Most political nerds know that as soon as the midterm election is over (tonight? Next week?), the 2024 presidential election begins. Ok, that might be exaggerating just a bit, but after the holidays, 2023 is all about those with political ambitions getting their ducks in a row.

That means there will be a lot of announcements in 2023. Former President Donald Trump may get out ahead of everyone. He stated at a rally in Ohio on the eve of the midterm election that on November 15, he will be making a “very big announcement.”

You don’t have to be a political wonk to assume that more than likely, that means he will announce a 2024 White House run. The only other name that has been talked about almost as much as Trump for 2024 is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

So there were a lot of eyebrows raised when, at a rally in Pennsylvania over the weekend for Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, Trump referred to DeSantis as, “Ron De-Sanctimonious.”

Has the mudslinging started already? No. And in all likelihood, it won’t. Here’s why. 

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Smart Moves

If you are Donald Trump, today may be a bit of an awkward situation. This morning, the Trumps were seen leaving their polling place, and the word is that Trump voted for Ron DeSantis in his bid to be reelected Governor.

Knowing that in the governor’s race, the person who may be your opponent in 2024 is the best choice to lead the state you live in might be weird, but traditionally, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis have had a good relationship.

As far back as July of this year, Trump was asked about picking DeSantis as a running mate in 2024. During an interview with Newsmax’s Rob Finnerty, Finnerty asked Trump, “Could you envision a world, sir, where there is a Trump-DeSantis ticket?”

Trump stated, “Well, I get along with him. I was very responsible for his success, because I endorsed him and he went up like a rocket ship.”

In an even earlier June interview, he was asked if he would consider DeSantis as a possible V.P. candidate. Trump replied, “Sure I would.”

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Not Their First Rodeos

A couple of things to consider. First of all, for Trump to refer to DeSantis as “Ron De-Sanctimonious” was not a good move. (And hence my ability to criticize Trump when necessary is now on display.)

Throughout the entire campaign cycle, Ron DeSantis has remained consistent, saying his only focus was on being reelected Governor of Florida. The fact that he did not take the bait when Trump let that slip was smart.

What’s more, a recent Vanity Fair article claims that DeSantis has told donors he will not challenge Trump in 2024.

A primary brawl between Republican voters’ top two favorites would be a disaster for the party – but I don’t think it will happen.

Many in the GOP view DeSantis as the heir apparent to Trump. They feel DeSantis has Trump’s boldness, and his chutzpah, and won’t take a lot of crap from the media. 

Those who support Trump and DeSantis essentially support them for the same reasons, and with them being voters’ number 1 and number 2 picks ensures the party goes in the same direction for years to come. Why waste that continuity on a needless primary squabble?

Both men understand this – and DeSantis more than Trump. (Let’s face it, and that’s not a bad thing. DeSantis is Floyd Mayweather, Trump is Mike Tyson. The former more savvy, the latter a wrecking ball of pure power and will – which is both good and quite necessary at this point in our history.)

DeSantis is, perhaps surprisingly, only 44. Trump is 76. Both understand that one man’s time is now, and one man’s time is tomorrow.

DeSantis also understands that all the fire power directed at Trump leaves him free to continue to be America’s best governor for another four years, until 2026. That gives him much more time to build infrastructure, raise his profile, and get the job done. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, guess what happens right after the 2026 midterms? That’s right, the 2028 Presidential election kicks off.

Being as politically savvy as he is, he knows the best move is to serve two full terms as Governor, and in 2028, he is top dog, and could skate to the nomination.

Sorry to disappoint you, Democrats. No Trump-DeSantis dog fight here. 

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