Florida governor Ron DeSantis has sounded the alarm over Donald Trump’s chances in the 2024 election.
Speaking to conservative radio host Steve Deace in his first interview since dropping out of the Republican primary, Mr DeSantis said he saw a “lack of enthusiasm” among GOP voters in the Iowa caucuses last week and that declining appeal among moderates is “a huge warning sign” for the Republican Party’s 2024 hopes.
“When I have people come up to me who voted for Reagan in ’76 and have been conservative their whole life say that they don’t want to vote for Trump again, that’s a problem,” Mr DeSantis said. “So he’s got to figure out a way to solve that. I think there’s an enthusiasm problem overall, and then I also just think there are some voters that have checked out at this point that you got to find a way to get them back.”
Turnout in the Iowa caucuses was much lower than in 2016, with just 110,000 people turning out to vote, compared to 187,000 people eight years ago.
An arctic blast that hit much of the US this month was partially to blame, with temperatures reaching as low as -35F in Iowa, and the National Weather Service warning that the “life-threatening” temperatures could cause frostbite in just ten minutes.
But Mr DeSantis had a different explanation, blaming the “corporate media” who he claimed made Mr Trump’s victory in Iowa, where he lost to the former president by about 30 points before suspending his campaign, look “inevitable”.
“I think that was part of the reason why the turnout was low, because people had been told it’s a fait accompli, Trump’s up so much in the polls, he’s got the nomination,” Mr DeSantis said. “And I think they’re just like, ‘You know what, we’re doing this again’, and they’re checked out.”
The Florida Governor went on to predict that New Hampshire’s primary would not have the record turnout that’s been predicted – except among “more liberal voters”.
The New Hampshire primary, which took place on Tuesday, saw a record turnout, with around 300,000 turning out to vote – higher than the record number who turned out in 2016, according to CBS News.
While the final margin is still unclear, Mr Trump is currently beating his only opponent, Nikki Haley, by 11 per cent in the New Hampshire primary, according to The New York Times, with 54 per cent of the vote compared to Ms Haley’s 43 per cent.
Despite her projected loss, Ms Haley has vowed to stay in the race – something that has got under the skin of her opponent.
In his victory speech on Tuesday evening, the former US president hit out at Ms Haley as an “imposter” who’s still “hanging around” despite failing to secure a win in New Hampshire.
He also pointed out that she finished behind Mr DeSantis in Iowa, who dropped out of the race on Sunday and endorsed the former president, despite campaigning against him.