After four years as president, the American people know a few things about Donald J. Trump. First, he does not like to lose. And second, he is a force with which to be reckoned. So, when he teased a 2024 run during an interview with Candace Owens on May 4, it was the old E. F. Hutton moment. Everyone stopped talking and leaned in to listen.
Likely, both Democrat and Republican apparatchiks did not like what they heard. “The answer is I’m absolutely enthused. I look forward to doing it at the right time,” Trump responded. He went on to talk about the proper scheduling of such a declaration, but it was not difficult to read between the lines:
It is also true that things could change between now and a perfectly timed announcement. But in the meantime, the party elite on both sides of the aisle will need to ramp up a palatable defense to Trump’s offense. For the Republicans, who have been struggling to find their true north since the president left the stage, neither of the warring factions within the party has achieved supremacy. As Liberty Nation’s Graham Noble so aptly put it, “One could say this is a struggle between the Country First faction and the Party First faction.”
The GOP has presented as nothing less than a house divided in 2021. It appears it’s every man for himself. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) has had to endure a feisty Republican boo-fest. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley went public with, “I would not run if President Trump ran …” There’s no other way to say it – the GOP fears a Trump run because they understand the power of his popularity will get in the way of the Republican machine.
And Then There are the Dems
If the Republican Party lives in fear of the Donald, it is likely the Democrats are reaching for the Xanax. Anxiety will be running high for the Dems should Trump throw his hat in the ring. There are a couple of ways they could approach another Trump run. One, they could do the dirty now. In other words, if there is any way to sink Trump-the-man, now is the time. Taxes, lawsuits, and their not-so-secret weapon New York Attorney General Letitia James could rain all manner of hell on Trump before he even gets to the point of making an announcement. Burying him beneath a pile of insinuation and innuendo is a solid approach.
Another method the Democrats might take in dealing with this vexing Trump problem would be with hubris, i.e., they kicked Trump to the curb the last go around and can easily do it again. This attitude is fraught with danger because it does not take Mr. Trump and his political movement seriously. But if they believe state election laws continue to favor them, the Democrats may believe they are in control and can easily vanquish their nemesis twice.
Mr. Trump would be foolish to run for a second term if state election laws do not significantly change between now and 2024. But if we have learned anything about the billionaire from New York, it is that he is shrewd and has plenty of street-smarts. It has been said often that Trump is playing chess while those around him are staring blankly at the checkerboard.
There must be a good reason why the former president is teasing another run. Such as it is, both his friends and political enemies are left wondering what to do now. The response from both parties should make for some fascinating political theater. But then again, fascinating political theater is Donald Trump’s stock in trade.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.