Can DeSantis Weather a Brutal Trump Beatdown and Still win the Nomination?

Can DeSantis Weather a Brutal Trump Beatdown and Still win the Nomination?

That beatdown is coming. Guaranteed.

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
April 6, 2023

He hasn’t even announced his 2024 presidential candidacy and Gov. Ron DeSantis, aka "Ron DeSanctimonious" is getting peppered with all sorts of “Rino Ron” and “Globalist Ron” attacks from former President Donald Trump’s MAGA nation.

President Trump first launched the attacks last year when he found out that Gov. DeSantis was looking into challenging him for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

With the latest polls showing President Trump crushing Gov. DeSantis in all the national surveys, and only trailing the popular Florida governor in his state by 5 percentage points, is DeSantis’s presidential campaign over before it gets started?

Not a chance.

But, it's hard to ignore the fact that President Trump has just been indicted and arrested on some pretty flimsy charges, charges that even Democrats questioned, and will continue to benefit from the ongoing media circus surrounding the case.

Trump’s arrest only emboldened the Republican base of support, and will surely show it giving the former president a bump in the polls once they come out.

Like most things, that bump could be a flash in the political pan, and Gov. DeSantis will make a big splash once he announces in May.

One of the problems DeSantis will face is that all of his legislative accomplishments have been, and will be drowned out by the 24/7 media coverage of Trump’s pending case in New York.

Because Trump is expected to command most of the media attention during the Republican presidential primary as a result of his arrest, DeSantis could find himself backed into a corner and may revert to having to take more jabs at the former president.

If DeSantis comes out on the attack against Trump, it could seal his fate.

When DeSantis dismissed the possible Trump arrest by someone he called a “Soros-funded” district attorney, saying that he would not get involved, MAGA Republicans loyal to President Trump pounced.

DeSantis also made a calculated and dumb mistake by taking a jab at Trump over the “alleged affair” and “hush money” payment (s) that Trump is being accused of facilitating.

“Look, I don't know what goes into paying hush money to a pornstar to secure silence over some type of alleged affair. I can't speak to that. But what I can speak to is that if you have a prosecutor who is ignoring crimes happening every single day in his jurisdiction and he chooses to go back many many years ago to try to use something about pornstar hush money payments, you know that's an example of pursuing a political agenda and weaponizing the office,” said DeSantis.

Really dumb move by DeSantis. Really dumb.

Why provoke Trump when he could have taken the higher road?

America could very well see a rerun of the 2016 Republican presidential primary race, where just about all of the candidates running tried to dress down Trump.

They failed.

Trump mowed everyone down, including some of the  biggest, most seasoned political minds in politics today—former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul.

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump

Facing Down Trump

DeSantis will need to on his “A” game in a debate with Trump, because if he repeats his performance in 2022 gubernatorial debate against Democrat Charlie Crist, it’s lights out for the cowboy boot-wearing governor.

Crist outperformed DeSantis in their only debate of the midterm cycle.

Everyone who saw the debate—Independent, Republican, and Democrat—will agree.

Look, DeSantis is making all the right moves, so he does have a pathway to the nomination.

Trump can’t call DeSantis “Meatball Ron” or “Ravioli Ron” because DeSantis has dropped a bunch of weight.

I am guessing when he officially announces, all of those over-sized-looking suits he wears will be replaced with some tailored digs, not to mention getting his trademark black cowboy boots shined up to match his finely manicured young family.

Also, DeSantis is sitting on a mountain of cash and will himself in a better cash position once he officially announces.

Cash is king in American politics.

The biggest issue I see DeSantis having is he efforts to push back against media outlets.

His defamation bills in the Florida Legislature are garbage and have been panned by every single Conservative media outlet and personality in the state.

The Floridian all-but drove the final nail in the coffin of those bills earlier this month.

DeSantis addressed media, and on occasion presses the flesh with constituents, but not enough.

If DeSantis is going to stand any chance of winning Iowa and New Hampshire, he will have to get on the ground and talk to people and media on a personal level, not at the customary 50 foot distance he keeps with them.

Trump loves, loves to interact with people and media.

During the 2016 GOP presidential primary, all of the candidates got close and personal with both the media and potential donors.

But with all that said, no on really knows how this primary election is going to go.

DeSantis supporters like John Cardillo contend that the race between Trump and DeSantis is about general election electability and nothing more.

Cardillo makes a good point.

According to all the aforementioned polls Trump is leading DeSantis in, DeSantis holds a more favorable position than Trump when it comes to defeating President Joe Biden and winning Independent voters.

Again, these public opinion polls only reflect the sentiment of voters now, not tomorrow.

Trump could win the nomination and bring some Democrats and Independent voters in the his corner come Election Day 2024.

The argument here is that DeSantis would be able to unite the country easier than Trump, and with less drama.

That may just be the case, but we shall see.

DeSantis is expected to officially announce in May. We hear it will be May 3rd, a couple days before the end of the 2023 legislative session in Tallahassee.

The first debate between Trump and DeSantis will be in August.

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of,,, and He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at

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