Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Trump 2024?

What is the future of Donald Trump in the Republican party?

Will Trump run in 2024 and will he be the favorite to win the GOP nomination if he runs?

Those are big questions right now.

One thing is for sure. 

The Trump policies are enormously popular among the party faithful.

It is less clear whether Trump is considered to be the right person to advocate for those policies in a general election.

That is a big reason that you see a number of conservatives promoting Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Kristi Noem or Mike Pence.

What are the arguments for Trump in 2024?

What are the reasons that GOP voters may turn to someone else?

First, I am assuming that Trump is running in 2024.

Trump is not saying what his intentions are right now. I doubt he will make any commitment to run until after the 2022 mid-term election.

However, he has been out doing rallies the last couple of weeks. He was in Sarasota, Florida Saturday night and in Lorain, Ohio last week.

Trump rally in Sarasota, FL, 7/3/21
Source: https://twitter.com/DanScavino/status/1411500389237723137/photo/1

Love or hate him, getting this many people to show up at an event eight months after one election and three years before the next one is pretty remarkable.

Trump's two events also got millions of online viewers. I saw it reported that Newsmax had 6 million viewers watching Trump's speech on Saturday night.

To put that number in context, that is more than the top 3 cable news networks typically averaged in viewers during prime time during the second quarter, 2021.

I know that there are many in the GOP establishment and in media that want to believe that Trump is done. Those types of turnout and viewer numbers suggest that Trump is still a force to reckon with.

What are the three things that could do the most to help Trump looking to 2024?

1. There is a definitive finding that some sort of foul play in the 2020 election that affected the outcome of the election. Such a finding would vindicate Trump and silence those who have said "we just need to move on". It would put Trump on the high ground and make it difficult for any other GOP candidates to mount a serious challenge to him. It would seem that Trump deserves another chance. If I am Trump I would be heavily invested in getting to the bottom of the election fraud allegations.

2. An implosion of the country under the Democrats and Biden/Harris. Trump has many critics but hard times have a way of focusing people on what is most important. Trump's personality is the most cited reason why many did not like him. When people are in trouble they are less concerned with personality and more concerned about performance. A deteriorating situation in the country will make Trump a lot more attractive to more people than you can imagine. 

3. The Trump brand. A brand is about trust. People trust products and services like McDonald's, Coke and Amazon because the know they are going to get a consistent, quality experience. More than any politician in my lifetime, Trump governed exactly like he ran. There was no bait and switch. He did what he said he was going to do. Trump has the political power he has in the Republican party right now because he is trusted. That is why his endorsements are so sought after by GOP candidates. Most Republican voters right now trust the Trump political brand to not steer them wrong. Will this continue through 2022? That is the big question. If Trump endorsed candidates do well in 2022 it will give Trump additional political power. Watch 2022 to see where we are headed for in 2024 with Trump.

What are three things that could derail any ambitions Trump may have for 2024?

1. There is a natural human trait to prefer potential over achievement. I wrote about this in 2014.

Why does an untested high school pitcher command a bigger signing bonus from a major league baseball team than a proven major league pitcher with six years of experience as a starter?

Why does a fledgling tech company IPO result in a market cap far in excess of a steady and profitable company that has a 10 year record of success in the marketplace?

Why does the up and coming young MBA a few years out of school get the promotion over the steady, seasoned and loyal 10 year manager?

Why do NFL fans of mediocre teams always clamor for the 2nd string quarterback?

Why did an untested Barack Obama beat two candidates (Hillary Clinton and John McCain) who were both more accomplished and experienced than he was?

You can read my previous blog post for the explanation of the Stanford academic that has studied this human trait in detail.

In the political realm I think it relates to the fact that prior achievement has boundaries. Potential is boundless, especially on the upside. Hope really does spring eternal.

People know all the warts and weaknesses of the politicians they are familiar with. Almost everyone also believes that they know Trump well. Therefore, it is easy to project optimism on DeSantis, Haley, Noem or someone else and decide they are going to be a much better candidate than Trump. They will be perfect. Let's get Trump's policies with a better personality and all will be well. 

This will be an effect Trump will have to overcome because the new face is always going to be more interesting and enticing than someone that you know better.

2. Allegations of wrongdoing by Trump that go beyond what is perceived as more than a witch hunt. Democrats have long claimed that Trump is a crook or has been involved in nefarious activities. However, we have heard this for five years and they have not been able to turn up anything on the man. The latest charges involving his company and its CFO by New York state looks to be politically motivated. If there was wrongdoing with the Trump organization's taxes why was this not found by the IRS? Why is a Manhattan Democrat District Attorney involved? Trump has also been out of the active management of the business for over five years. Why now? Perhaps there is something there but it looks like a political hit job to me right now.

There is little question that the Democrats are going to turn over every rock and throw everything they can at Trump and his family the next few years  They clearly live in fear of the man. They may get something that sticks and get people to believe that it is more than political retribution. If they do, Trump will not be viable in 2024 as his political brand will be permanently damaged. Once you lose trust you don't get it back.

3. Trump's endorsements and efforts at promoting candidates in 2022 falls flat and/or the GOP generally has disappointing results in the mid-term elections.

This might apply even if the GOP gain seats in the mid-terms but the results do not meet the expectations sets before the election.

Any mid-term setback will likely create a narrative that the losses were due to Trump's influence on the party and a change of direction is necessary for 2024.

I have no idea how this will play out. 

We are still 2.5 years from the first 2024 primaries and a lot can happen in two years. In fact, at times a few months can be an eternity in politics.

A recent poll by McLaughlin & Associates indicates that Donald Trump still has considerable support among potential GOP primary voters right now.

There is no candidate at this time that represents a significant challenge to Trump with GOP voters.

Trump has 55% support. DeSantis is next highest at 9%. Pence is at 8%.

There is also a substantial question of whether Joe Biden will even be a candidate in 2024.

In fact, the McLaughlin poll did not even survey a Biden-Trump matchup.

It only asked survey participants who they favored between Trump and Harris.

Trump was up 49%-45% in the poll.


Who knows what 2024 will bring?

However, right now Donald Trump is still the Republican party whether the party establishment and elected officials like it or not.

In the end, the voters decides what their party stands for and who they want to represent them. It is not Mitch McConnell, Keven McCarthy, Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, Rona McDaniel or Marjorie Taylor Greene 

Stay tuned for some interesting years ahead.

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