Although he hasn't announced yet, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was increasingly being seen as a formidable opponent for Donald Trump in a potential 2024 matchup. But on Tuesday, in the run-up to his indictment for his hush money payment scheme by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the former president's poll numbers were looking a little healthier against DeSantis.
In the wake of Trump's indictment, DeSantis took to Twitter and slammed the news as a "weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda."
"The Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney has consistently bent the law to downgrade felonies and to excuse criminal misconduct. Yet, now he is stretching the law to target a political opponent," DeSantis wrote.
According to New York Magazine's Ed Kilgore, DeSantis' tweet shows he has fully embraced Trump World's cries of a "witch hunt" and has "reduced the big brawling bully who has terrorized LGBTQ+ kids, teachers, and racial-justice advocates to what Trump has always contemptuously labeled him: a 'dull' dude who would be nothing without Donald J. Trump."
"The odds seem very high that the indictment and the subsequent drama of Trump’s arrest will give him another bump in the GOP-primary polls, adding to the perception that he’s the front-runner," Kilgore writes, adding that if DeSantis "is perceived to be losing ground, he could become a secondary figure in his own long-awaited campaign launch, as pundits wonder aloud what happened to the politician who seemed poised to dispatch Trump not too long ago."
The image of Trump being persecuted could become even stronger as other potential indictments related to ongoing investigations against him could materialize. "Trump could frame this as a steadily growing storm of “persecution” that just proves globalists, RINOs, criminal coddlers, and baby killers fear him," writes Kilgore, who speculates that such developments could cause DeSantis to rethink his plans entirely, since he's only 44-year-old and could conceivably postpone a run at the White House for a later cycle.
"...if DeSantis is in danger of being completely eclipsed by a resurgent Trump, that is doubly true of Pence, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Glenn Youngkin, and anyone else seeking to struggle out of the low single digits in the polls."
Read the full article over at NYMag.