As dust from US midterm elections begins to settle, the focus is shifting to tension brewing within the GOP. Former President Donald Trump looks poised to announce his 2024 presidential bid, and many expect Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to throw his hat in the ring. Trump is publicly discouraging DeSantis from running – threatening him even. With the race for 2024 set to begin, we asked Eurasia Group’s lead US political analyst Jon Lieber for his insights on the DeSantis-Trump feud and the likely 2024 presidential tickets.
Do you believe both Trump and DeSantis will run for 2024? When will they throw their hats in the ring?
Yes. Trump has hinted he’s going to go for it next week at a big rally, but I think the Georgia runoff complicates that. He has the opportunity to take credit for a win, but he also faces the downside risk of taking the blame for a loss. I think that it’s a pretty risky move for him to continue to go ahead with this plan. He could end up delaying, but I’d be shocked if we got to Christmas Eve and he hadn’t figured out some way to get all the attention on him by announcing.
If Trump launches but DeSantis waits until after the next legislative session, would that give Trump the upper hand?
No, it’s a formality. Everybody knows he’s doing this. The thing is that Trump and DeSantis, while they may have to play in the same pool of voters to win the nomination, they’re not going to play in the same pool of donors. Trump’s full money-making operation is the small donors he gets from online and then a couple of large benefactors. DeSantis is going to draw a huge chunk of change the day he announces from deep-pocketed, anti-Trump Republican donors desperate to consolidate the field and have a party led by somebody other than Trump.
How would the GOP change under DeSantis?
The Republican Party wants to be a multiethnic, populist conservative coalition, so pro-border security, anti-trade, anti-big business, anti-woke agenda, pro-life. So all the similar themes you’re seeing right now, without all the chaos that Trump brings.
How would you characterize the matchup between DeSantis and Trump?
Trump has proven quite good at destroying his opponents. DeSantis hasn’t gone through that gauntlet yet. In 2016, Trump came out of nowhere to just humiliate Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, and all the other people running, by saying some nasty, sometimes untrue, sometimes true things. DeSantis is going to have to face that. That’s the biggest risk for him.
Are Republicans blaming Trump, and what did you make of the New York Post likening Trump to Humpty Dumpty?
Trump is 100% getting blamed for this. His candidates did horribly in statewide elections in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and TBD Arizona. As for Murdoch, his empire has turned against Trump and made a kind of conscious decision to turn against him over the last six months. I think that reflects sort of a broadly held view among the Republican elite that hitching your wagon to the Trump train in 2024 is a mistake.
Read more here to get Lieber’s predictions for the 2024 candidates.