipping illegal aliens out of his state and into the faces of those who approve of open borders.

    Trump talks.

    DeSantis acts.

    Trump complains.

    DeSantis governs.

    Trump steps all over his First Amendment rollout with $99 digital trading cards of himself (digital?).

    DeSantis doesn’t make these mistakes.


    None of that matters.

    If Ron DeSantis wants to be president in 2024, he will have to declare his candidacy and then go out and campaign. That means going toe-to-toe, eyeball-to-eyeball with Trump, with one of the shrewdest politicians this country has ever seen and a former president with an amazing track record.

    Once DeSantis declares (if he does), you can throw the polls away and forget all about Kanye, Fuentes, and the rest.

    DeSantis will win or lose based on his mettle and his ability to defeat Trump in the ring. He can’t hide behind his governorship. Presidential campaigns don’t work that way.

    DeSantis is undoubtedly the most serious threat Trump has ever faced in his own party, but the DeSantis v. Trump race is still a jump ball.

    There have been all kinds of impressive governors who fell apart in the presidential firestorm.

    Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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