By Leesa K. Donner*
Political junkies finally have something fun to discuss: the likelihood of a showdown between Trump and Newsom for president. Headlines galore touted former President Donald Trump’s strength in this weekend’s Turning Point USA straw poll. He vanquished Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis 78.7% to 19%. This is how politically active young conservatives see the Republican nomination shaking out for 2024. However, few media outlets mentioned who these same young people predicted would win the Democratic nomination. Their clear answer was the Golden State golden boy, Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Grasping At Straws?
The political class historically pooh-poohs straw polls. They are not scientific, but they indicate who has the political mojo. Such high numbers for Trump are reassuring to the former president and his stalwart base.
Both DeSantis and Trump made personal appearances at the young conservative activist conference. But when it came time to choose their man for the next presidential contest, Trump slaughtered DeSantis by almost 50 percentage points. Still, compared to the rest of the GOP field, DeSantis did well. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem polled at 1%. Next came former Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo at .5%. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley came in at a miserable .3%, along with former Vice President Mike Pence.
The Trump-Pence clash has garnered quite a bit of political chatter since the 2016 and 2020 GOP presidential ticket made dueling appearances in Arizona the same day. Both men were endorsing opposing primary candidates for the upcoming midterm elections.
Meanwhile, the pundit class also has been making much ado about GOP donors not wanting Trump to run again. Liberty Nation Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner tapped into this movement early on and wrote, “While they [major donors] are grateful to Donald Trump for his accomplishments in the Oval Office, they most decidedly do not want him to make a third run at the brass ring, fearing he would lose again.” This leads one to wonder if there is a disconnect between the GOP’s big money Old Guard and conservatives under the age of 25.
Some indicators prove Donner’s point. For the first half of 2022, Trump raised $36 million while DeSantis raked in $45 million.1 On Fox & Friends,co-host Steve Doocy pointed to three recent polls that show the Florida governor with an edge over Trump.2 “So, it’s like the young people who are activists at that event like the former president but, looking at these other polls, different answer,” Doocy added.
On his social media platform Truth Social, an irate Trump lashed out at Doocy and his pals: “@foxandfriends just really botched my poll numbers, no doubt on purpose. That show has been terrible — gone to the ‘dark side.’”
There has been political chitchat that Fox might be defecting from the Trump camp. The former president thinks an old pol is behind a potential split between the network and 45. “Actually, almost all polls have me leading all Republicans & Biden BY A LOT. RINO Paul Ryan, one of the weakest and worst Speakers EVER, must be running the place,” he countered, referring to former congressman and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan who sits on Fox Corporation’s board of directors.
In February 2021, Rasmussen Reports took the pulse of 1,000 likely voters to assess Trump’s political strength. The survey concluded, “Seventy-three percent (73%) of GOP voters say Trump is still the kind of leader the Republican Party needs, compared to 24% of Republicans who say the GOP needs to get away from the legacy of Trump.” These numbers are in the vicinity of the Turning Point USA straw poll of 78%. Does this prove 45 hasn’t lost a step with the Republican electorate? Let’s just say, it certainly doesn’t hurt that one year later, and despite the Jan. 6 hearings, Trump still polls outrageously high with Republicans.
The Trump And Newsom Two-Step
A more recent poll by Rasmussen asked respondents about Democratic retreads running for president and found a distinct lack of enthusiasm: 53% of Democrats say no to Hillary Clinton, and 59% do not want Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) either. But here’s the takeaway: “[O]nly 29% want Joe Biden to run again.”
Enter fresh-faced Newsom, who appears to be gaining traction, and there are several reasons why. First, he came out swinging around the Fourth of July with an in-your-face television ad baiting fellow governor DeSantis. Newsom is projecting the image of a Democratic pugilist, and either believes he will be running against DeSantis or strategically determined it was best to ignore Trump.
Should DeSantis grow more politically potent, the Republican primary could be a battle royale. As for the general election, a match-up between Trump and Newsom is gaining momentum, but if we listen to the young people, President Trump is still the man to beat.
1 According to the Washington Times.
2 He is referring to recent state polls. Trump continues to beat DeSantis in every national head-to-head poll.
*About the author: Leesa K. Donner is Editor-in-Chief of LibertyNation.com. A widely published columnist, Leesa previously worked in the broadcast news industry as a television news anchor, reporter, and producer at NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates in Charlotte, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. She is the author of “Free At Last: A Life-Changing Journey through the Gospel of Luke.”
Source: This article was published by the Liberty Nation