Despite the fact that to any knowledgeable political operative he is a terrible candidate Donald Trump appears to be destined to get the 2024 GOP presidential nod; at this early point anyway and barring his demised I don’t see that changing.
I don’t have a crystal ball or any inside information but despite Trump’s prediction to the contrary he has not been indicted and subsequently arrested – as of this writing anyway. By publishing time or when you get a chance to read this, who knows? However recent focus group polling still has him as the leader among likely Republican primary voters by a decent margin. His only rival in double figures is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Polling is wonderful but let’s look at Trump’s track record. He has run for the presidency as the Republican nominee twice (2016 and 2020). Both times he lost the popular vote by seven figures and that margin increased in 2020 after people got to see his performance in office and, it is reasonable to assume, got to know him better. What would make anyone think he can win the popular vote in 2024? Admittedly under our system the popular vote is just a beauty contest but it’s sure a lot easier to win the electoral vote if you win the popular vote.
To date Nikki Haley is the only other declared GOP candidate. However, everyone feels that DeSantis will jump in; it’s just a matter of time. Mike Pence appears to be trying to find a way to enter the race but whether he does or doesn’t I can’t see him cracking double digits unless he is the last man standing against Trump and even then, it would basically be by default. Larry Hogan, who would have some appeal in the general, has decided not to run primarily in an effort to stop Trump by keeping the field small. Other former governors who might have some appeal (but likely couldn’t knock off Trump in a GOP primary like Charlie Baker and John Kasich) don’t appear to be jumping in. Trump has seemed to intimidate a lot of the “usual suspects” like Ted Cruz into not running.
Baggage, which by all projections should only increase, not withstanding, Trump appears to have a large enough base in the GOP primary electorate to win the nomination. (Think the Republicans might rue their winner take all primary format and lack of superdelegates to the convention?)
In the old days a messy extramarital affair (or less) could at least hurt if not sink a political candidate. Remember the conventional wisdom that Nelson Rockefeller could not get elected president simply because he was divorced? Then came Ronald Reagan. (Anybody do the math on his second marriage and the birth of his subsequent child?) Gary Hart’s presidential campaign went down in a, “Bimbo explosion”. Years later Bill Clinton was reelected post Monica Lewinsky.
If the Alvin Bragg indictment does materialize, I think (at least with enough of the GOP primary electorate) Trump will weather the “storm” (pun intended). Others are on the horizon and if they occur will be more detrimental to Trump’s general election chances.
Another factor to consider is the pressure elected Republicans are putting on prosecutors at both the state and federal levels. Those possible charges would be much more serious! Spurred on by Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan is leading the charge of weaponizing government to protect Trump.
Many are wondering if there will be a perp walk. (I am assuming an indictment(s) is a forgone conclusion.) The answer to that question is simple. If Trump thinks he can raise more money with a perp walk he will let it happen. Never forget that Trump is at his core a con man and scam artist. His career, like his presidency, has been little more than an organized criminal enterprise.
It’s way to early to call the game. I could fill pages with a list of nominees who never were. All that said, it really looks like that the Republicans will nominate Trump and then lose in the general election unless the establishment Republican money people can coalesce around a single candidate and take their party back.
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One thought on “Going Down With Trump”
To those who ask: “How much worse can it get?”, my response is: “Hide and watch!”
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