Trump Emerges as Uncontested Favorite Over DeSantis Among Turning Point Action’s Student Activists

by Sophia Chen
GOP 2024 presidential nomination

A year ago, the student activists who convened at the annual Turning Point Action summit in Florida were divided, grappling with the question of who could lead the Republican Party in 2024 – former President Donald Trump or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Fast forward to today, and the sentiment has decidedly shifted. Attendees at the current year’s meeting vehemently dismissed the idea of a contested GOP primary, giving Trump their resounding endorsement.

Sky Sanchez, a 21-year-old student from Durham, North Carolina, who volunteered at the conference, said, “Definitely Trump. I don’t think anyone else stands a chance.”

Soren Nielsen, an 18-year-old student from near Ann Arbor, Michigan, had once considered DeSantis, concerned that Trump’s momentum was waning after a less-than-stellar Republican performance in the previous year’s midterm elections. However, as Trump revitalized his campaign and DeSantis floundered, Nielsen’s views shifted.

Nielsen noted, “I started realizing that his campaign wasn’t as successful as I’d initially thought. And he doesn’t have the stamina, like Trump does, to win a general election.”

The sentiments at the conference give an insight into broader GOP dynamics six months before voting commences. Although DeSantis was previously seen as a credible threat to Trump’s party dominance, his campaign has struggled to ignite. This weekend, it confirmed laying off several staff due to budget concerns, while polls show Trump leading by 20 to 30 points or more, even in the wake of criminal indictments that appeared to bolster his popularity.

Last year, both Trump and DeSantis participated in the Turning Point Student Action Summit held in Tampa. This year, however, DeSantis and other top-tier candidates opted out, resulting in the event turning into a full-blown Trump rally. This attracted a host of notable figures from Trump’s circle, including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Roger Stone, and Donald Trump Jr.

Trump drew thunderous applause as he ridiculed DeSantis’ campaign, labeling it a “hopeless cause” that only served to divide the party and waste resources.

Of those 2024 GOP candidates who did attend, several received chilly receptions. Criticism of Trump, such as that by former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, was met with boos and crowd chants of Trump’s name. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez faced jeers and accusations of being a “RINO” — Republican In Name Only — and a “Traitor.”

When former Fox News host Megyn Kelly suggested that the primary was a two-horse race between Trump and DeSantis, the crowd’s response was angry.

“I think they prefer Trump, Megyn,” replied Turning Point’s founder, Charlie Kirk.

In fact, an informal poll found that almost 86% of attendees preferred Trump for President. Vivek Ramaswamy, a millionaire tech entrepreneur who has not criticized Trump, was the second pick for 51% of respondents.

The exhibition hall was filled with MAGA merchandise, including purses adorned with Trump’s name in rhinestones. DeSantis’ decision not to attend drew ire from attendees and organizers, considering his history with Turning Point.

DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin said the governor had been busy engaging with Iowans and addressing a packed house at the Tennessee GOP Statesman Dinner. “Ron DeSantis is campaigning to win,” he asserted.

Critics of DeSantis cited comments on Ukraine and perceived establishment ties. Alan Pincus, a congressional candidate and attendee at the event, accused DeSantis of disloyalty for daring to challenge Trump. Jasmin Rodriguez, an attendee from Harker Heights, Texas, admired DeSantis’ work in Florida but was disappointed in his decision to run.

“Wait your turn,” she said, suggesting that he should have considered running in 2028 or serving as Trump’s vice president. Now, she feels, that bridge has been burned.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about GOP 2024 presidential nomination

Q: What was the preference of student activists at the Turning Point Action summit regarding the GOP 2024 presidential nomination?

A: The majority of student activists at the summit overwhelmingly favored former President Donald Trump over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the GOP 2024 presidential nomination.

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PoliticalJunkie July 18, 2023 - 4:42 am

The preference for Trump among these student activists reflects the enduring support he has within the Republican Party. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the 2024 presidential race. #Trump2024

Sarah22 July 18, 2023 - 1:29 pm

This text shows how the Turning Point Action summit was all about Trump. DeSantis got booed, and Trump was the star of the show. Trump’s still the man!


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