Former President Donald Trump announced Nov. 15 that he’s taking another shot at the presidency in 2024.
Much of the Republican business establishment has abandoned its support for former President Donald Trump.
And now you can add Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of private equity titan Blackstone, to the list. He donated $3.7 million during Trump’s first term to committees that supported the controversial president.
But a day after Trump announced he is diving in the presidential race for 2024, Schwarzman announced he won’t be along for the ride.
“America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday,” Schwarzman said in a statement. “It is 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.”
Ken Griffin is another GOP business luminary who is ditching trump. The chief executive of renowned alternative investment firm Citadel donated $5 million to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ re-election campaign. DeSantis will likely be Trump’s main Republican competitor.
Griffin: GOP Should ‘Move on’
“I’d like to think that the Republican party is ready to move on from somebody who has been for this party a three-time loser,” Griffin said, according to Bloomberg.
He was referring to the Republican Party’s poor performance in the 2018 mid-term elections, Trump’s own defeat in the 2020 presidential election, and the GOP’s worse-than-expected performance in the just-completed mid-terms.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk is another DeSantis supporter, although it appears he didn’t even vote for Trump.
It will be interesting to see what other big Republican donors will do. Some of them, cited by The New York Times, include:
Richard Uihlein, chief executive of Uline, a big distributor of shipping, packaging, and industrial supplies;Jeffrey Yass, co-founder of proprietary trading firm Susquehanna International Group; andLarry Ellison, founder and co-chairman of software giant Oracle.
If you’re wondering how important donations are to political candidates, 96% of U.S. House races in the mid-term elections were won by the candidate that spent the most money, according to Open Secrets.
Can Trump Win in 2024?
So does Trump have any chance of winning in 2024?
He certainly has a chance to gain the Republican nomination. Polls show Trump ahead of DeSantis. But the Florida governor is closing in fast.
A survey from Morning Consult in the days preceding the mid-term elections (Nov. 2-7) showed Trump leading DeSantis 48% to 26% in a hypothetical match-up. Just three months earlier, Trump led 57% to 18%.
DeSantis, whom Trump recently dubbed “De-Sanctimonious,” likely gained further ground in the wake of his blowout re-election win in the mid-terms.
So Trump will have to keep a tight lock on his base of largely disaffected white males to fight back the DeSantis challenge. Republican pollsters estimate that 30% to 40% of Republican voters are dedicated Trump supporters.
That amount could be more significant than it appears, as Trump won multiple primaries in 2016 with less than 40% of the vote.