Live from Music Row, Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed national political correspondent for One America NewsNeil W. McCabe, to the newsmaker line to weigh in on the big win for DeSantis over Crist and whether or not Trump will announce his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election on Tuesday.

Leahy: On the newsmaker line, our very good friend, Top Gov tracker Neil W. McCabe who reports on everything. Ron DeSantis from Florida for One America News Network. Well, Neil, a good night for Ron DeSantis last night.

McCabe: That was the largest margin of victory for any Florida governor since the Reconstruction.

Leahy: It was a stomping 19.4 percent victory over Charlie Crist.

McCabe: And it was just overwhelming. And the thing is that DeSantis did it by running and governing as a conservative, and it was unreal because he took on the woke corporations, he took on the woke prosecutors, he took on the left-wing teachers and the groomers – all of the people that the Republican National Committee says we need to get along with or we need to understand them better if we’re going to win. And DeSantis just did the opposite. He literally flipped the script and won huge.

Leahy: It was a red wave in Florida, a red trickle in the rest of the country. In fact, it looks like it’ll be a plus-10, maybe plus-11, maybe plus-15 for the Republicans in the House. They will narrowly take the House. The Senate could go back to 50-50, maybe 51-49 GOP.

Almost all of Donald Trump’s handpicked candidates have not done well. The only exception to that, J.D. Vance. Will Donald Trump make a change and not make an announcement that he’s going to run for president this coming Tuesday? What are your thoughts on that?

McCabe: Well, every week I’ve read an article that said Donald Trump is finished, for the last five years. And I remember in 2015 reading an article where they said, this guy is done. He’s spent. This guy is not going away.

And until the Republican establishment figures out a way to get along and work with this guy, it has to be resolved. The other thing I want to say is that conservatives once again were told to shut up and let the fancy people handle things.

Before Labor Day, the Republican Party abandoned the advocates for the unborn, abandoned gun rights and gun owners, and they basically said, we’re going to run on economics.

How many times have I been told we have to ignore social issues? And anything that the private groups did on the cultural and social issues was successful. But anything coming out of the Republican National Committee or any of those national committees, all it was is inflation, inflation, inflation, gas prices, and crime.

They didn’t talk about trends. They didn’t talk about your kids being groomed. They didn’t go after the teachers. What are you going to do? The Republican Party is a party that is split irreparably. How do you stitch it back together again?

Leahy: Neil, let’s take a look at the Georgia Senate race. It looks like it’s going to be a runoff in December, $120 million will be spent. Herschel Walker versus Raphael Warnock. It should have been an easy GOP victory.

A lot of people blame Donald Trump for picking Herschel Walker as a candidate. Would former President Trump be wise not to announce his candidacy for president on Tuesday and wait until the outcome of the runoff happens? Your thoughts?

McCabe: Let me say this, all right? Herschel Walker is a great candidate, like, the guy is a Heisman Trophy winner, and he’s the greatest football hero in Georgia history. So going into that, that’s not a shaky call to back that guy. What happened with Get Out the Vote?

I think that was the problem. I think the Democrats had a field operation, and they flexed their muscles. Trump was supposed to announce on December 1 at the America First Policy Institute gala at Mar-a-Lago.

That was pushed forward. Then he was thinking about doing it at the Republican Governor’s Association meeting in Orlando. I think that’s like the 14th, 15th. Then he was going to push it forward all the way to Ohio.

Why? Because DeSantis is in his head. DeSantis knows what he’s doing. DeSantis should have made a phone call. I’m running, I’m not running. DeSantis owed Trump that respect and that courtesy.

And the idea that Trump, as the leader of the party and a former president of the United States, does not deserve the respect of a phone call from Ron DeSantis is absurd. But DeSantis and his guys, they’re trying to push that they can have Trumpism without Trump.

And that’s like saying George H.W. Bush promised me Reaganism without Reagan. Mean Mr. Reagan is gone. Well, all right, get rid of me and Mr. Trump and see what happens.

Leahy: Will DeSantis run for president in 2024?

McCabe: Oh, he’s already been building a parallel organization. He’s reached out to people who are involved in sort of the different Trump coalitions and his consultants, and people have basically picked their pocket. I would say picked their brain.

Usually, when someone says, I want to pick your brain, they mean they want to pick your pocket. It’s like they’ve basically reached out to all these people to say, how did you do it?

So they can’t control Moms for Liberty or Moms for America, so they started their own Moms for DeSantis. They’re just going to replicate that over and over again in many ways. Just like James Polk was sort of a “young hickory” to Andrew Jackson.

I would say, you know, DeSantis is like the James Polk and Trump is Andrew Jackson. You look at his mannerisms. He doesn’t have it completely down yet. But DeSantis gives speeches like Trump, and he talks like Trump, and he’s trying to be Trump without Trump. We’ll see what happens.

Leahy: Does Trump announce he’s running for president a week this coming Tuesday?

McCabe: Yes, he has to.

Leahy: And what does DeSantis do?

McCabe: DeSantis allows himself to be begged to run for president by all of the fancy rich people, all of the contributors. All the contributors that Trump boxed out, all of the political consultants and staffers that Trump boxed out, their only way back into power is through DeSantis.

It’s almost just like they used Paul Ryan to get back in. Oh, Paul Ryan is a conservative, let’s make him speak, and conservatives rolled over.

Leahy: When does Ron DeSantis announce?

McCabe: Well, it’ll probably be after his inauguration in January, if he has any class at all. But he will allow himself to be drafted. But he’s sitting on $200 million, Mike.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Ron DeSantis.