The following was a follow-up interview I did was the good folks over at The Express (UK) that goes a little deeper into what former president Donald J. Trump might do in the months and years to come–and why Trump 2024 won’t be a thing for the foreseeable future.
The interview was a follow-up to a piece I wrote in this space that explains why Trump won’t declare his intention to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024 at CPAC tomorrow. The full transcript is below:
When do you think Donald Trump might announce his possible 2024 presidential bid if he doesn’t do it at Sunday’s speech? Do you expect it to happen this year?
For Trump, according to at least one senior Trump adviser that is quite close to the 45th president, Trump is worried that if he jumps in now and the economy makes a turn around thanks to massive stimulus infusions and Coronavirus cases dropping dramatically he could lose to Biden or Kamala Harris if she were to ran.
For Trump, at least the thing goes according to this one trusted adviser, the economy is the key to any election. If Trump declares now, and the economy booms, he is really afraid he could lose—more like get crushed, to be blunt. He does not want to be “Bob Dole” in 1996, as one GOP strategist told me last week.
To some extent, do you think Mr. Trump might also be waiting to announce his 2024 run to allow for the dust to settle after his impeachment trial and the attack on the Capitol last month?
Trump is clearly worried about his legacy and wants some time for wounds to heal and for memories to fade around the events of January 6th.
However, Trump I am sure is also worried about potential legal problems surrounding that day as well as other legal challenges that have been building over the years. For Trump, at least I would argue, he needs to have a clean bill of legal health before he would jump in the race. Nothing could be worse for Trump or the GOP than a nominee in 2024 that is under an indictment that would need to be replaced during the height of the election season.
If Mr. Trump was to form his own political party separate from the GOP, how detrimental could this be to the Republican party?
If Trump were to form his own political party the GOP would be finished as a major party for at least several years—if not much longer.
We have to remember that what Trump did in 2015 and 2016 was successfully pull off a hostile takeover of the Republican party, transforming it from a pro-business, free-trade, low taxes, foreign interventionist platformed party to a fervently populist, more pro-worker, reciprocal trade, realist national security-based party—massive changes in just a few years’ time.
If he left the GOP, Trump would take the vast majority of the millions of new voters he brought into the party, essentially gutting the GOP, but also handing the democrats a major political advantage, as the populist-conservative coalition forged in the GOP needs to stay intact to take on what is growing trend towards progressive policies in the U.S favored by younger voters.
Simply put, Trump and the old guard GOP need each other—now more than ever.