If it seems that the world of politics is circling the Donald Trump vortex, that’s because all actions being taken right now are done so in the looming shadows of 2022, and perhaps more importantly, 2024. Republicans are shy on leadership and divided over whether the former president will be their vehicle back to power. Democrats are terrified that they won’t be able to achieve enough to fend off a possible 2024 run.
All the world is, indeed, a stage, but it seems that there is only one player that matters when it comes to the next presidential election.Sen. Mitt Romney
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Republican Mitt Romney, the Utah senator, averred that:
“I don’t know if he’ll run in 2024 or not, but if he does, I’m pretty sure he will win the nomination.
“A lot can happen between now and 2024,” the Utah senator and former GOP presidential candidate said. “I look at the polls, and the polls show that among the names being floated as potential contenders in 2024, if you put President Trump in there among Republicans, he wins in a landslide.”
The polling numbers substantiate Romney’s point. According to a series of Morning Consult polls, even after Trump’s second impeachment trial, 54% of GOP voters would back the former president for the nomination. Far behind in second place is VP Mike Pence with just 12%.
Setting the Stage
Speaking on Justice with Judge Jeanine, Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, said that her father-in-law “has indicated that he probably would be interested in running again in 2024.” This almost off-the-cuff remark was, as Winston Churchill hinted, likely practiced days in advance. It also coincides with the announcement that the former president will be speaking at this year’s CPAC in Orlando, FLA.
Although the reason for moving CPAC this year to the Sunshine State is ostensibly to avoid harsher COVID restrictions, it may also signify something more important. Could the president be seeking to reorientate politics away from the D.C. Swamp? It would likely be a popular refrain to suggest that the nation’s capital is beyond help and that the America First lobby has to work from the outside in.
Being an outsider served then-candidate Trump well in 2016, and this pivoting to a “southern command” could prove to be a powerful symbolic message.
King or Kingmaker?
Liberty Nation’s Leesa K. Donner writes of Trump’s future plans:
“Whether Trump will run again for president of the United States is anyone’s guess. Some say he will become a GOP “kingmaker,” others say he will create a third party, and some believe he will ignite a free-thinking media empire. As the saying goes, talk is cheap. Still, one thing is certain, with such steadfast and widespread popularity, Donald J. Trump remains a political force to be reckoned with whether he stays inside the Republican tent or not.”
A Suffolk University-USA Today poll perhaps suggests Trump’s path. According to the survey, only 27% of GOP voters would definitely stick with the party if a Trump-led option is available. While these numbers might not play out in reality, the sheer threat to the Republicans of becoming America’s third party may convince them that they need President Trump back at the helm – or at least as the party’s figurehead.
Congressional Democrats seem to be afraid of a Trump resurgence. They have cast away their much-touted efforts at bipartisan co-operation and are pushing full-throttle to get as much done with their slim majority before the possible hammer fall in 2022. Since taking the trifecta, the Biden administration has caused the loss of jobs through the Keystone pipeline decision, failed to do any more than the Trump administration in terms of battling COVID, moved kids at the border into cages-by-any-other-name, and has still not delivered on the long-promised relief bill.
Whether Trump runs or not, it remains clear that it is by his rules that politicos on both sides of the aisle have to play.
Read more from Mark Angelides.