When Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone, a known campaign donor to the Republican Party, stated that he would not support Donald Trump’s 2024 reelection bid, some analysts understood that, at least in part of the community, he was a wing of rejection of the former US president. The statement came a day after the magnate made official his intention to return to the White House and try to become the second president to serve in two non-consecutive terms after Grover Cleveland.
What seemed unthinkable years ago is seen as an increasingly real possibility today. While there are discrepancies in the political reading of the event, the fact that Ivanka Trump is distancing herself from her father’s 2024 campaign fuels the idea for some analysts that no can be said to Trump. A fact that contributes to the hard-fought midterm elections, where a Republican “red wave” was expected that did not come, as well as the emergence of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, which looms as a serious rival for the presidential election .
“It’s time for the Republican Party to turn to a new generation of leaders, and I intend to support one of them in the presidential primaries.” With those words, Blackstone group founder Stephen Schwarzman confirmed he would not donate to the Trump campaign, Axios said Wednesday.
The name may not ring a bell to outsiders of the former president’s party, but he is one of the Republicans’ top backers. In the recent midterm elections alone, it has paid out more than $35 million to candidates and active party groups, according to OpenSecrets, a nonprofit organization that tracks contributions to politicians.
So assured William B. Allen, an academic at Michigan State University Third that “Ivanka Trump’s withdrawal should be seen as something personal and not a political rift. The departure of donors, however, reflects a growing sense that Trump’s moment has passed and that he is likely putting the brakes on the Republicans’ chances of success.”
The leader of Blackstone, a former Trump ally, said that “America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday.” And he wasn’t the only donor to step aside.
Ken Griffin, founder of the American multinational hedge fund and financial services firm Citadel, as well as another of the party’s mega-donors, also pulled out of Trump’s new political adventure. As reported by Politico, Griffin announced that he would support DeSantis if he submitted his candidacy by 2024. A spokesman for the Lauder cosmetics heir, another major donor among Republicans, confirmed to CNN that the businessman will not contribute to the campaign.
“The ‘never Trump’ faction remains negligible in terms of votes. But a much larger number of Republicans who believe Trump has done well as president are now willing to support another candidate,” Allen told this outlet.
A similar analysis was made by Clyde Wilcox, a professor of government at Georgetown University. “I think among the elites – the Republican donors and officials – the opposition to Trump is pretty strong. But he remains popular among primary voters. That’s why you see editorials and statements like ‘he’s been a great president, but it’s time to turn the page,'” he told Third.
This does not mean that the huge treasury required to mobilize a campaign has been greatly compromised. Moreover, Trump’s ambitious election machine, which relies on small donors, is one of the most formidable in recent years. In fact, he never stopped fundraising after leaving the White House, and his string of political committees has amassed more than $100 million in cash reserves, according to CNN.
The division within the Republican Party is not limited to the economic factor. Those who were once staunch allies of Trump now appear to openly criticize him. The New York Post, a New York tabloid controlled by media magnate Rupert Murdoch, seems to have left those days behind for good.
When Trump announced his intention to run for president, the outlet headlined with an acid “Been there, Don That”, making a pun between the saying been there, done that (been there, done that) and the name of the tycoon. In contrast, when DeSantis was re-elected as governor of Florida, the tabloid’s front page ran a somewhat biased “the future”.
This weekend, the governor will address one of the Republican Party’s largest donor groups at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual gala dinner. While there is still no clarity on his electoral future, analysts agree that at least DeSantis is a serious card to face Trump.
For Allen: “DeSantis’ fame is a result of his success in Florida, both politically and administratively. His proven appeal to Latino voters bodes well for Republicans’ national outreach. There is no major division among Republicans, but there is a growing realization that a candidate other than Trump does not necessarily mean losing support from Trump voters,” he explained.
Jonathan Benjamin Chait, an American columnist and writer for New York Magazine, said in the same newspaper that before the 2016 election, “Trump leaving required siding with the Democrats”, which didn’t leave Republican voters much room to maneuver. . “However, being against Trump now means standing with DeSantis. (…) The governor has support from the entire Republican base, including the far right,” he added.
Wilcox agreed with the analysis, going further, assuring that “many Republicans believe (Trump) would lose again and drive the party down further, so they want him not to run or not to win. But many see DeSantis as populist and right-wing like Trump, only smarter and more effective.”