Trump has countered by citing a particular stat over and over: he actually got more votes in Florida than DeSantis did. But of all the electability counterarguments he could be making against DeSantis, this is probably the weakest and most misleading, wrote Aaron Blake for The Washington Post on Thursday.
"'[S]houldn’t it be said that in 2020, I got 1.1 Million more votes in Florida than Ron D got this year, 5.7 Million to 4.6 Million? Just asking?' Trump wrote on Truth Social on Nov. 9.
Blake reported: "By February, the claim was adjusted upward, with Trump claiming he 'got 1.2 Million Votes MORE than Ron DeSanctimonious in the Great State of Florida.' At a dinner in Florida in April: 'We did much better in 2020 in Florida. I got 1.2 million more votes than your successful governor’s campaign.' Two weeks ago: 'I got 1.2 million more votes than he did.' Last week: 'I got 1.2 Million more votes in Florida than DeSanctus.' And this week: 'p.s. I got 1.2 Million more votes in Florida than Ron, a little reported fact!'"
In fact, wrote Blake, that statistic is "wholly unsurprising" — and doesn't really mean anything.
"Because, of course, voter turnout is higher in presidential elections," wrote Blake. "Virtually every presidential nominee will get significantly more votes than a gubernatorial candidate running in a midterm two years before or after, because lots more people are voting.
"Trump’s edge sounds like a lot because there are a lot of people and a lot of voters in Florida. For example, while Trump had 1.055 million more votes than DeSantis, President Biden actually won 2.2 million more votes than DeSantis’s Democratic opponent in 2022, Charlie Crist — 5.3 million to 3.1 million."
In light of that, Blake wrote, Trump's performance of 1.1 million more votes than DeSantis is actually "rather underwhelming." It's actually less of a difference as a percentage of registered voters than most other competitive states in 2020 that had a gubernatorial election in 2022.
Naturally, though, Blake concluded, none of the real facts matter to Trump. "As it almost always is with Trump, it’s about muddying the waters — this time regarding what is arguably DeSantis’s best argument for securing the 2024 GOP nomination: electability," he concluded. "And right now, Trump is succeeding in doing that."