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OPINION

Donald Trump’s Paper Tiger Campaign Is Worried As Hell

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Charles Krupa

As a former president running again to try and retake his old position, Donald Trump should and does cast an imposing shadow over the Republican primary process. Poll after poll comparing him to his closest potential rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, shows seemingly overwhelming leads, with Trump taking well over half the GOP electorate and DeSantis struggling to reach into the 30s. 

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In other words, this should be a cakewalk for Trump, right? Lots of people believe it too. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and current pretend Arizona Gov. Kari Lake are already openly calling for a halt to the primary process so everyone can supposedly ‘rally ‘round’ the guy in what anyone but his most die-hard supporters knows will be a futile attempt to beat any Democratic nominee, whether that nominee turns out to be President Joe Biden or an actual eggplant.

Ironically, Trump winning the GOP primary has turned out to be a unifying issue among Democrats who want to face him and Republicans who understandably long for the good old days of 2016 and have been hoodwinked by Trump and his cronies into thinking he can somehow recreate them. Given the polling, isn’t this thing over? Hasn’t the fat lady already sung?

Before you dust off your old MAGA hat and start this circus all over again, I’d like to borrow the famous words of ESPN sports analyst Lee Corso - “Not so fast!” No, it’s not over. It’s not even close to over, despite what those in the Trump camp would have us believe. Not only is it still - checks calendar - Spring 2023, but Trump himself, by his actions just last week, would seem to beg to differ.

If Trump wasn’t at least a little concerned, would he have considered a visit to Tallahassee to try to personally convince the Florida legislature not to amend the state’s so-called “resign to run” law, which, if interpreted as Trump and his allies would like to interpret it (others interpret it differently), would supposedly make DeSantis resign his post before even running for POTUS? (The law was amended Friday and Trump never visited.)

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If Trump wasn’t at all worried, would he be openly stating his refusal to debate his primary opponents? He’s not a sitting president, and this isn’t a coronation. Primary debates are key events in any presidential election cycle and something countless voters very much look forward to as being a factor in their decision, so why would a candidate want to skip them? What is he afraid of? What do conservatives say when leftists try to stifle debate, and why should the fact that Trump is doing it make it any different?

If Trump thought DeSantis’ likely entry was going to be a cakewalk, why is he attempting to spin the fact that DeSantis’ fundraising has to this point been far more successful than his own into some sort of win? Hint: it isn’t a win, at all. Considering Trump’s historic stinginess with his own checkbook as well as the fact that someone in his position should have raised far more than he has to this point, it’s quite the opposite.

If Trump thought this race was over and wasn’t worried about DeSantis, why would he purposefully take the side of woke corporations like Disney over people on the ground actually taking scalps in the culture wars? Why would he and his surrogates consistently try to gaslight voters into believing that someone he used to consistently praise and admittedly helped with his initial success is somehow, without a shred of evidence, some sort of establishment neocon? And why would the real establishment neocons, like Nikki Haley and Asa Hutchinson, be openly attacking DeSantis and ignoring Trump? 

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Why does Trump spend so much time, energy, and ALL-CAPS TRUTH SOCIAL POSTS criticizing a man who hasn’t even officially entered the race yet, if the race is over and he isn’t worried? No, these aren’t the actions of a confident Alpha male, but rather those of a frightened, crying Beta. Consequently, we can only surmise that Donald Trump is, in fact, quite worried about the entry of Ron DeSantis and wants to avoid a one-on-one showdown at all costs.

I submit to you that the campaign of Donald Trump, despite his yuge lead in GOP primary polling, is, in fact, a paper tiger. It’s big, it’s intimidating, and it looks imposing, but a real candidate who punches it in the mouth will find success. Trump is struggling to bring in cash, and by the time the election gets in full swing he’ll be fighting criminal indictments on multiple fronts. It doesn’t matter whether they are justified or not, anyone in the legal arena will tell you that legal procedures, especially ones with freedom on the line, will drain anyone and will break many if not most. No, beating Trump in the primaries won’t be easy and it’s far from guaranteed, but it’s doable, and that’s the fact they are trying their dead level best with their Wizard of Oz machinations to keep from you.

Sure, Trump is leading in polling vs DeSantis, but if you look at almost all polling vs Biden, it’s DeSantis who wins and Trump who loses. If Trump is the nominee, anyone who knows anything about politics - even if they won’t yet admit it publicly - knows where this train ends for the GOP in November 2024 - to yet another devastating loss that likely takes the party’s House control along with it. Avoiding this outcome at all costs by taking on the paper tiger that is the campaign of Donald Trump is the most important thing any conservative can do right now, and Ron DeSantis is in the perfect position to pull it off.

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