This move away from Trump comes as the Republican Party is actually gaining followers, presumably in reaction to the Biden presidency. Mike Allen of Axios points to a new Gallup Poll that more voters now identify as or lean toward Republicans than Democrats. Based on those two polls, it’s easy to extrapolate that observation that Republican enthusiasm for Trump has cooled while the affinity for Trumpism has increased. The Washington Post’s Jeremy B. Merrill and Drew Harwell provide another angle on the Trump decline. Pro-Trump influencers rushed to the right-leaning, social-media sites Parler, Gab, Rumble and Gettr last year after Big Tech snuffed Trump’s accounts. At first, the pro-Trump influencers gained followers, but then flatlined or declined, indicating that love of Trump might have peaked, too.
No full-frontal attack on Trump would peel off many voters for a Trump replacer. He’s still revered in many parts of the country where his red baseball cap, his flag and “Let’s Go Brandon” bumper stickers rule. But supreme political advantage would fall to DeSantis or some other well-armed Republican if they treaded softly into Trump territory and, speaking softly, thanked him for his service while explaining that the time has come to look ahead, not back.
Trump without Trump. His policies without the ugly baggage that comes with him. If DeSantis executes a gentlemanly turn on his former inspiration, the Trump legacy could be his.