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The promising career of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has taken a beating since he decided to run against President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. Now, credible rumors are being reported by corporate media sources (which is an oxymoronic statement, I know) that DeSantis is preparing to drop out after losing the Iowa caucuses a week from Monday
If true, it would be the first step toward salvaging his future prospects for a possible 2028 run.
According to Douglas Mackinnon at The Hill:
I have heard from two people very familiar with the DeSantis campaign — a major donor and a high-level political operative — that if the Florida governor loses the Iowa caucuses to former President Donald Trump as expected on the night of Jan. 15, he will either drop out of the race that night or make his announcement the next morning.
More than that, both believe DeSantis will then — very begrudgingly — endorse Trump for president.
Should both predictions come to pass, DeSantis would be jumping on a bandwagon that is dramatically increasing in speed and taking on more and more Republican politicians looking to back the clear frontrunner. Last week, Trump received critically important endorsements from House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (Minn.) and Majority Leader Steve Scalise (La.). Those are on top of Speaker Mike Johnson’s (La.) endorsement just a month ago.
Despite putting the majority of his focus on Iowa, DeSantis has failed to break 20% in recent polls. Trump has led both DeSantis and Nikki Haley by at least 30-points in every major Iowa poll since the beginning of December.
But Iowa is a strange creature with a caucus system that has drawn criticism in recent elections. Trump led the polls going into the 2016 caucuses but Senator Ted Cruz beat him. This prompted both DeSantis and Haley to focus on their Iowa ground game throughout primary season, but it hasn’t moved the needle enough.
DeSantis received the brunt of attacks from both Trump and his base for months, but over the last few weeks Haley has emerged as a favorite target. This lack of concern about DeSantis’s prospects of beating Trump may be contributing to his potential early exit.
Commentary: First and foremost, rumors like these are always questionable. Until DeSantis stands in front of his supporters and announces it, there’s no reason to assume it’ll happen. For his sake, any truth to these rumors could be a blessing.
It behooves DeSantis to drop out as quickly as possible and get fully behind President Trump if he hopes to run again. Trump has proven a willingness to move on after opponents drop out. Following one of the ugliest primary contests in modern history against Cruz in 2016, the two reconciled and became allies before Trump’s election victory. Cruz’s name was even on the short list to be a Supreme Court nominee.
If DeSantis drops out after Iowa and helps Trump, there may be enough time to gain favor with Trump’s base. But the longer he stays in, the harder it will be for them to forgive and forget even if Trump accepts him as an ally.
What do you think? Sound off on my Substack.
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