You have probably already thought about it. Most of us on the right have at one point or another, haven’t we?
As the midterm election season comes to a close, the nation will be looking forward to 2024. The chattering class is already abuzz with speculation as to who will be sitting at the Resolute desk after the next presidential election.
Former President Donald Trump still enjoys an enormous level of support among conservatives. But even among those grateful to him for his stint in office, some desire to see someone else carry on the America First legacy.
Hedge fund CEO and GOP megadonor Ken Griffin said in an interview with Politico that he believes it is time for the Republican Party to move on from Trump and seek out another standard bearer.
“He did a lot of things really well and missed the mark on some important areas,” Griffin said. “And for a litany of reasons, I think it’s time to move on to the next generation.”
The investor indicated he would be willing to back Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, despite having some areas of disagreement with him, if he threw his hat in the ring for the White House in 2024.
“I don’t know what he’s going to do. It’s a huge personal decision,” he said. “He has a tremendous record as governor of Florida, and our country would be well-served by him as president.”
“Would I support him? The bigger question is, is he going to run? That bridge has to be crossed,” he added.
From the report:
While he’s supporting one of this cycle’s biggest culture warriors in DeSantis, Griffin said most hot-button issues — abortion rights, battles over sex education and LGBTQ rights — don’t define his interests. He wants to improve the diversity of the GOP and blunt the vein of populism that has complicated the party’s relationship with the corporate world — two things he’s consulted with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy about.
Trump also seems to believe that DeSantis might be eyeing a run for the White House. During a Saturday rally in Pennsylvania, he took a swipe at the governor, referring to him as “Ron DeSanctimonious.” He later softened the blow by encouraging Florida voters to re-elect him at an event the next day.
Multiple polls have shown Trump leading as the frontrunner by a healthy margin among possible GOP contenders. But DeSantis has been chipping away at the former president’s lead despite having not indicated whether he intends to run in the next presidential election.
An ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Sunday revealed that 72% of registered Republicans felt DeSantis should have a great or good deal of influence over the future trajectory of the party. About 64% said the same about Trump.
But is it truly time for the conservative movement to move on from Trump?
On the one hand, it might be easier politically. Love him or hate him, the former president has a lot of baggage – some of it deserved, some of it undeserved. The left would have an arsenal of ammo that it would gleefully use if Trump were to make another run. The weaponization of the Justice Department and FBI against the former president might just turn up enough dirt – whether real or fake – to turn off enough moderate and independent voters to allow Democrats to eke out a victory in 2024.
Conversely, DeSantis would have an easier time navigating these waters. He already knows how Washington, D.C. works and has shown an ability Trump seems to lack: Knowing which battles to pick and which ones to avoid. Where Trump is a hammer in search of a nail, DeSantis takes a more surgical approach to the culture war. The governor has the same America First values as the former president and might be more effective at implementing them from the Oval Office.
Still, Trump still has a lot of fight left in him. In 2016, he became president against all odds, and it would be foolish to count him out completely. Moreover, he has the ability to ignite the base in ways that DeSantis might not. The governor is beloved on the right but lacks the charisma we see in the former president.
Ultimately, it will be up to the voters to decide whether to give Trump the nod or to go with a fresh new face. But one thing seems clear, conservatives are not done with either Trump or DeSantis regardless of how this shakes out. Both will have a distinct impact on the future of the party going forward.