Friday, 24 Mar 2023

Trump v DeSantis: Republicans split over 2024 run and predict blood on the floor

Trump v DeSantis: Republicans split over 2024 run and predict blood on the floor


Trump v DeSantis: Republicans split over 2024 run and predict blood on the floor

Terri Burl was an early member of Women for Trump. As chair of her local Republican party branch in northern Wisconsin, she twice campaigned vigorously for his election in the key swing state. By the time Trump left office, Burl rated him the greatest president since Ronald Reagan. Maybe even better.

But now Burl has had enough.

She views the prospect of Trump announcing another run for the presidency - as he is expected to do in Florida on Tuesday evening - with trepidation. Burl predicts "a lot of blood on the floor" if it comes to a fight with rightwing Florida governor Ron DeSantis for the Republican nomination, and defeat in the 2024 election if the former US president is the candidate.

"I will back whoever the Republicans choose to run in 2024. That's a given. But I want them to go through the primaries and I hope it's not Trump. He has too much baggage now. We need new blood because it's obvious that he can't get to business now without doing things to make people angry. His behaviour hasn't changed," she said.

Burl, a substitute teacher, is not alone.

The Republicans' failure to deliver the must promised "red wave" in the midterms was a significant blow to Trump's claim to be the voice of his party's voters, not least because of the defeat of key candidates endorsed by him. But backing from the grass roots, which gave him a tight grip on the Republicans for years and kept its hostile leadership at bay, has been eroding for months.

Republican county chairs and activists say the former president's support has fallen as a result of his continued pushing of election conspiracy theories, the investigations into his businesses and political actions, and his attacks on his most threatening challenger, DeSantis. Above all, there is a deepening fear that Trump is now even more divisive than he was two years ago when he lost the popular vote to Joe Biden by more than 7m votes, and is therefore unelectable.

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