Governor Ron DeSantis Challenges Trump’s Hold on Republican Party in 2024 Election


Photo by Richard Graulich for Florida Times-Union Press

Lexi Moreno, Reporter

The 2024 election for the presidency is not one to be ignored. The GOP features a former president and an ambitious Governor as Democrats await President Biden’s formal announcement of his reelection campaign. But, whether the country is ready or not, November 5, 2024, is already on the horizon. Candidates will begin their tours around the country, all competing for America’s vote with various pledges of change, continuity, and prosperity. This comes at a crucial time when the country faces significant challenges, including economic recovery from the pandemic, climate change, social justice issues, and political polarization.
With just over nine months until the Republican Iowa Caucus in January, former President Donald Trump remains at the forefront of the Republican party. The Trump campaign began in early November last year following the midterms, immediately launching with rallies nationwide. His candidacy has been met with enthusiasm among Republicans across the country and a strong lead in the polls over his most prominent potential rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

A Harvard Center for American Political Studies and Harris Poll survey showed Trump with a 26-point national lead at 50%, to DeSantis at 24%. DeSantis’ poor showing could result from his refusal to respond to Trump’s verbal attacks. Supporters of the former President have recently taken to attacking the Governor over his response to President Trump’s indictment; DeSantis refused to involve himself in the process and instead focused on “real issues” in Florida. While DeSantis has mainly remained supportive of Trump and his policies, he has also sought to establish himself as a distinct leader within the Republican Party who can stand alone from the former president.

Although DeSantis has yet to officially announce his candidacy, the Governor has taken all the necessary steps for a campaign launch, publishing a new book laying the foundation for his agenda, meeting with key donors, and ramping up his Super PAC with former Trump and Cruz campaign aides. He has continuously dominated the national conversation with his handling of the pandemic, emphasizing personal responsibility and limited government intervention. 

In his four years, he has implemented policies prioritizing Florida’s economy, including tax cuts, deregulation, and job creation. DeSantis has also positioned himself as a vocal critic of big tech, censorship, and “cancel culture.” Ron DeSantis is expected to announce his campaign once the legislative session in Florida ends this May. President Biden’s announcement for reelection is anticipated for April, the same month he began his campaign in 2019. Polling by Gallup shows a 40% approval rating for Biden, the average among U.S. Presidents is 53%. Although his ratings are lower than his predecessors, a recent poll by Quinnipiac University found that in the potential case of a repeat of the 2020 election, Biden would lead Trump at 48%, just two percent over Trump’s 46%. In the case of a DeSantis nomination, the same poll suggests the roles would be reversed, with the Governor at 48% and President Biden at 46%. The poll justifies some Republican leadership concerns about Trump losing once again, especially with his several ongoing investigations.

Ultimately, the 2024 election will be critical for the Republican Party and the country. The decision between Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump represents a fundamental choice between different visions for America’s future. Whether the GOP chooses to prioritize policy, personality, or a combination of both will significantly affect the party’s success and the country’s trajectory.