ORLANDO, Florida – Almost four months after losing the 2020 election, Donald J. Trump was able to celebrate again as the winner on Sunday after winning the President’s straw poll of the Conservative Political Action Conference 2024 during Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida He finished a second straw poll in 2024, which covered a field of potential candidates in which Mr. Trump was not represented.
But in surprising, dejected news for Mr Trump, only 68 percent of conference attendees said they wanted the former president to run again in 2024. Far more attendees, 95 percent, said they wanted the Republican Party to move Lord forward. Trump’s politics and agenda then got him going again, even if the mere mention of Mr. Trump’s name during the three-day meeting of activists received loud applause.
The straw polls, conducted by secret ballot, reflected the views of Current and former elected officials, activists, writers and others who attended the three-day conference – a group that generally represents the far right wing of the Republican Party and now includes a disproportionate number of Trump’s most ardent supporters.
The former president had thoroughly dominated the Orlando weekend meeting – a giant gold replica of him was a major attraction for activists – and the organizers of the event, better known as the CPAC, put together two straw polls to assess the president’s next field, whether Mr. Trump is running or not.
Mr Trump had 55 percent of the vote in the straw poll he took part in. Mr DeSantis was the only Republican to hit double-digit numbers with 21 percent support in the straw poll that Mr Trump took. The results were presented by Jim McLaughlin, a pollster for Mr. Trump who conducted the survey for CPAC.
Throughout the weekend, many of the CPAC spokespersons, especially other potential Republican candidates for 2024, had greeted Mr. Trump and supported his successes with a loud ovation on Friday and Saturday.
“Donald J. Trump is not going anywhere,” said Senator Ted Cruz of Texas on Friday to thunderous applause.
The results were released on Sunday afternoon just before Mr Trump appeared on the CPAC to deliver the first speech of his post-presidency.
The top result for Mr. DeSantis on the straw poll without Mr. Trump is a boost to his stance as a leading Republican in the post-Trump era. As governor of the crucial swing state Florida (which is now also home to Mr. Trump), Mr. DeSantis has become a popular figure among science-skeptical Republicans for his opposition to Covid-related lockdowns.
His speech on Friday captures the current post-political phase of republicanism. “We can sit around and have academic debates on conservative politics, we can,” he said. “But the question is when the klieg lights get hot when the left comes after you: will you stay strong or will you fold?”
Mr. DeSantis also vowed never to return to “yesterday’s failed republican establishment”. Mr DeSantis, like other potential presidential candidates, has failed to indicate whether he actually plans to run for the Republican White House nomination in 2024.
He earned 43 percent in the straw poll without Mr. Trump, Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota came second with 11 percent.
The CPAC straw polls have not proven to be particularly informative for future presidential candidates. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul won three straight wins in the lead up to the 2016 primary, which he quit after a poor performance in a competition called the Iowa Caucuses. Utah Senator Mitt Romney won four CPAC straw polls (2007, 2008, 2009, and 2012), but now it’s a character whose name has caused a stir and ridicule as one of Mr. Trump’s fiercest Republican critics.
Nevertheless, the success of the beginning of 2021 for Mr. DeSantis gives him a bigger platform and brags about rights for a party that continues to seek an identity that will not remain true to Mr. Trump.
The result of the straw poll was likely disheartening for former Vice President Mike Pence, who was absent from the conference. He had served as Trump’s loyal number 2 for four years, but his unwillingness to question or dismiss the 2020 election results earned him the anger of Mr Trump and, in turn, that of many Republicans. Mr. Pence received one percent of the CPAC vote.