The Trump-DeSantis Primaries

Focused strategy: The DeSantis campaign is vigorously targeting key states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, disregarding national surveys, according to the campaign's head pollster. Their internal data indicates a strong approval for DeSantis in Iowa, a perception of him being more conservative than Trump, and a widespread belief that he's presidential material.

Optimism for DeSantis in South Carolina: South Carolina's recent political landscape shows Trump leading at 38 percent, trailed by DeSantis at 23 percent, and Haley at 15 percent. Ryan Girdusky of National Populist interprets this as a positive sign for DeSantis, given the likelihood of Haley not reaching the South Carolina primaries.

Online vs. reality: Despite technical problems during DeSantis's online announcement with Elon Musk, the fiasco didn't seem to significantly penetrate real-world perceptions of the campaign. Politico's investigation into key Iowan voters—crucial for DeSantis's campaign—revealed only a couple out of almost a dozen were aware of the incident.

Evolving abortion stance: Governor DeSantis is adopting a nuanced stance on abortion, preserving his robust pro-life advocacy in Florida while remaining tight-lipped on the idea of a national ban. This stance differentiates him from Trump, who has been distancing himself from a firm pro-life stance due to its national unpopularity. DeSantis' campaign is now emphasizing a stance of ensuring abortions are "safe, legal, and rare in Florida.” He’s leaning into an ideological firmness while giving himself an escape card for criticism.

Trump attacks DeSantis on Disney: In a continuing feud with Governor Ron DeSantis, which began with opposition to his Parental Rights in Education Act, Disney recently declared a $1 billion cut in its Florida investments. While media outlets and former President Trump depicted this as a significant blow dealt by Disney to DeSantis, insiders suggest that Disney's decision was long-planned and not directly tied to the governor's stance.

  • Polling shows strong optics: While former President Trump points to Disney's investment cut as proof of Governor DeSantis's inability to collaborate with businesses, it may not resonate very much with the Republican voter base. Internal polling suggests widespread disapproval of Disney among GOP voters in crucial states. Thus, the perceived negative impact of Disney's actions might not hold as much weight.