July 14, 2024

Ex-President Donald Trump and his most serious potential rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, laid out with unprecedented clarity this weekend how their sharply contrasting personalities and approaches would define the 2024 race for the Republican nomination.

Trump served up his familiar brew of fury, falsehoods and dishonest braggadocio at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, billing himself as the only man who could save the planet from World War III, girding his adoring supporters for their “final battle” against communists, globalists and the “Deep State,” and declaring: “I am your retribution.”

“We will beat the Democrats, we will rout the fake news media, we will expose and appropriately deal with the RINOs (Republicans in Name Only). We will evict Joe Biden from the White House and we will liberate America from these villains and scoundrels once and for all,” Trump told the crowd at a Maryland convention center outside Washington on Saturday.

DeSantis, who is yet to declare a campaign, used an appearance at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California on Sunday to channel the same conservative anger at what he claims is a left-wing “woke” elite takeover of politics, education, Covid-19 public health policy and big business, tapping into the modern Republican Party’s driving ideological force. Yet he offered a far more specific blueprint than Trump for a disruption of government as Americans know it, strongly implying that after implementing hardline conservatism in the Sunshine State, he could deliver the policy goals that often eluded Trump in his chaotic White House term.

“I can tell you in four years, you didn’t see our administration leaking like a sieve, you didn’t see a lot of drama or palace intrigue,” said DeSantis, whose punch-by-punch speaking style is far more ordered and methodical than Trump’s wild flights of rhetoric. “What you saw was surgical, precision execution. Day after day after day. And because we did that, we beat the left day after day after day.”

The back-to-back speeches, which highlighted two Republicans who would be the early favorites if DeSantis gets into the GOP nominating race, came with a slice of irony. The split screen captured their party’s unresolved ideological split that Trump engineered in 2016 when he crushed establishment candidates. CPAC, where Trump spoke, for decades kept alive the flame of the two-term president Reagan, who redefined the conservative movement when he won the 1980 election and left a legacy that dominated the GOP until Trump arrived. Once a rite of passage for potential GOP presidential candidates, CPAC has since become a platform for Trump’s personality cult. DeSantis did not speak there, instead appearing last week at a dueling Club for Growth donor conference to which Trump was not invited.

Analysis by , CNN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *