Touting his many primary endorsement victories this year, hinting repeatedly at a possible re-match with President Joe Biden, and casually criticizing possible 2024 GOP presidential contender Governor Ron DeSantis, former President Donald Trump looks to be all set for a third shot at the White House.
Trump already has a $122 million war chest ready to deploy at any moment along with the support of a majority of Republican voters. With President Joe Biden’s approval ratings at a historic low, everything is leaning in the former president’s favor for 2024.
But what would stop him from running?
Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly indicated that the only thing that could stop him from running again in 2024 is his health.
During an interview with The Washington Post earlier this year, the former president stressed the importance of being in good health while running for office. When asked about the 2024 presidential race, which will finally kick off sometime after this year’s midterm elections, Trump didn’t confirm that he would run but stressed that if he did, his health would be a deciding factor.
“You always have to talk about health. You look like you’re in good health, but tomorrow, you get a letter from a doctor saying, ‘Come see me again,’” he said. “That’s not good when they use the word ‘again.’”
Trump was also asked what would prevent him from running in 2024 during an interview on “The Water Cooler,” a show on conservative network Real America’s Voice, in 2021.
“I guess a bad call from a doctor or something, right?” Trump said. “You get that call, they say, ‘Come on down here and see us because we have a bad report.”
“Things happen, through God, they happen. But I feel so good,” Trump added.
It’s unclear at this stage whether bad polls would deter the former president from running again in 2024.
Historically, polls have proven inaccurate. For that reason, it seems unlikely at this stage that the former president would back out of a presidential run over the possibility of national polling suggesting a Democratic victory. Trump knows that the polls don’t always reflect reality, and he is presumably aware of the well-documented “shy” Trump voter effect.
However, those polls are national – and repeated bad polls among GOP voters for the upcoming presidential primary may be slightly more nerve-wracking for the former president.
In late 2021, polls still indicated that a vast majority of Republicans wanted the former president to run again in 2024. A Quinnipiac poll revealed how 78% of Republicans wanted Trump to make a third run for the White House, an increase over the 66% who said the same in May that same year.
This year, however, polls show the former president in a more competitive field. While Trump undoubtedly still leads the Republican Party, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – who has not said he plans to run in 2024 – is becoming an increasingly popular possible candidate among GOP voters.
One University of New Hampshire Granite State poll showed the former president and Florida governor tied in a theoretical race, with 39% of respondents throwing their weight behind DeSantis and 37% supporting Trump. As the difference falls within the poll’s margin of error, it means that the two candidates are neck-and-neck in the theoretical race.
More polls like this and it may be cause for concern for the former president – but it wouldn’t be the first time that he ran against popular Republican candidates and defied the odds.
Assuming Trump is in good health in 2024, discouraging polls may only serve as fuel for the fire and encourage him to fight as hard as he did in 2016.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.