As all the postmortems of the midterm elections roll in, one narrative that’s rising to the top is that many Republicans who were Trump supporters are now starting to see DeSantis as the Party’s future and Trump as an anchor. Blogger Don Surber sums up the case well that even though we Trump supporters know most of the accusations hurled against him were false, manufactured and libelous, they worked to made his name toxic with millions of voters, especially Independents who never be convinced to vote for Trump or anyone aligned with him.
Surber points out that while Trump-backed candidates in red states and districts did well, those in swing states polled well below other Republicans, suggesting that if Trump ran for President, he would not be able to carry those states, even if he won them before. The betting markets seem to agree, as DeSantis has leaped into the #1 spot as most likely President in 2024 (29.7% odds) with Trump falling to second (17.6%.) You’ll be relieved to know that AOC is at 0.6%.
Trump also hasn’t helped his own case by continuing to focus on the 2020 election (which I agree was unfair and a travesty and has yet to be really investigated, but it’s over) instead of the future, and by attacking other Republicans against whom he holds grudges. As great a President as some of us think he was, it takes a strong team to win the Presidency, and you don’t win by tackling your own teammates.
When I ran for President in 2016, Trump was my primary opponent. I refused to let debate moderators goad me into attacking him (and they tried.) I told them that every person on that stage would be a better President than anyone the Democrats nominated, and I think history bore me out.
After Trump won the nomination, I didn’t sit around sucking on sour grapes. I thought about how I could help restore American strength and values outside of the political realm. I also joined wholeheartedly in helping Trump’s campaign. When he became President, I continued to defend him against a barrage of false and unfair charges, although I did criticize him when I felt it was warranted.
Now, I fear, is one of those times. Maybe it’s possible for Trump to somehow overcome the huge resistance against him among Independents, but he’s not going to do that by alienating Republicans, too. As much as I would love to see Trump make a comeback in 2024, he needs to remember that making America great again -- returning power from Washington to the people, draining the Swamp, and restoring Constitutional rights, military strength and the rule of law -- is a popular movement, it’s not a cult of personality. It’s bigger than any one person. I know he loves America, and that’s why he gave up so much to run for President.
If he cares about Making America Great Again as much as I think he does, I hope he will reflect seriously on what’s the best way to accomplish that, if what he’s doing now is really helping, and whether he can make his greatest contribution by leading the parade or cheering it on from the sidelines.
Related: Trump’s former Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany agrees that Trump should put any announcements about his 2024 plans on hold until after the Georgia Senate run-off. There’s no point in stirring up a lot of animosity and side issues that might impact an election as important as that. This would be a good way to show Republicans that he can prioritize the GOP winning the Senate over his own political plans.