Post-election conservative social media has been on fire with conservative infighting, conspiracy theories and boosting of Trump vs. DeSantis for the 2024 nomination.
Without championing anyone, let me take a step back to weigh in on what I think the difference in approaches and what the underlying tension between the two sides is really about.
And maybe see that they actually have a lot in common.
It’s about priorities.
I’m going to generalize here because both men have more to offer than this, and they are supported for more reasons than this, but I think it is what is at the heart of the debate and the growing hostility on both sides.
For a lot of Trump supporters, the priority is getting RINOs out of the party. Trump was there to transform the GOP as much as to transform the country. Trump has been celebrated for taking on the GOP establishment.
DeSantis receives hostility and suspicion from a lot of Trump supporters because he rarely says anything negative about other Republicans. Even though he has presided over a successful conservative revolution in Florida, some see him as being with the GOP establishment.
What DeSantis however focuses on is fighting the Left. Instead of waging a direct war on the establishment, he’s undermined RINOs by showing that his model is better and superior to theirs.
These are two different ways of doing the same thing.
A lot of DeSantis supporters want direct victories without the inter-party drama. They want to win conservative victories by directly fighting the Left rather than purging the party in order to be able to fight the Left.
In the wake of the Obama era and the decline of the Tea Party movement, a lot of conservatives lost faith in the ability of conservatives being able to take on the Left without first driving the RINOs out of the party.
DeSantis is demonstrating that it’s possible to win directly.
This is really a tactical debate about the best way to secure conservative victories. And it’s playing out with both men following their model.
Before we insult each other, it’s important to take a step back and recognize that we want the same final outcome, even if we may disagree on how to get there.
This is a debate that was born out of the disappointments and failures of the Republicans in the last decade. And there are lessons to be learned there. But we also need to remember that whichever conservative candidates we back, we want the same things.
We want our country back.
Trump and DeSantis both offer compelling models and visions for doing it. Both men have achieved a lot. And we may also ask ourselves whether we need to pick and choose or whether there can be a synthesis that takes the best of both approaches in the conservative fight for our country.
Competition is a good thing. It makes us stronger. As long as we remember that Team Trump or Team DeSantis, we’re ultimately on the same team.