Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is speculated as a potential contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, surprised many by openly acknowledging in a recent interview that former President Donald Trump “lost” the 2020 election and that Joe Biden is the current president. This bold statement deviates from the prevailing sentiment among a significant number of his party’s primary voters who argue that Trump did not lose the election and that his response to the outcome was justified.
DeSantis’s decision to make this declaration carries some risks, considering that a large portion of the Republican base still supports Trump and refuses to accept the idea of his defeat in 2020. A recent New York Times/Siena College poll revealed that nearly 40 percent of Republican primary voters, who vowed unwavering loyalty to Trump regardless of the circumstances, did not believe that Trump had committed “serious federal crimes.”
Up until now, DeSantis has actively avoided discussing Trump’s involvement in the Capitol riots on January 6th and has evaded mainstream reporters who might question him on this topic. However, by openly acknowledging the election’s outcome, DeSantis is now engaging with a divisive issue within his party.
While this move could position DeSantis as a more moderate candidate appealing to a broader electorate, it also runs the risk of alienating staunch Trump supporters who play a crucial role in Republican primaries. With a significant portion of the party considering Trump a victim of persecution, DeSantis breaking away from this narrative could lead to backlash among these voters.
In a larger context, DeSantis’s willingness to address Trump’s electoral loss highlights the intricate dynamics and internal conflicts within the Republican Party as it navigates the post-Trump era and prepares for the 2024 election cycle.