Choosing between a Donald Trump or a Ron DeSantis presidency is a little like deciding which kidney to chisel out of your abdomen and toss onto the back patio for the dingoes. Either outcome would be painful beyond measure, but hey, if they can fatally wound each other during a knockdown, drag-out primary fight—well, let the games begin!

Back in the halcyon days of 2020, when gas prices were low enough to make self-immolation a far cheaper suicide method than simply living in Florida, Trump and DeSantis competed with each other over who could enact the most-medieval COVID-19 policies. DeSantis likely won, but only because Trump wasn’t in office long enough to make a parboiled lemur head director-for-life of the CDC.  

But now DeSantis—who’s a slightly more disciplined version of Trump, who in turn is a slightly more disciplined version of a drowning howler monkey—appears to be directly challenging his ocher overlord for the MAGA crown, and the OG shit-stirrer doesn’t like it one bit.

In a June 20 story on DeSantis’ ascendant political career, New Yorker staff writer Dexter Filkins noted that the Trump camp is none too pleased with the Sunshine State’s governor these days:

Trump told me that he was “very close to making a decision” about whether to run. “I don’t know if Ron is running, and I don’t ask him,” he said. “It’s his prerogative. I think I would win.” In nearly every poll of likely Republican contenders, Trump still has a solid advantage: DeSantis’s constituency was Trump’s first. Trump seems to want to keep it that way. A consultant who has worked for several Republican candidates said that the former President had talked with confidants about ways to stop DeSantis: “Trump World is working overtime to find ways to burn DeSantis down. They really hate him.”

Of course, trouble has ostensibly been brewing between DeSantis and Trump for some time. According to Filkins’ reporting, after Trump’s campaign took a well-deserved dirt nap, the famously insecure Trump feared that DeSantis would ultimately turn heel.

After Trump lost the Presidential election, he grew concerned that DeSantis no longer needed him. The following spring, Trump scheduled a rally in Sarasota—one of his first since losing—and invited DeSantis to join him onstage. People who know both men told me that DeSantis didn’t decline, but he didn’t confirm, either. “There were alarm bells ringing—will DeSantis appear?” a former Republican congressman told me. “Ron didn’t want to be onstage with Trump.” At the last minute, a condominium tower in Surfside collapsed, and nearly a hundred people were killed. DeSantis rushed to the scene and missed Trump’s speech. “I’ve never seen anyone use Trump for his own purposes, but Ron used Trump,” the former congressman said.

Granted, most of us wouldn’t need an elaborate excuse to avoid gulping the piquant yeti musk that orbits Trump like onion ring stink on a Sonic carhop’s uni, but a collapsed condo building is a pretty darn good one. 

The good news? Trump may ultimately decide that running for president again simply isn’t worth the trouble. The bad news? That would likely give DeSantis the inside track on the nomination—and he wouldn’t come with nearly as much derpy baggage as Trump.

But Trump may have good reasons to sit out the election. “He can do everything now that he could do when he was President, except shoot off missiles,” the consultant who knows both him and DeSantis said. “He’s making a lot of money. That’s the most important thing to him.” Without Trump in the primaries, DeSantis would likely have an immediate lead. A nationwide survey, conducted by the pollster Tony Fabrizio, suggests that thirty-nine per cent of Republican voters would support him; his nearest challenger is Mike Pence, with fifteen per cent.

Well, Pence isn’t winning shit, so consider me officially frightened out of my mind.

Any chance a WWE-style cage match could settle this? After all, that would still be more dignified than most GOP primaries.

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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