It is striking to consider the number of conservatives and Republican stalwarts who insist that Trump should not run in 2024 and should cede the field to Ron DeSantis. I have come across this argument time and again, and it never ceases to baffle me. Even one of my astute and celebrated editors at another outlet cannot disguise his animus against Trump, which I find as astonishing as it is myopic. The essential points of this argument go something like this:
- Trump is too crude in his habitual verbal comportment, lacking in the polish and restraint we associate with the presidency at its ideal best.
- Trump continues to dwell on a rigged 2020 election, a grievance that casts him in the light of a sore loser and renders him something of an obsessive.
- Trump is too old. After Biden, another geriatric president would be a liability. DeSantis is in his early forties and represents a vital alternative to the specter of feebleness and senility exhibited by Biden.
- Trump is too controversial and would generate considerable opposition.
All these points, I believe, can be easily rebutted.
- It is true that Trump is neither elegant, conciliatory, nor urbane, but he should be judged on his record, not his lack of refinement and gentility. And his presidency was the most successful and beneficial since that of Ronald Reagan. That’s what counts.
- Trump’s preoccupation with a stolen election is perfectly legitimate. It is the greatest shame and disgrace in American political history and, after the Supreme Court’s pusillanimous bailout, absolutely needs to be addressed.
- Trump is hale, healthy, smart, and vigorous. Witness the energy and stamina on display in his frequent and protracted rallies. There is no need to worry. DeSantis, for his part, must concentrate on Florida as the new bellwether state. His refusal to declare his intentions on remaining a four-year governor may cost him in his debates with his rival Charlie Crist. 2028 is DeSantis’ year.
- Trump is obviously controversial, but this aspect of his character and self-presentation does not detract from his potential candidacy. He is obviously the Democrats’ greatest peril, from their perspective one that must be neutralized in any presidential contest. The Russiagate scandal, the banning on Facebook and Twitter, two attempted impeachments, the J-6 katzenjammer, the relentless media attacks on his reputation, the illegal and unprovoked raid on his private residence, and a recent subpoena all point to the fact that the Democrats regard him as the greatest threat to their hopes and plans. An onslaught of this magnitude clearly indicates that the Democrats see him as a major impediment to retaining the White House. Trump is undoubtedly the man they fear most. This alone is sufficient evidence to justify his 2024 primary nomination.
According to Conrad Black, Trump is “the recent political past, the preeminent present, and the likely future.” He is right.