For the better part of seven years, Donald Trump has owned the Republican Party lock, stock, and barrel. Once the bombastic billionaire mowed down a field of the GOP’s most promising candidates in 2016 and shocked the world with his most improbable victory over Hillary Clinton, the 45th president held power with a clenched fist, unchallenged to the extent that, even with the outpouring of hatred for him among quasi-Republican, Never-Trump Swampists, there was not a hint of intra-party challenge to the sitting president in 2020.
But what has transpired over recent days confirms that Donald Trump’s days of wine and roses are over, and he will now have to engage in bare-knuckle brawling as he did in his salad days of 2015-16, not just to return to the Oval Office, but to reign supreme in his own party once more.
Still leading by double digits in polls in a hypothetical GOP primary battle, Trump continued his attacks on Ron DeSantis, saying on Tuesday, Jan. 31, that if the Florida Governor does the expected and announces his candidacy for president, it would be an act of disloyalty. Two days later, Trump said that he would not necessarily support a party nominee other than himself, and he is reportedly conducting exhaustive opposition research on DeSantis, planning an attack on the issue of Covid and vaccines.
But DeSantis threw back a thinly veiled retort about which of the two won or lost their last race: “… I’m happy to say, you know, in my case, not only did we win reelection. We won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has in the history of the state of Florida.” To be sure, “in my case” is another way of DeSantis highlighting Trump’s inability to secure a second term.
Trump, DeSantis, and Haley – Not a Law Firm
In the wake of that tart response from the Sunshine State’s ascendant star who oddsmakers have established as the favorite for the GOP nomination, former South Carolina Governor and Trump-appointed UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who had specifically ruled out a challenge to Trump in ‘24, reportedly changed her mind and is set to announce her candidacy in mid-February. Though she is a longshot, a savvy career politician like Haley reversing her decision, believing Trump is no longer invulnerable to challenge, is confirmation that the once-overwhelming influence of the former president has been shrinking since Election Day 2020. Haley had hinted at her run in a 2022 interview, issuing a two-fer against both Trump and Biden: “I don’t think you need to be 80 years old to be a leader in DC.” But consistent with her on-again, off-again relationship with the former president, she also said on another occasion in ‘22 that “We need him in the Republican Party. I don’t want us to go back to the days before Trump.”
As Haley and DeSantis prepare to jump in, more candidates appear on the brink of joining the fray. Haley’s fellow South Carolinian, Sen. Tim Scott, is about to embark on a trip to Iowa, site of the first presidential primary contest. Another likely candidate, former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said recently: “I’ve spent time in Iowa and New Hampshire. This is not random.” Former Trump VP Mike Pence has foreshadowed a run of his own for months. And still other potential candidates include Governors Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, as well as former Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, and Larry Hogan of Maryland, and yes, even the most unpopular politician in America: Liz Cheney.
A large field would likely benefit Trump as it did in 2016, when more than a dozen rivals split the anti-Trump vote and facilitated his bull rush through the primaries. The former president still has a significant following of loyalists who will accept no substitute, and he will need their undying allegiance in order to go back to the future – as in 2016 – and one more time do something he has done his whole life: fight like hell.
Do you have an opinion about this article? We’d love to hear it! If you send your comments to [email protected], we might even publish your edited remarks in our new feature, LN Readers Speak Out. Remember to include the title of the article along with your name, city, and state.
Please respect our republishing guidelines. Republication permission does not equal site endorsement. Click here.
Liberty Nation Today:
Bloomberg and Hochul Team up to Save New York - Another “follow the money” story featuring seemingly unlikely allies. - Read Now!
Joe Biden’s Invest in America Roadshow Will be a Hard Sell - Amid staggering spending records, the administration plans a public relations offensive. - Read Now!
Autism – New CDC Study Reveals Astonishing Numbers - The demographics are also changing. - Read Now!
Just for Fun Vol. 29 – C5 TV - It’s all about Trump Trivia. - Watch Now!
Bruen Decision Resulting in Tremendous Victories for Gun Rights - It will be more difficult for Democrats to restrict gun rights. - Read Now!