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Conservative Crossroads: Trump or DeSantis for 2024?

(Chuck Muth) – There are valid reasons for conservatives to support Donald Trump in the GOP presidential primary.  And there are valid reasons for conservatives to support Ron DeSantis in the GOP presidential primary.

There aren’t so many when it comes to Nikki Haley.

If you’re a conservative who doesn’t much care for Trump, DeSantis is the viable conservative option.  Haley just reminds me too much of John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan.

All conservative hat; no conservative cattle.  Not my cup of tea.  And her call for the government to eliminate anonymous speech on social media – even though I personally don’t do so – is disqualifying for me and lot of others on the right.

As hard as the media is trying to prop up Haley, she simply doesn’t have the juice to go all the way.  So the choice for conservatives is really between Trump and DeSantis.

Personally, if the election were held today – it’s not – I’d cast my ballot for DeSantis despite being an unapologetic Trump supporter in 2016 and 2020.  But I understand and accept why many others are sticking with Trump.

Among us conservatives, we simply need to agree to disagree and move on after the nomination fight to retake the White House – as well as Congress.

But that nomination fight is still ongoing.  And there ARE former Trump supporters who are still on the fence and/or persuadable. So hearing both arguments for and against Trump is helpful to the undecideds or those not firmly committed.

Dr. Wayne Grudem, an evangelical leader in Arizona, has published a thorough column listing both Trump’s accomplishments and his weaknesses and concludes that it’d be best if Trump – not DeSantis – dropped out of the race.

Now, Trump supporters, before reflexively hitting the “delete” button, hear the man out…

“I voted for Donald Trump twice. I published several op-ed pieces defending him and his policies. I spoke in support of Trump on podcasts and before live audiences. I do not regret those decisions and I remain convinced that, given the alternatives (Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden), supporting Trump in 2016 and 2020 was the right choice.”

So this guy, like me, is NOT a “Never Trumper.”  And he readily acknowledges all the good Trump did and accomplished in office, including…

  • Nominated three outstanding justices to the Supreme Court
  • Cut taxes
  • Reduced illegal immigration
  • Cancelled thousands of government regulations
  • Negotiated the Abraham Accords in the Middle East
  • Kept Russia out of Ukraine
  • Kept Hamas from attacking Israel
  • Made America energy independent

“And the list goes on,” Grudem writes.  “Trump built a stronger US military, expanded educational freedom, defended freedom of conscience for artistic professionals, defeated ISIS, persuaded several European nations to increase their NATO funding, protected freedom of speech on college campuses, and instructed the Department of Education to protect boys’ and girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams.”

But (there’s always a but)…

Much of what Trump accomplished has already been rolled back by the Biden administration.  And if Democrats are given another four years in the White House, “nearly all of Trump’s legacy will be lost.”

As such, Grudem urges Trump to drop out of the race (even though we all know he won’t) because “he is a weaker candidate than he was in 2016.”

“While Trump remains popular among conservative Republicans,” Grudem continues, “his support among independent voters is abysmal, and independents will decide the general election. … A candidate will have to win a majority of Independents in order to win the election. And that is where Trump comes up short.”

Among the factors that have driven independent voters away from Trump since his loss to Biden in 2020 is his incessant whining about the election being stolen.

“After the 2020 election, Republican lawyers filed more than 60 lawsuits attempting to prove that the electoral votes in some states where Biden won by a narrow margin should instead be awarded to Trump.

“But in every case, judges ruled that the Republican lawyers had not produced enough evidence even to bring the case to trial, which means there was nowhere near enough evidence to overturn the election in any single state. …

“Many faithful Trump supporters will still believe that the election was ‘stolen,’ and they are entitled to their own beliefs. But I’m concerned that endlessly repeating this claim quickly turns off many independent voters. What they see is a sore loser.”

Grudem is also concerned with Trump’s political judgment, noting that Trump’s “rash endorsements of weak Republican candidates” cost the GOP seats in the U.S. Senate in both 2020 and 2022.

Indeed, last year Trump endorsed candidates in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia “who agreed with his claim that his election was stolen” over stronger candidates “who would have won the election and would have given Republicans a 53-47 majority in the Senate.”

And then there are the legal problems.

Yes, we all agree that Democrats are hunting Trump down like the coyote chasing the road runner and abusing the justice system in doing so.  But Republicans are foolish to ignore the potential electoral consequences of the Democrats’ jihad.

“I think that the charges against Trump are a malicious misuse of the courts as weapons against political opponents,” Grudem continues. “But the trials will go on, and they must be taken into account.”

Yes, the lawsuits will continue to keep Trump off the campaign trail.

And yes, leaks from the lawsuits will provide “a drip-drip-drip of embarrassing and damaging new information about Trump after he wins the Republican nomination and it is too late for Republicans to replace him with a non-scandal plagued candidate.”

“The mainstream liberal press,” Grudem predicts, “will mostly hold off on running negative stories about Trump until after he wins the GOP nomination, and then the avalanche will start.”

As will the Summer of ’24 BLM/Antifa riots, almost guaranteed to be worse than 2020.  And the media will play these “mostly peaceful” protests up 24/7.

And, yes, age is an issue – though certainly more so for Biden (if he ends up being the Democrat nominee) than Trump.

“Trump is now eight years older than when he began his successful campaign in 2015,” Grudem notes, “and at age 77 there is always the risk of an unexpected health problem in the middle of a demanding campaign.”

And there’s growing concern about Trump’s temperament.

He’s made it clear this is a “vengeance” campaign and he doesn’t care who he has to take down – including solid conservatives who are supporting other candidates in the race who he falsely labels as “RINOs” and “disloyal.”

And if you’re already suffering from the onset of Trump Fatigue now, wait’ll he becomes the nominee.

“Quite honestly, the thought of having to defend Trump again and again for another year produces in me a great feeling of weariness,” Grudem wrote.  “I think millions of other Republicans feel the same way. We would vote for Trump, but the needed enthusiasm and willingness to spend volunteer hours and to contribute money are simply not there.”

Don’t pooh-pooh this.  I feel the same way.

If Trump’s the nominee, I’ll vote for him – but I’m not going to walk through walls for him like I did in 2016 and 2020.  His personal attacks and trashing of DeSantis and conservative DeSantis supporters – not to mention conservatives who worked for him, such as Kaleigh Mcenany – has left a very bad taste in my mouth.

Grudem concludes by painting a picture of what the fall campaign will look like with and without Trump as the GOP nominee…

“If Donald Trump becomes the Republican candidate, the election will focus more on Trump than on the policies of the two parties. We will have endless media coverage of Trump’s trial, Trump’s lawyers, Trump’s friends and enemies, Trump’s health, Trump’s conduct on January 6 – and endless media delight in asking speculative questions such as: Could Trump actually go to jail?

“Because he is such a forceful personality, and because he is so controversial, and because any story about him attracts viewers and readers, all of the 2024 election season will be Trump, Trump, Trump stories all year long. Is this really what we want as a nation?

“But if Trump drops out and another Republican is nominated, the election will be much more about big issues facing the nation. The election will focus on inflation, taxes, securing the border, crime, support for police, school choice, Israel, Ukraine, our military preparedness, race relations, abortion, climate change, the role of judges, the Supreme Court, the national debt, etc. 

“And if the campaign is about issues, Republicans will likely win the presidency…”

For those who are firmly committed to voting for Trump, I understand and accept your decision.  For those who are firmly committed to DeSantis or one of the other candidates, I understand and accept your decision.

For those who are still on the fence and undecided, I hope the above helps you in your decision-making as we reach exactly one month before the actual casting of ballots begins.

And to end on a lighter note…

Laughter is Still the Best Medicine

A cardiologist died and was given an extravagant funeral. A huge heart, covered in flowers, was positioned behind the casket during the service.  Following the eulogy the heart opened up and the casket rolled inside and closed, sealing the doctor inside forever.

Then, one of the mourners burst into laughter.  When all eyes were staring at him, he said, “I’m sorry, I was just thinking of my own funeral.  I’m a gynecologist.”


“Hunter Biden has told friends that he might have to flee the country if Donald Trump is reelected, after already enduring months of deeply personal political attacks and mounting legal woes.” – Daily Mail, 12/14/23

Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views, and founder of  You can sign up for his conservative, Nevada-focused e-newsletter at  His views are his own.


This blog/website is written and paid for by…me, Chuck Muth, a United States citizen. I publish my opinions under the rights afforded me by the Creator and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as adopted by our Founding Fathers on September 17, 1787 at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania without registering with any government agency or filling out any freaking reports. And anyone who doesn’t like it can take it up with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and John Adams the next time you run into each other.

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