For a significant portion of the Republican Party, Donald Trump still runs the show.
Despite President Joe Biden’s Justice Department and the FBI, and despite the likelihood of party dissension leading into the primaries of 2024, the 45th president continues to be the Republican Party’s most popular candidate.
And Saturday’s findings from the Conservative Political Action Conference demonstrated that it is not even close.
According to Fox News, of the more than 2,000 people who participated in the straw poll at the annual CPAC conference in Oxon Hill, Maryland, Trump received 62 percent of the vote.
In comparison, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis received only 20% of the vote. DeSantis has not yet formally declared his candidacy and was absent from the CPAC gathering.
Fox reports that Michigan businessman Perry Johnson finished third with 5 percent. According to the Associated Press, Johnson only launched his quest for the GOP nomination on Thursday, hours after appearing at CPAC.
According to the Washington Examiner, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and former pharmaceutical CEO Vivek Ramswamy rounded out the top five. For the ethnic bean counters on the left, this means that two descendants of Indian immigrants are in the running for the Republican nomination for president: a man and a woman.
Haley and Ramaswamy addressed the CPAC crowd before to Saturday’s election. DeSantis completely skipped CPAC in favor of a conservative Club for Growth convention in Palm Beach, Florida. (According to Fox, the fact that Trump was not invited to Club for Growth is an indication of the party’s divides.)
Trump has been the preeminent contender at CPAC for years, but the findings of this year’s survey are remarkable because they come after a year of escalating harassment by the ostensibly impartial DOJ.
Not only did the duplicitous Attorney General Merrick Garland authorize the FBI raid on President Trump’s home in South Florida’s Mar-a-Lago Club in August, but his Justice Department claimed just last week that Trump could be charged with “incitement to violence” for a speech he delivered on the day of the Capitol invasion on January 6, 2021, while he was still president.
In a Thursday post for National Review, Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who is not a Trump fan, demolished this notion. McCarthy is not a Trump supporter.
Fox reported that Kari Lake, the Arizona Republican governor candidate who is contesting the November election results in the state’s Supreme Court, was the frontrunner for vice presidential selection with 20 percent of the CPAC vote.
14 percent of those questioned ranked DeSantis as their second choice for vice president, but only those who had recently heard Trump’s remarks about the Florida governor would anticipate such ticket in 2024.
For Lake, the situation is unique. She has been a fervent Trump supporter when she first began seeking for government. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with how events unfolded in Arizona on Election Day is aware that the outrageous failures of the voting machines in Arizona’s largest county — failures that harmed Lake and benefited her Democratic opponent, current Governor Katie Hobbs — were more than a little bit strange.
But, the Arizona Supreme Court has not yet accepted her appeal, and if it does, it is unlikely that it will truly “set aside” the November results and order a new election, as Lake requests.
In other words, Lake might very well have time on her hands for the 2024 election, and if Trump gets the GOP nomination for president in 2024, she would make a powerful running mate.
In addition to geographical balance — an eastern candidate with a western running mate — both Trump and Lake are adept at engaging the mainstream media in battle (a talent DeSantis shares).
Each is media-savvy (Lake was an Arizona television anchorwoman before getting into politics).
And both speak directly to the core of conservative aspirations for the nation and disappointments with the “woke” society of today (as does DeSantis).
A scenario in which a revitalized Trump ran for president with Lake as his running mate would be a strong movement for Republicans, in contrast to the senile Joe Biden and the continuously incompetent Kamala Harris or whatever else Democrats can find to run with “the big guy.”
The mainstream media, the Democratic Party, the “deep state” operatives in the federal bureaucracy, and the nation’s increasingly dubious “intelligence” agencies would love nothing more than to pronounce the 45th president of the United States politically deceased.
Yet, it was not a ghost that won the CPAC poll. And it is not a ghost that controls a significant portion of the Republican Party.
This is Donald Trump, and in March 2023, the Republican Party will still be Trump’s show.