Did anyone sense a momentum shift?
Granted it’s still early in the 2024 presidential race, but there’s been discernible movement in public attitudes towards one candidate of late. With senile president Joe Biden frequently appearing on TV telling whoever is listening that America is in great shape under his leadership, Americans – specifically, conservatives – are tired of the hyperbole and yearn for real results.
And if you crave real results, why not turn to a proven hand to provide them? Is that what’s going on now? In a piece titled “Trump extends poll lead over DeSantis — and nobody else matters”, the always observant Byron York wrote at the Washington Examiner last week:
“[I]n just a short time, about two weeks after the CNN poll was taken [the one poll out of 59 that showed DeSantis ahead of Trump], it appears that Trump is reasserting his lead among GOP voters. Several recent polls have shown a larger Trump margin than during the brief period earlier this year when DeSantis seemed to be advancing…
“There are plenty of reasons for [Trump’s surge]. Trump has obviously been slamming DeSantis on a virtually daily basis, not the sort of pummeling that Trump has done in the past but hitting DeSantis progressively harder, and that takes a toll. It's why we're seeing DeSantis, who was originally reluctant to hit back, now taking some shots at Trump. It's not anywhere near a thermonuclear exchange at this point, but it's early still.
“But the biggest takeaway is that even though DeSantis has not declared his candidacy, the race is taking on the characteristics of a race, with voters responding to daily developments. Right now, it is a two-man race — apparently, respondents, without prompting, cannot come up with any names other than Trump and DeSantis — but it is still a race.”
I agree with most of what York wrote. The longtime conservative opinion writer knows his history and isn’t often wrong when sharing his theories. Trump has indeed stretched his lead lately, and DeSantis, perhaps, might’ve peaked a little too early and got people excited to suggest it was a “when” and not “if” proposition that Trump was finished politically.
Those of us who’ve studied Trump’s career thought otherwise. It’s not a perfect analogy, but if you leave the weeds in the driveway cracks in the fall, they’ll come back greener than green in the spring. Similarly, as long as a recognizable percentage of conservative and Republican voters still like and admire Trump, there’s no way to indelibly “kill” his chances of making another comeback.
As has always been the case, Trump believes that even negative publicity is better than no publicity at all, and Trump has been receiving even more than his usual share of glare thanks to New York prosecutor Alvin Bragg. New York liberals were dumb enough to think that dragging Trump through a formal charge – even one as spurious as the alleged payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 – would result in the man giving up. Or that people would lose conviction in him because “no one is above the law” or something like that.
The problem being that the law, under Democrats, isn’t really like the law. It’s more like a spoils system put in place to ensure that political opponents lose elections – and are embarrassed and ruined in the doing. It’s sometimes hard to see Donald Trump as a sympathetic character, but Democrats sure found a pristine way to do it.
About half of Americans may not be fond of Trump, but they know unfairness when they see it. Folks reason that if the law can be abused to the extent of arresting a former president for something “personal” in nature, the authorities can do the same thing to them. Don’t Democrats remember the country’s reaction when Republicans tried impeaching Bill Clinton in the ‘90s because he’d lied about his Oval Office liaisons with Monica Lewinsky?
Then there’s help from other sources as well, such as the song “Trump Won (and You Know It)” by singer Natasha Owens.
The curious thing about all of this is the relative (for him) absence of Trump’s face in the media – at least in live interviews with hostile questioners. Trump still comments – through posts to his TRUTH social account and short videos explaining his various positions – but he’s being smart and keeping out of the spotlight, permitting the biased media fools to slander him without appearing whiny and childish himself.
There’re still a multitude of cases of Trump Derangement Syndrome running wild – and it’s helped Trump appear more sensible. Whether this has staying power is the mystery.
DeSantis, on the other hand, is busy governing Florida. Almost on a daily basis comes another report of the 44-year-old laying the groundwork to enact another anti-woke policy for his state, but his triumphs aren’t the eye-catching tidbits that news producers prefer to showcase. DeSantis is as non-controversial as Trump is controversial. Could this be hurting the governor in the 2024 race? Is DeSantis too good at what he does? Is he ignoring the media too much?
In essence, we’re seeing basic human nature at work. The more the DC swamp, the corporate establishment media and various Democrat pols tell Americans that Trump is a cad, a phony, a criminal, a self-possessed egomaniac, a major shyster, a swindler – and a certain loser – the more people home in on what’s really going on and surmise that maybe, just maybe, the Trump days weren’t so bad after all.
At least back when Trump was president two million illegal aliens weren’t surging over the border every federal fiscal year, and the bombastic former chief executive’s expressions of sympathy for people who were victimized by invaders was genuine. Folks believed Trump when he said he was going to do something about fentanyl if reelected, and even if sending the military to eliminate the cartels wasn’t necessarily the best solution, people knew Trump would do whatever it took.
Trump said what he meant and meant what he said. Senile Joe Biden dithers all over the place on everything, seemingly poking with a very long stick to determine where the bottom might be. It’s getting harder and harder for ol’ Joe to get away with it these days, as prices continue to rise despite strong employment numbers and interest rates have gone so high that first time buyers can’t even think about paying for a house. There’s nothing quite like being stuck in one’s situation to begin questioning what’s going on and who is responsible for it.
Just last week I went to the grocery store and the always reliable price of Diet Pepsi indicated the powers-that-be demanded $3.50 for one two-liter bottle of the stuff. What is this, Hawaii? Dang, how is a non-coffee drinker supposed to get his caffeine fix without going broke?
There are many more signs that voters are hurting economically, which is also possibly fueling Trump’s upward trend in the GOP. As relayed by the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard, “Nearly 9 in 10 people feel ‘impacted’ by the Biden economy, socked by ‘inflation and higher prices,’ and most fear it is going to get worse... The crush of the economy’s failings appears to be cutting deeply into President Joe Biden’s approval ratings and helping to give former President Donald Trump a resurgence in popularity.”
So those of us who felt the ground moving (not an earthquake, mind you) aren’t crazy. The always in flux American public opinion is on the move again. With several big banks failing or tossing out hints that they might be in trouble, ordinary citizens are worried about the future. The Biden administration’s bailout of depositors to those leftist controlled institutions isn’t lending an aura of confidence in the government’s ability to steady the ship, either.
It should also be noted that House Republicans are uncovering real sleaze in the Biden family business dealings, and most of the dirty laundry points directly at the “Big Guy” himself. Democrats don’t pay attention – and don’t care about it – but independent voters might be getting the gist.
Where I take issue with York’s analysis is his statement that no one else besides Trump and DeSantis matters in the 2024 GOP race.
That might be true today, but in case you’ve noticed, the caucuses and primaries are still almost a year away (January or February in Iowa?) and the field is yet to fully expand outward. It’s likely that someone like Nikki Haley won’t grow a whole heck of a lot, but what about Vivek Ramaswamy?
If history is a guide, as it usually is, there will be many ups and downs among the contenders. Trump’s approval will sway according to his ability to focus on the end goals rather than relitigating the past – or smearing his opponents. To state that no one else matters at this point, as York did, is a bit premature.
Every dedicated political watcher knows that today’s poll numbers don’t mean much in the long term scheme of things. Donald Trump may be edging up slightly of late, but it’s not necessarily because conservatives have lost faith in Ron DeSantis, or are waiting for someone else to be the not-Trump candidate for 2024. Perspective is often in short supply – none more so than today.
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2024 presidential election