Former President Donald Trump (R) is well clear of Governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in the polls at the moment. According to the Real Clear Politics average, President Trump holds a commanding 32-point lead over Gov. DeSantis heading into the primary debates. However, his lack of a filter – his inability to think things through before hitting “send” – might lead to a political loss. An unforced error.
Simultaneously, it is the abrasiveness and disinterest to maintain good relationships with the party elite at the top if they are not on the “Trump Train” or are not “loyal” to him: That is one of the biggest pulls for President Trump – especially from his core supporters. There is this idea that Trump has no political motivations other than love of country and anybody that gets in his way (even in the slightest) either hates America or loves power more than America.
Maybe his core supporters are right. Maybe they are completely wrong. That is for voters to decide.
At the same time, we can criticize a bad chess move even if Bobby Fischer is the one who made it.
This brings us to Trump’s latest comments on his social media platform, Truth Social. From a political strategy standpoint, it is quite head-scratching. And with the Iowa Caucuses not that far away, his decision (perhaps not well thought out) to publicly shame Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA) for her decision to not endorse him could lead to a defeat in the Hawkeye State election process.
Earlier today on Truth Social, President Trump discussed Iowa and its governor Kim Reynolds.
— Vince Manfeld (@AureliusStoic1) July 11, 2023
“I love Iowa, protected & expanded Ethanol, got 28 Billion Dollars from China for our great Farmers, ended the Estate (Death!) Tax on farms, made the best TRADE deals in history (USMCA, China, & many more), introduced the World to our FARMERS, & kept Iowa’s ‘First in the Nation’ status. I opened up the Governor position for Kim Reynolds, & when she fell behind, I ENDORSED her, did big Rallies, & she won. Now, she wants to remain ‘NEUTRAL.’ I don’t invite her to events! DeSanctus down 45 points!” said Trump.
Yes, President Trump has a 32-point lead nationwide. But that lead is smaller in Iowa (23 points over DeSantis – 44% to 21%) according to recent polling. The gap could diminish more after his comments, considering Reynolds has an 86% approval rating in the state.
Smelling blood in the water, DeSantis responded within hours to Trump’s statement, calling Gov. Reynolds a “strong leader” who “ignores the chirping.”
.@KimReynoldsIA is a strong leader who knows how to ignore the chirping and get it done. She earned a landslide re-election because she delivered big results, and she is poised to deliver even more for Iowans in the special session.
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) July 10, 2023
“Kim Reynolds is a strong leader who knows how to ignore the chirping and get it done. She earned a landslide re-election because she delivered big results, and she is poised to deliver even more for Iowans in the special session,” stated DeSantis.
Earlier this month, Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis launched the Mamas for DeSantis coalition to aid DeSantis’ presidential campaign. She did so alongside Iowa Governor Reynolds.
The “neutrality” doesn’t appear to be all that neutral.
With all of this in mind – factoring in the history – the Republican that wins the Iowa Caucuses has not gone on to win the nomination in the last three competitve races (Huckabee ’08, Santorum/Paul ’12, Cruz ’16).
According to historical trends, it is very possible that a loss in Iowa will not deter an eventual Republican nominee. It is also possible that Iowa voters won’t care about his statement about Reynolds at all. Trump could win Iowa in a landslide.
But should the Iowa Caucuses come down to a close DeSantis win, an unforced Trump error will most likely receive the blame.
Granted, there is a lot of time between now and January, but will Trump attempt to make peace?
I think we all know that question was rhetorical.
~ Jackson Bakich, Staff Writer