David Brooks: For GOP, the Choice Isn't 'Trump or DeSantis'

It's between them and what he sees as a saner branch of the party
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2023 11:30 AM CDT
David Brooks: Trump, DeSantis May Both Be in Trouble
Then-President Trump talks to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a visit to Lake Okeechobee and Herbert Hoover Dike at Canal Point, Fla., in 2019.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Conventional wisdom at the moment says the GOP 2024 race will boil down to former President Trump vs. Ron DeSantis. Or as New York Times columnist David Brooks describes it, a race "between populist Tweedledum and populist Tweedledee." Brooks doesn't see much difference between them—both are angry, "bellicose," and obsessed with culture wars and retribution, in his view. However, he does see a contrast between them and another branch of the GOP, one represented by governors of "growing, prospering states." Here, he mentions Brian Kemp of Georgia, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire. In his political shorthand, Brooks likens the two camps to the "combative populism of Huey Long" vs. the "optimism" of FDR.

Brooks writes that the "Republican donor class" is actively trying to stop Trump, and he expresses skepticism that DeSantis—"a guy with a small, insular circle of advisers and limited personal skills"—can triumph. "The conclusion I draw is that the Trump-DeSantis duopoly is unstable and represents a wing of the party many people are getting sick of." That could mean that one of the aforementioned governors, or perhaps Sen. Tim Scott, might be encouraged to run. But something has to give, writes Brooks: "The elemental truth is that the Republican Party is like a baseball team that has tremendous talent in the minor leagues and a star pitcher who can’t throw strikes or do his job." Read the full column. (More Election 2024 stories.)

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