Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday November 10, 2022
Trump team pushes to delay 2024 launch as DeSantis star rises in GOP
Former president Donald Trump’s standing as the dominant figure in the Republican Party was challenged Tuesday night by a string of election results that even some of his advisers viewed as wounding to his political future.
Trump is taking blame from Republicans for disappointing performances by many of the candidates he backed, at the same time that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won a landslide reelection, instantly elevating his profile as a serious 2024 presidential contender.
In a sign of Trump’s diminished and newly uncertain footing, some longtime allies are now encouraging Trump to delay a presidential announcement he had planned for next week as a victory lap for a red wave that didn’t materialize.
“Republican chairmen across a wide spectrum of states were counting on Donald Trump to deliver victory for them last night and he didn’t, they are let down,” David Urban, a top adviser to Trump’s winning 2016 campaign in Pennsylvania and a longtime ally, said Wednesday. “It is clear the center of gravity of the Republican Party is in the state of Florida, and I don’t mean Mar-a-Lago.”
The immediate cause for Trump advisers to discuss delaying his promised “very big announcement” scheduled for Tuesday at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach, Fla., resort, was a Senate runoff in Georgia. Trump’s handpicked Senate candidate, football legend Herschel Walker, trailed incumbent Democrat Raphael G. Warnock by about 1 point as of Wednesday afternoon, with neither candidate clearing 50%, leading to a runoff on Dec. 6.
“Everything is about Herschel. I’ll be advising him to put it off until after the runoff,” said Jason Miller, a longtime adviser and sometime spokesman for Trump. “I’m not alone when I say President Trump’s best moves are to put all his efforts to get Herschel Walker elected.”
Trump has been eager to jump into the 2024 race, to the point that he kicked off a last-ditch scramble by aides and Republican leaders to stop him from announcing his candidacy on Monday night, on the eve of the election. Instead, Trump said he would make an announcement next Tuesday.
But the election returns so far have failed to add up to the blowout Trump was hoping to capitalize on, and he gave only brief, subdued remarks Tuesday night from a watch party at Mar-a-Lago, in the path of a hurricane and subject to an evacuation order.
Two people present with Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday night said he was in good spirits, but one of these people said he spent time on Wednesday fuming about the loss by his endorsed candidate, Mehmet Oz, in the Pennsylvania Senate race and the Republican adulation of DeSantis.
By contrast, DeSantis spent election night celebrating a whopping, nearly 20-point victory with supporters chanting for him to run for president. A person close to the governor described his team as “euphoric” and called Tuesday’s results “disastrous” for Trump.
“I have never seen anything like it, and I don’t think any Republican has in Florida,” said Brian Ballard, a longtime powerful lobbyist in Florida. “He has realigned voting coalitions in Florida that I think will benefit the party for generations. After the election yesterday, he is even more so a leader in the Republican Party.”
Two DeSantis allies predicted the governor would wait until Florida’s legislative session ends in May to announce a White House bid, and in the meantime would campaign for Walker in the Georgia Senate runoff. A spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about DeSantis’ plans for the Georgia runoff or the 2024 race.
People who’ve worked with DeSantis say gaming out his moves is difficult because he keeps decision-making to himself, his wife and his chief of staff. A longtime legislative aide in Tallahassee said Tuesday’s results showed that DeSantis is a viable alternative to Trump, but that may not matter if Trump barrels ahead anyway.
“Nobody thinks the path for DeSantis is taking Trump head-on at this point,” the aide said, expecting Trump would “run the party to the ground.”
Even before Tuesday’s election results, Trump viewed DeSantis as a threat, according to the former president’s advisers, and Trump did not wait for polls to close to start attacking him. He mocked him last week as “Ron DeSanctimonious.” On Monday, he threatened to release damaging information about DeSantis should he run, according to the Wall Street Journal. (The Washington Post)
From sketch to finish, see the current way Graeme completes an editorial cartoon using an iPencil, the Procreate app, and a couple of cheats on an iPad Pro … These sped up clips are posted to encourage others to be creative, to take advantage of the technology many of us already have and to use it to produce satire. Comfort the afflicted. Afflict the comforted.