A new straw poll taken at the Western Conservative Summit revealed a new leader among potential Republican presidential candidates in 2024—Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“The top five candidates, in order of most approval to least, were: Ron DeSantis (74%), Donald Trump (71%), Sen. Ted Cruz (43%), Mike Pompeo (39%) and Sen. Tim Scott (36%),” the press release stated. “Former Vice President Pence came in tenth place.”
In addition, the poll found, “If Trump is not on the ticket in 2024, 43% of respondents said that they would vote for DeSantis.” The poll was taken among conservatives.
The news follows a recent report in which Trump said he would be open to DeSantis as a potential running mate if he runs again in 2024. Trump has previously endorsed DeSantis and the two conservative leaders remain on good terms.
In contrast, former Vice President Mike Pence ranked tenth in the recent poll. Despite a strong term with Trump, the two leaders concluded their four years together with different approaches, as Trump continued to speak out on voter fraud, while Pence did nothing.
Still, Trump has said the two leaders have talked and remain on good terms.
With the 2024 election still more than three years away, the talk remains highly tentative. However, there are reasons DeSantis outranked Trump and other candidates in the recent poll.
Chief among the reasons has been the DeSantis approach to the pandemic. Along with Republican state leaders, the governor reopened the state earlier than most and opposed the strict lockdowns recommended by Fauci. He later said Florida “chose freedom over Faucism,” a choice that has increasingly proven accurate.
It doesn’t hurt that Florida’s economy has continued to grow despite the pandemic. And unlike New York and California that saw a decline in population, Florida ranked among the fastest-growing states in the nation.
Further, DeSantis has strongly backed traditional American values. He touted $1,000 bonuses to both teachers and police. He signed a bill to allow a moment of silence in public schools, pleasing those seeking an opportunity for prayer in public education. He’s also even supported Texas in its effort to protect its own border, offering “reinforcements” through law enforcement personnel.
In some ways, DeSantis has done nothing out of the ordinary, except to focus on America’s conservative values. Yet this focus has become rare even among many Republicans. Instead of becoming caught up in the latest leftist drama, DeSantis has pushed toward progress on issues to help Americans in whatever strategic ways he can.
Many conservative leaders could learn from his approach. Yes, Trump may continue his fight against voter fraud, but Americans have to start looking for what’s next rather than what happened in 2020.
In addition, while many conservatives seem stuck fighting back against the left, DeSantis has sought to move forward with the views of the right. He hasn’t won every battle, but he’s signing bills as fast as he can to help his state, even when Biden and Washington largely oppose his approach.
Whether he runs or not, it’s a good reminder that America First also needs a focus on America now, offering help for people where they are despite who leads in the White House.