Ron DeSantis’s Struggles in Bid for 2024 Presidential Nomination: Trailing Trump, Facing Challenges with Latino Voters, and Declining Influence

Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor of Florida, is facing significant challenges in his bid for the 2024 presidential nomination. Recent polls show that he is trailing former President Donald Trump by double digits among Republican voters.[0] Trump holds a commanding 44-point lead in the RealClearPolitics polling average.[1] This significant gap in support has raised doubts about DeSantis’s ability to secure the nomination.

One of the reasons for DeSantis’s struggle is his lack of popularity among Latino voters. While there was a shift towards Republicans among Latinos in Florida between 2020 and 2022, it is unclear whether this can be attributed to DeSantis or other factors.[2] Florida’s Hispanic population is unique, consisting mostly of people of Cuban, Puerto Rican, and South American descent, who may have different political priorities.[2] Additionally, turnout disparities between Hispanic Democrats and Hispanic Republicans played a role in DeSantis’s success with Latinos in 2022.[3]

It is important to note that Hispanic voters are not a monolithic group, especially in South Florida. Political preferences can vary widely based on factors such as generation, country of origin, and length of time spent in the US.[2] Historically, Cubans and Venezuelans in South Florida have leaned Republican, while other Latino groups have leaned Democratic.[2] However, there has been a rightward swing among Latinos nationally, with Hispanic support for Democrats decreasing from 71% in 2016 to 62% in both 2020 and 2022.[3]

Critics of DeSantis have also pointed out his lack of charisma and awkwardness, which they believe has hindered his appeal to voters. In response, DeSantis has dismissed these criticisms as “manufactured” and claimed that he could serve two terms as president, unlike Trump, who would be a “lame duck on day one.”[4] He also highlighted his performance in the Florida gubernatorial race, suggesting that he outperformed Trump in the 2020 election.[4]

However, DeSantis’s struggles on the campaign trail have not gone unnoticed. Interviews with lobbyists, political consultants, and lawmakers reveal that his presidential candidacy has eroded his influence in Florida.[5] There is a growing expectation that his campaign will end in failure, and some within his party are already welcoming his downfall.[6] The state Republican Party recently rescinded a loyalty pledge that would have required GOP primary candidates to endorse the eventual Republican nominee, a move made at the request of Trump supporters and against DeSantis’s wishes.[7]

DeSantis’s declining influence is also evident in his strained relationship with the state legislature. Lawmakers and consultants have described him as inaccessible and compared him to the “Wizard of Oz” behind the curtain.[7] There is a sense that his power is fading, and many are waiting for him to drop out of the presidential race.

In addition to his political challenges, DeSantis is facing legal battles over the state’s voter registration laws. Lawsuits allege that the voter registration form lacks eligibility requirements for those with criminal convictions and creates confusion for voter registration organizations.[8] The lawsuits also target barriers against groups staging voter registration drives, including fines for late filing and restrictions on retaining registration information.[8]

Overall, Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign is facing significant obstacles. His trailing poll numbers, lack of support among Latino voters, and strained relationships within his own party and the state legislature raise doubts about his viability as a candidate. The legal challenges to Florida’s voter registration laws further complicate his political future. As DeSantis’s influence wanes, the political landscape in Florida is likely to undergo significant changes.

0. “Ron DeSantis polling at record low as Donald Trump reaches all-time high” Sky News Australia, 21 Sep. 2023,

1. “Ron DeSantis slams ‘bogus’ and ‘manufactured’ criticism he is ‘stiff’ and ‘awkward’ when Fox News anchor asks” Daily Mail, 18 Sep. 2023,

2. “How did Florida become a red state?”, 18 Sep. 2023,

3. “Ron DeSantis probably didn’t turn Florida red” ABC News, 11 Sep. 2023,

4. “DeSantis rattles off laundry list of reasons he’s better than Trump” The Independent, 21 Sep. 2023,

5. “Pretty Much Everyone Hates Ron DeSantis Now” Yahoo News, 22 Sep. 2023,

6. “DeSantis’ influence nosedives in Florida – POLITICO” POLITICO, 22 Sep. 2023,

7. “Ron DeSantis’s Grip on Florida Is Slipping: Report” Vanity Fair, 22 Sep. 2023,

8. “Under DeSantis, FL has become the bellwether state for voter disenfranchisement” Colorado Newsline, 18 Sep. 2023,

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