While the first primary for the 2024 Republican nomination for president is still nearly a year away, Donald Trump is already running hard. He announced his candidacy last November in a nightmarishly bleak address that featured dystopian references to “blood-soaked streets” in “cesspool cities,” and was universally poorly received.
Since Trump’s official entry into the 2024 race he has maintained a constant presence via his floundering Twitter ripoff, Truth Social. He routinely posts dozens of comments a day, mostly linking to ultra-rightist websites and his anonymous QAnon cult followers. Occasionally Trump even posts stories from Fox News, which he has come to detest for being insufficiently worshipful. But he still can’t resist it when they exalt him as he believes he deserves, such as their analysis of the apocalyptic commencement of his candidacy.
Although there has been almost no adversarial interactions on the campaign trail, Trump has taken a profoundly hostile approach to one prospective opponent, Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Trump has lately descended into the scummiest depths of political hostilities. In a series of assaults he has implied that DeSantis is a gay pedophile who will terminate Social Security and deliver the GOP to establishment RINOs.
Oddly, however, Trump has hardly said a word about any of the other Republicans who are mulling running against him. And a new poll by Monmouth University tells us why that is.
The survey shows that Trump is well ahead of the GOP pack with 41% of respondents choosing Trump. Coming in second is DeSantis with 27%. The rest of the contenders wallow in single digits.
What terrifies Trump – and what Fox News isn't showing – is that head to head the same poll has Trump and DeSantis virtually tied at 47-46%. pic.twitter.com/KTwOVWJPlX
— News Corpse (@NewsCorpse) March 22, 2023
However, the poll also asked respondents who they would support if the only choices were Trump and DeSantis. In that case the race was a virtual tie with Trump at 47% and DeSantis at 46%. And that explains why Trump is only bashing DeSantis. He is the only one who represents any competition at this point. So in Trump’s mind, he must be destroyed.
Furthermore, the other potential candidates currently pose no problem at all for Trump. So he’s laying off of them. In fact, he needs them in the race to dilute DeSantis’ strength as the leading anti-Trump candidate. Consequently, when Nikki Haley announced her candidacy, Trump literally welcomed her into the race, albeit in a somewhat passive-aggressive fashion.
The more piddly Republicans who run (i.e. Haley, Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, Mike Pompeo, Tim Scott, Chris Christie, etc), the better it is for Trump. So he ignores them. But he is so worried about DeSantis that a day doesn’t go by without multiple attacks.
On Wednesday Trump posted a link to an article about Steve Bannon calling DeSantis a “weasel” for injecting a sly reference to Trump’s troubles with adult film star Stormy Daniels into his criticism of Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney who is contemplating an indictment of Trump.
Trump posting Steve Bannon calling Ron DeSantis a weasel for his porn star comments. This is the 2023 Republican Party. pic.twitter.com/a7bVk1ijeC
— Ron Filipkowski ?? (@RonFilipkowski) March 22, 2023
Talk about passive-aggressive. Although Bannon’s criticism included the same references to the Stormy situation, so she got a two-fer. Actually, it was a three-fer because Trump reposted the Bannon article, further highlighting the porn star, hush money affair.
In the coming weeks and months look for Trump to lob ever more poisoned spears at DeSantis. For his part, DeSantis will likely avoid declaring his candidacy as long as possible, partly because it is currently illegal for him to run and serve as governor at the same time (although the Florida legislature is in the process of repealing that law). So all of the open acrimony will be coming from Trump, while DeSantis meekly slings his muffled mud.
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