Some declare it a civil war; others just demand a bigger tent. But either way, the sound coming from the Republican Party is clearly a distress signal. Pollsters have been rolling out surveys to determine if this rumble of discontent is a reality. Lo and behold, it is. The “it” is Donald Trump’s popularity, and a few recent polls show proof positive that the 45th president still reigns supreme with conservatives.
Undeterred and Ready to Rock
The Trump base remains solid. It is so rock-hard that the former president is becoming known as Teflon Don. As Liberty Nation reported last week, nothing thrown at Trump – including two impeachments – has tarnished his standing with supporters. USA Today headlined a story on Feb. 21 that cited a Suffolk University poll indicating that the Trump base is made of the same material as the border wall – concrete and steel.
However, the loyalty to Trump does not extend to the Republican Party. Those who participated in the survey say “they would abandon the GOP and join the Trump party if the former president decided to create one.” Worse for the Republican establishment is that “[t]hey express stronger loyalty to Trump the person (54%) than they did to the Republican Party that twice nominated him for the White House (34%).”
This comes on the heels of last week’s Rasmussen Reports poll that revealed the robust support Trump still enjoys from his political base. That survey – which showed 42% of those who favor the former president had not changed their minds about him – reported a 48% approval rating for Trump. The sitting president came in only two percentage points higher.
Not Falling on Deaf Ears
While the former president has remained relatively quiet since leaving 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, his silence is not expected to last. It is no accident that the other day Lara Trump told Fox News that her father-in-law is “probably” ready to run for president in 2024. Floating such comments in the media is often a precursor to a strategic political move.
That is why it came as no surprise when Axios followed up Lara’s comment with an article titled “Scoop: Trump to claim total control of GOP.” Naming only “Trump allies” as sources, author Mike Allen claimed that Trump plans to send the message next weekend that he is “Republicans’ ‘presumptive 2024 nominee’ with a vise grip on the party’s base.” Allen is referring to Trump’s Feb. 28 speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting in Orlando, FL. This event has often been used as a launching pad for Republican political aspirants and gives conservative strategists a peek at the enthusiasm the party faithful have for a specific candidate.
It is not lost on Republican Party apparatchiks that since the election the money has not exactly been freely flowing to GOP coffers. It has been pounding the pavement and thus far has little to show for its efforts. Recognizing that the internal party strife is metastasizing, the GOP has pivoted its fundraising efforts. Instead of standard emails touting conservative ideals, new messages going to millions of inboxes say “GOP Update – Trump Legacy Membership.” Once opened, there is a missive about “the newly formed Trump Legacy” group. In other words, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
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.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.