What does Gov. Ron DeSantis have in common with Herman Cain, Rudy Giuliani, Howard Dean and Jeb Bush? Every one of them was a top candidate for president a year before the Iowa caucus in the year they were running. Early polls give us an idea of who could potentially break away from the pack, but unfortunately for the front-runners this usually makes them the target of relentless attacks on their policies from opponents. Being a front-runner a year before voting begins is almost never beneficial. Being in first or second place in the polls makes you the target of attacks from other candidates who also have a chance at becoming the party nominee. In 2020, the Democratic party had several front runners. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders all held first or second place positions in polls leading up to the Iowa caucus. None of them became the nominee.
For DeSantis, his feud with Disney and continuous attacks from the Trump campaign have resulted in a slow but steady drop in the polls. Donors have pulled support from his campaign, and politicians from his own state of Florida have endorsed other candidates. This includes recent endorsements for Donald Trump by a large number of US House members from Florida. If Ron DeSantis chooses to enter the presidential race this year, he will be attacked by both the Trump campaign and the campaigns of other hopefuls who are vying to be the Trump alternative. It would be wise for Gov. DeSantis to realize he is not in as strong of a position as he thinks and avoid entering the race.
Gov. DeSantis does still have an opportunity to run for president. The 2028 race is an opportunity that may be more appealing. He will no longer be governor at that point due to term limits, and he can focus 100 percent of his time on running for president. It is difficult to know what Trump’s standing in the Republican party will be at that point, but it is no doubt better to be on his good side in the current political climate. If DeSantis were to run again in 2028 after challenging Trump this year, he would be attacked repeatedly by Trump and his allies. If he chooses to run for president this year, he will only be embarrassed as his approval slowly drops. Unfortunately for Ron DeSantis, his early lead in the polls may be the very thing that sinks his presidential aspirations.