Ron DeSantis needs a miracle to win the 2024 election and beat both Trump and Biden

Legendary Pittsburgh Pirates announcer Bob Prince had an infectious optimism.

As his beloved Bucs pulled off an unlikely comeback win, Prince was fond of declaring, “We’ve had them all along.”

Ron DeSantis should be so lucky.

If ever there was a candidate in dire need of a miracle comeback, he’s the one.

The man I and many others saw as the future of the Republican Party views Wednesday’s first presidential primary debate as a hurt disappointment.

The polls put him in second place, behind former President Donald Trump, but the Florida governor is more of a toast than a frontrunner.

The RealClearPolitics August polling average shows Trump outperforming him by 40 points, a range that continues to widen.

That’s a notable change considering DeSantis was at the helm late last year.

And Trump’s lead, which has grown or remained stable after each of his four criminal indictments, isn’t just limited to national polls.

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy are now tied for second place in the GOP primary contest four days before the first debate, according to a new statewide poll.

He leads the RealClearPolitics average with 27 points in Iowa and 31 points in New Hampshire.

DeSantis is in danger of falling back into the field as Senator Tim Scott catches up to him in both early states and Chris Christie is on the rise in New Hampshire.

As such, the advice DeSantis receives from outside of his campaign is endless.

“Do more of this and do less of this” pretty much sums up the meaning of the peanut gallery.

Even the ideas in his super PAC’s leaked memo were predictable: “Show emotion” and attack Joe Biden and the media.

donald trump
Donald Trump currently leads both candidates by a 46% margin.

Brilliant! Imagine a consultant being paid to do this.

A more elaborate idea came from Scott Walker, the former governor of Wisconsin.

Like DeSantis, Walker has been extremely successful in promoting a conservative agenda in his state, becoming an early favorite in the 2016 GOP primary, along with Florida’s Jeb Bush.

But Walker never got close to the Iowa primary, dropping out in the summer of 2015 when his support collapsed after two muted debate appearances.

In a June editorial in the Wall Street Journal that reads like a direct message to DeSantis, Walker wrote, “The lesson of my failed campaign is simple: bold ideas trump strong records.”

Ron DeSantis
The RealClearPolitics August polling average shows Trump outperforming DeSantis by 40 points, a range that continues to widen.
Rick Friedman / Polaris

“Strong Conservative politics may put you on the debate stage, but you must build on those successes with equally tenacious proposals to go further,” he added.

This advice reminds me of a friend’s observation that DeSantis sounds like he’s running for governor of the United States.

Like Walker, he finds it difficult to translate his Florida achievements into a national agenda larger and more inspiring than a repeat of state programs.

Messed up messaging

But Walker noted something else about his experience that is deeply meaningful to DeSantis.

“Everyone knew what Mr. Trump wanted to do,” he wrote.

“‘Build the wall’, ‘lock them up’ and ‘drain the swamp’ were clear rallying cries at his rallies and in his utterances during the debates.”

donald trump
Former President Trump leads RealClearPolitics’ average polls by 27 points in Iowa and 31 points in New Hampshire.

Eight years later, Trump is following the same pattern and making some of the same promises.

The list of his enemies is much longer and includes the prosecutors and some of the judges who handle his cases.

Whatever its ailments and goals, its followers love it just as much today as they did back then.

Echoing his comments on the Russia collusion investigation when he was president, Trump turned to Truth Social after Georgia was indicted and ranted, “So the witch hunt continues!”

And late Friday, citing the House report that President Biden had used pseudonyms in emails while serving as Vice President, Trump’s campaign team sent out a donation email promising to “FIRT the crook in the White House.”

Tim Scott
DeSantis is in danger of falling back into the group as Senator Tim Scott catches up to him in both early states.
Nathan Posner/Shutterstock

Just as Walker, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Christie and other key competitors had no answer to Trump’s hypocritical policies eight years ago, DeSantis seems equally confused.

But what if all advice, even the best, is meaningless?

What if there was nothing more DeSantis or anyone else could have done to change the course of this year’s race?

Consider this possibility: Trump has a firm grip on the nomination, and all the harsh talk and smart money he’s spent trying to take the nomination from him is wishful thinking.

Most challengers and their backers operated on the theory that Trump had an unshakable level of support, hovering around 25% of the Republican primary.

President Joe Biden
A leaked memo from Ron DeSantis’ Super PAC revealed that the governor should “show emotion” and attack Joe Biden and the media.

Anything above that was soft from the opponent’s point of view and therefore persuasive.

That seemed reasonable at the time since Trump’s support was mostly between 35% and 40%.

There was also a fatigue factor that prompted GOP opponents to argue that Trump could not win the general election, a move designed to siphon off those soft supporters.

But so far the theory and the argument of ineligibility have failed.

In polls throughout most of late spring and summer, Trump garnered a solid majority of support, averaging nearly 55% in the last 10 nationwide polls tallyed by RealClearPolitics.

donald trump
Polls show Trump garnered a solid majority of support over the spring and summer, averaging nearly 55% in the last 10 nationwide polls counted by RealClearPolitics.
AFP/Getty Images

In fact, the supposedly soft support has hardened and grown.

It could be that DeSantis and others just failed to convince the convincing.

Or it could be that the historic indictments — all brought by Democratic prosecutors — broadened and solidified Trump’s base and there was nothing his opponents could have done to get them.

Of course, the race is far from over, with the Iowa primary still almost five months away, on January 15, and the New Hampshire primary about a week later.

While new evidence could take its toll in the former President’s criminal case, it would be foolish to assume so.

In order to win, someone has to take the nomination from him.

Trump appears to be aware of this, and his plan to skip Wednesday’s Fox News debate and conduct a counter-programmed Twitter interview with ex-Fox anchor Tucker Carlson is a sign that he thinks he’s getting nothing out of messing things up so early.

His move is a clever final push that puts him – and Carlson – in direct competition with Fox and the other candidates for attention.

Looming Joe Cup ypse

Aside from Trump’s legal jeopardy, there’s another wild card in the running – the Joe Biden scandal.

Leftist media, which have ridiculed claims that Joe was directly implicated in and benefited from Hunter Biden’s influence schemes, are finally realizing they can no longer hide from the mounting body of evidence.

While they are still protecting Biden by calling the story nothing more than a political liability, I believe the day is fast approaching when they will have to admit the evidence is compelling that Joe is selling his vice presidency to Chinese communists and foreign oligarchs did and that Hunter was just the bag man.

If so, the resulting panic among Democrats to replace Biden could also mess up the GOP field.

While it’s likely Trump would be the primary beneficiary, we could be approaching a moment when all wheels are in motion and anything is possible.

This is the reset America desperately needs.


DUSTIN JONES is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DUSTIN JONES joined USTimeToday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with DUSTIN JONES by emailing

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