According to a column by longtime political observer Jonathan Chait, it would be in Donald Trump's best interests to make peace --and work out a deal -- with Gov. Ron DeSantis if the Florida Republican comes from behind and wins the Republican Party 2024 presidential nomination.
With the two GOP heavyweights headed for a showdown now that the midterms are past and the field for 2024 shapes up, there have been concerns among some Republicans that the former president, should he not win the nomination, would run as an independent, thus making it almost impossible for DeSantis to win with a fractured electorate.
As Chait notes, despite the former president's well-established history of narcissism and score-settling, Trump is also pragmatic when it comes to his financial well-being and staying out of jail.
That is where a President DeSantis, buoyed by a full-throated endorsement from Trump, could come into play.
"I have seen commentators treat it as something like a certainty that would doom a Ron DeSantis or any other non-Trump alternative," Chait wrote. "But I think this idea misunderstands both Trump and the incentive structure of the Republican Party... it would be uncharacteristic for Trump to allow his grudges to get in the way of his clear self-interest. Trump does lash out wildly at anybody who disrespects him, but he also turns on a dime and makes friends with his former enemies... What interests would Trump have in common with DeSantis?"
"DeSantis could offer Trump legal protection — either pardons or immunity from additional prosecution," he proposed. "Second, DeSantis already commands a massive fundraising network, and as the Republican nominee, he would hold enormous power over various revenue streams around the party, ranging from its scam PACs to its media outlets. DeSantis would be in a position to make sure Trump is very well compensated in return for an endorsement."
According to Chait, it would be in the best interests of all parties to bury the hatchet after a brutal primary season, writing, "The breach between Trump and his former loyalists is not nearly as deep as it may appear at the moment. They have every incentive to play up their differences now, and they may even believe what they’re saying. But their common interests will eventually win out over whatever antagonism may develop."
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