Did This Move Eliminate Ron DeSantis from the 2024 Race?

During the inaugural 2024 Republican primary debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the spotlight turned to the eight GOP candidates present. Notably absent was Donald Trump, who declined to participate, referencing his significant lead in the polls. The crux of the evening came when each candidate was posed a question about their allegiance to the former president.

Fox News anchor and debate facilitator, Bret Baier, queried the attendees, "You all signed a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee. If former President Trump is convicted in a court of law, would you still champion him as your party's pick? Please raise your hand if you concur."

The atmosphere was palpable as the contenders mulled over their answer. Amidst them, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis glanced at his peers before signaling his agreement to back Trump, even if a criminal conviction was on the horizon. This revelation emphasizes DeSantis's struggle to bridge the gap in primary polls where Trump enjoys a substantial advantage. For DeSantis to have a chance at securing the GOP nomination, it's crucial for him to appeal to a considerable portion of MAGA enthusiasts and potentially change their loyalty.

Did this move eliminate DeSantis from the race? It showed weakness on his behalf when answering a question he clearly should have been prepared for. Instead of responding himself, he looked to see what the other candidates were doing and copied.

Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy was quick to raise his hand, shortly joined by ex-South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, and North Dakota's Governor Doug Burgum.

DeSantis, often perceived as Trump's primary competition within the GOP and a frequent target of Trump's critiques and jests, surveyed his fellow contenders on either side before he too signaled his affirmation.

The last to respond was Former Vice President Mike Pence. His bond with Trump fractured post the January 6 incident, and having contributed evidence to Special Counsel Jack Smith's inquiry into the alleged efforts to challenge the 2020 election outcome, he eventually joined the others in raising his hand.

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