Voters in Key Early Primary State South Carolina Explain Why They Support DeSantis Over Trump

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Republican voters in South Carolina, a key early primary state, explained why they support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over former President Donald Trump in the battle for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, and the refrain is increasingly familiar: DeSantis, they said, has “a better chance of winning” the election.


Polls have found the same response in several key swing states, which continues to point to two issues.

First, national Republican-only surveys that show Trump over DeSantis by a zillion percentage points — 17 months before the presidential election, and nary a Republican primary held — remain virtually irrelevant.

Second, the more Republican candidates in the field, the more Trump benefits. Simple math, folks.

If I could wave a magic wand and clear the field before the primaries commence, we’d have DeSantis vs. Trump — mano a mano — and hopefully, get down to the serious business of selecting a nominee with the best opportunity to beat Joe Biden and the Democrat machine. Unfortunately, no such wand exists.

Meanwhile, back to South Carolina.

Fox News Digital spoke with a number of voters at a DeSantis rally on Friday and asked them to explain not only why they favor the Florida governor, but also how they feel about the former president.

One voter began by complimenting both DeSantis and Trump:

I think what DeSantis has done in Florida has been amazing. And I have been a supporter of him from the beginning. I think he is a person that will back the American people and get the country back on track, as Trump did, years ago. But sometimes it’s time for you to have somebody new, and I think DeSantis is the one.


A retired businessman slammed the most inept president in U.S. history — that would be Joe Biden, of course — and “this ridiculous administration we are sitting on right now,” and said he wanted a nominee who would restore policies that made the country what it ultimately became.

Donald Trump was one of the best presidents we’ve ever had, and history is going to prove that. He’s terrific. He proved that a businessman could run this country and administrate this country, not a personal politician.

But the man also explained he was worried about whether Trump could win the election.

One woman said she prefers DeSantis because he has “more decorum” than Trump, and isn’t “childish.”

He represents my values. He’s conservative. He’s commonsense. He doesn’t back down in the face of wokeness going on, especially in the schools. He’s protecting kids against this radical ideology, which I’m all for. Yeah, he just represents everything that I am as a conservative.

Another woman said:

Well, I think he’s done a lot better than Trump. I mean, he wasn’t president like Trump was, but I think he just has more of a backbone and can kind of just do more conservative policies. And I’m here to convince my parents to vote for him over Trump.


Incidentally, as multiple media outlets continue to report, Trump has lost support among suburban women since his 2016 election win. I won’t belabor that reality, and I’m also not one who’ll call it “fake news” and pretend it isn’t a concern relative to the 2024 Republican nomination.

Toss in independent voters and fence-leaners, not to mention the multitudinous, rabid Trump haters on the left, and one begins to see the 2024 presidential election objectively — which it would behoove the entire GOP to do —  rather than from a predisposed opinion.

And finally, several South Carolina GOP voters talked about unifying the country — which is likely a pipedream at best, given the bitter division that exists — and their belief that DeSantis wouldn’t be a polarizing figure like Trump.

We feel like a President DeSantis would be more even-keeled and would help the nation actually heal, vs. being so far left as what we have with the Biden administration, and then so far right [as] with the Trump administration. We need somebody that’s actually going to unify this country together.

While many in the Trump camp suggest the Democrats and the media would savage DeSantis the same way they’ve savaged Trump since he and Melania rode down the “Golden Escalator” in Trump Tower to announce his candidacy in June 2015, DeSantis doesn’t have Trump’s propensity to be his own worst enemy, a plethora of legal problems, and a strident “us against them” mentality. And that mentality doesn’t apply only to the Democrat Party, as conservatives who don’t support Trump well know.


The Bottom Line

Slice and dice it any way you want, but Trump’s baggage is a fact — self-inflicted, and not — a fact that very well may prove to be a “yuuge” factor in the 2024 presidential election.

Given the TDS-riddled hatred of Donald Trump that exists among a large percentage of likely voters, Republicans will be unable to afford a mistake in 2024.



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