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Donald Trump 2024 Seems Inevitable. Now Comes the Timing

Donald Trump
Trump rally in 2020. Image: Gage Skidmore.

It’s now a matter of when, not if, for former President Donald Trump’s third straight run for the White House. He said in an interview that his decision had already been made. Now he only has to make up his mind about one more thing.

“I would say my big decision will be whether I go before or after,” Trump told New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi. “You understand what that means?” 

Apparently, it means Trump is considering a presidential announcement before the midterm elections. “I just think that there are certain assets to before,” Trump said. “Let people know. I think a lot of people would not even run if I did that because, if you look at the polls, they don’t even register. Most of these people. And I think that you would actually have a backlash against them if they ran. People want me to run.”

Trump did previously tease presidential bids in the 2000 and 2012 election cycles, only to decide against running. But that was before his memorable escalator ride of 2015, his utter humiliation of Jeb Bush and the Bush family dynasty, his defeat of 16 other Republicans in the primaries, his improbable upset of Hillary Clinton, his wild single term in the White House, and a 2020 campaign that left a bitter taste in the mouths of his supporters and opponents alike.

All that frenetic activity is likely more than enough to tempt Donald Trump into pulling a Grover Cleveland. And that’s without taking into account the fact that President Joe Biden’s poll numbers are now worse than Trump’s were at their lowest point.

Trump is clearly feeling antsy. The Jan. 6 committee run by Democrats and Never Trumpers seeks to discredit him daily. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is starting to grab the spotlight in a way that the former reality TV star must find difficult to accept. He knows he can freeze the field, as many promising Republicans have already said they will not run against him.

The 45th president does not want either the people who love him or who hate him to move on. Donald Trump simply won’t allow it. “Did you see Alaska, and did you see Las Vegas? I’ll tell ya, the enthusiasm and the crowds are bigger than they’ve ever been,” he told New York. “The enthusiasm is greater than it’s ever been.” 

Republicans eyeing big down-ballot wins this fall, including the dethroning of the Democrats’ small congressional majorities, are equally antsy. They want to run against Biden, inflation, high crime, the porous southern border, and uncertainties abroad. 

Democrats naturally want to run against Trump. They already are. This includes Biden himself. If you cannot win an election that is a referendum on your own policies and performance in office, you try to make it a binary choice election between yourself and another, potentially less palatable candidate. For the White House and the rest of the Democratic Party, that’s Donald Trump.

Naturally, Republicans don’t want this to happen. They would like to avoid any distractions on the road to reclaiming their majorities. Trump has seldom been moved by such considerations and believes he is the GOP’s majority-maker. 

The biggest risk to Trump’s renomination is that Republicans, regardless of whether they view Jan. 6 as a coup or share the ex-president’s views about the last election, will decide that this is not what they want to be talking about in the next one. That it is better, both for their electoral prospects and the country, to focus on the future — 2022 or 2024 and beyond — rather than re-litigating 2020. A disappointing midterm election following a Trump announcement would appear to prove the case.

An early campaign declaration would be about tamping down a different kind of insurrection, one by Republican leaders and the rank-and-file, this time against Trump. 

How necessary such an early start depends on how you read the New York Times poll showing Trump with just 49 percent support among Republicans nationally. Yes, that is far from unanimity and suggests Trump would not win the nomination uncontested, as he did in 2020.

On the other hand, it’s not far off from the leads once enjoyed by Bob Dole and George W. Bush, who faced real competition but ultimately won the party’s nod with relative ease. It’s better than Trump’s national lead at the beginning of 2016, when he won the nomination the first time. And it is a strong indication that DeSantis is the only Republican rival Trump really has to worry about. The fellow Florida man starts 24 points behind.

There are advantages in terms of money and coordinating with super PACs that come with waiting. If Donald Trump needs a head start on DeSantis, he is beatable. If the former president remains a juggernaut, he can afford the delay.

Now a 1945 Contributing Editor, W. James Antle III is the Washington Examiner’s politics editor. He was previously managing editor of the Daily Caller, associate editor of the American Spectator, and senior writer for the American Conservative. He is the author of Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? You can follow home on Twitter: @Jimantle.

Written By

W. James Antle III is the Washington Examiner's politics editor. He was previously managing editor of the Daily Caller, associate editor of the American Spectator, and senior writer for the American Conservative. He is the author of Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped?

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Bobby

    July 15, 2022 at 11:29 am

    Why does the author ignore the elephant in the room: will he be indicted for his obvious crimes? Can you run for office from prison?

    • Ghost Tomahawk

      July 15, 2022 at 12:44 pm

      🤣🤣🤣 if there were crimes this kangaroo court wouldn’t be:
      A. Happening over a year later
      B. Happening like this.

      A real hearing includes testimony for the defense. Not
      Cherry picked heresay testimony from selected supporters by anti Trump congressmen. The entire thing is discredited by the bias as a made for tv propaganda event to distract the people away from the constant dumpster fires that engulf the Democrat party on every front.

      Indictment… those are coming. Just not for Trump.

      • Bobby

        July 15, 2022 at 1:53 pm

        ROTFL. You have have zero situational awareness and your ability to blithely dismiss real crimes tells me more than I ever wanted to know about you.

        • Rich

          July 16, 2022 at 1:47 pm

          Funny how according to the left, the “walls have been closing in” on Trump since the first Russian collusion lie. Almost 6 years later the walls are still closing in, or so they say. Funnier still is if the election were to be held today, Trump would handily beat Biden. Right now, Trump is more likely to be the next president than any other single candidate, with the possible exception of DeSantis. But yeah…the walls are closing in.

          On another front, the guy with bug eyes claims to have evidence of insurrection on Trumps part. Just like the evidence he claimed he had of Russian collusion. Funny despite all the evidence he claims to have, and a Dem AG, not one single person, including Trump, has been charged with insurrection. Funny how that works.

          • Bobby

            July 16, 2022 at 4:56 pm

            There is so much refutable evidence coming from so many investigations that you seem to ignore. I’m guessing, like most acolytes, you have paid no attention to the J6 hearings. Undoubtedly, you label them as partisan political actions with a callous disregard for the rule of law for good measure. You really need to re-examine your own integrity and moral values.

          • Rich

            July 16, 2022 at 5:48 pm

            Spare me your righteousness. When you begin to criticize the tens of millions of dollars worth of destruction, the violence, attacks on govn’t buildings, the police and innocent civilians during the “summer of love”, then maybe I’ll take another look at Jan 6.

            I notice still no answer why no one has been charged with insurrection when the left has called it such ad nauseum.

          • Bobby

            July 16, 2022 at 7:43 pm

            Yes, you are exacting as I estimated…a far right lunatic who cares little about the future of our country. You are a very sad and cynical person, but it is amusing raising your blood pressure as you defend an incompetent, lifelong criminal. By any chance were you dropped on your head as a baby?

          • Rich

            July 16, 2022 at 8:10 pm

            AND……Still no answer. Just a resort to a personal attack. Typical leftist; long on emotion, short on facts

  2. TG

    July 15, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    Trump is an arrogant jackass. The first two years in office, he had a broad mandate, control of both houses of congress – and he wasted it being Paul Ryan’s “boy.” He’s more salesman than leader, he tells us what we want to hear but has trouble getting around to delivering. He foolishly surrounds himself with people who hate him and sabotage his efforts.

    I will vote for him. Heck, I will campaign for him. Because at least he did not declare total war on the American working class, he did not open us up to third-world invasion, he did not push irrational hatred of white people in order to blind us to the reality of class war.

    DeSantis? He talks pretty, but I notice all the billionaires lining up to throw money at him, and he simply has to be fake – just like Barack Obama was talking progressive in public, and privately promising his wealthy patrons that he didn’t mean a word of it.

    Jan 6? Most likely a made-up-from-nothing media event. I mean for three years “russiagate” was in all the news, and it was completely made up. But perhaps the ruling class can indeed use this current circus to prevent Trump from running, in true banana republic fashion.

  3. Dave Nelson

    July 15, 2022 at 2:06 pm

    The problems with Trump make up a long list, at the top of which is clinical Narcissism. We can be sure that if Trump returns to the White House he will spend considerable effort trying to exact revenge all all those he imagines have wronged him.

    Do we want a functioning Republic? Or a dysfunctional Trump led banana Republic? That will be the choice if he runs again.

  4. JR

    July 17, 2022 at 6:30 am

    Desantis may be the antidote to Trump poison. However, if it does, god forbid, come down to Trump v. Biden I would bet on Trump. God forbid.

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