Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has long been the most formidable potential challenger to former President Donald Trump, but former Republican strategist Rick Wilson believes that the 2024 Republican primary is already over.
In a new essay, Wilson writes that DeSantis has been getting "nuked into a radioactive puddle by MAGA" in the wake of his attempt to walk back a widely criticized statement that the war in Ukraine was simply a "territorial dispute" between two foreign countries with little of strategic interest to the United States.
"Candidate quality matters, and Ron DeSantis is shaping up to be an average to poor example of the class," writes Wilson. "By last night, DeSantis had to face the stark 2024 reality that he was the exception to a political rule as old as time; for almost all campaigns, the easiest and best day is the first day of the campaign."
As for the rest of the contenders against Trump in 2024, Wilson thinks even less of their chances and capabilities.
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"Here’s what happens next for the rest of the field; disaster," he writes. "They’re not raising small-dollar money, and the establishment cash, the Wall Street banking and hedge fund bros, and the Silicon Valley Thiel claque are all-in on DeSantis."
Wilson says that this could have been different if any Republican candidate had the courage to attack Trump and relentlessly hammer him from the get go.
However, that the strategy they've chosen to take.
"Not one candidate in this field has learned the most basic rule; once you hit Trump, you can never, ever, ever stop," he concludes. "Once you attack, that’s all you do until Trump is defeated. Not one of them can sustain it."