I wrote Trump/DeSantis Round 1 in early January of this year.
Now, it seems like 1,000 years ago.
I wrote about former President Trump’s attacks on Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.; off-the-mark-jabs that were losing more votes than they were gaining.
I awarded Round 1 to DeSantis, on points.
Well, that was then. And, yes, I’m going to get to the "I" word (as in Indictment).
But the Trump rebound started long before the New York theatrics.
Indeed, the Trump train got back on the tracks when the Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio.
On Feb. 3, a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in that small town. Remember?
This was a job for FEMA, or the EPA.
Or U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg?
Or President Joe Biden?
Two weeks later no one from the Biden administration could find their way to the accident scene. FEMA said "not my job," then pointed to the EPA.
Biden said, "I’m coming," and didn’t.
And still hasn’t.
The speculation was that since East Palestine was Trump territory, the Biden administration could just leave them to their foul air and dirty water. And then, like Clark Kent emerging from a phone booth, Donald J. Trump, and a caravan of water and food trucks, swooped in with supplies, relief, and hope.
The whole world was watching.
This was Trump at his absolute best; problem solving and springing into action.
The next day FEMA showed up.
The polls popped. Trump’s numbers showed a steady rise; one that hasn’t stopped yet.
Trump; businessman, TV star, politician, author, added another improbable line to his resume. He’s now an i-Tunes number one performing artist. "Justice for All," a mixing of Trump reciting the pledge with the Jan. 6 chorus doing the backup.
It's sheer genius, combiningTrump’s love of country with his reminder to everyone that America has political prisoners and that he hasn’t forgotten them.
It was also implied: "Elect me. Free them." The polls kept rising.
And that brings us to the "I" word.
It was Trump himself who announced his impending arrest.
He always seems to be in control.
Once it became clear that Donald Trump would be indicted over allegations centered around porn star Stormy Daniels, and that the George Soros-funded "get Trump" prosecutor (Manhattan District Atty. Alvin Bragg) was going through with the arrest and arraignment, there was only one possible position for any Republican to take: No political prosecutions. Stop the deep state. We will not become a banana republic. Fight back. We’ll pick our own candidates. This means war.
That’s the message.
But nobody told Gov. DeSantis.
So, the fastball down the middle that DeSantis should have knocked out of the ballpark turned into a big whiff.
The Florida governor's opportunity to unite both his and Trump's supporters was blown; maybe never to return.
So, while DeSantis was mumbling about Trump and porn stars, Trump supporters were turning "Never DeSantis."
This is not a statement that DeSantis should bow out of the race.
On the contrary, this is a statement that DeSantis, should he decide to run, must welcome all qualified opponents, especially Trump.
And may the best man win.
The model here is the famous liberal attorney, Alan Dershowitz, who said, "I want the right to vote against Trump for the third time."
And, the Republican voters are the only decision-makers about Republican affairs.
DeSantis improved on his second swing when he committed to helping Trump fight extradition, if asked.
The polls moved dramatically.
Trump rose and DeSantis fell. Trump currently runs two to one over DeSantis in many polls. Trump runs seven points ahead of Biden in the latest Rasmussen poll.
DeSantis has a lot of work ahead.
The good news for Florida's chief executive is that the election season is young.
He hasn’t even announced yet. And his positives remain high, and his negatives remain good enough; still a much better spread than Trump’s.
The bad news for DeSantis is that the news is now all Trump, all the time.
DeSantis will have very little ability to control a narrative. And nobody knows how long the "political prisoner/martyr" persona will remain a positive for Trump.
Round 2 to Trump — Strongly.
I ended my Round 1 posting with the following words, still appropriate:
"Politics is a marathon, not a hundred-yard dash. In these unstable times, political fortunes rise, fall and rise again, almost overnight. Indeed, DeSantis is not even an announced candidate. (He’s in). Look for a late Spring announcement. As events unfold, I’ll write about future rounds."
Sid Dinerstein is a former chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party. Read More — Here.
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