What If Trump Goes Third Party if He Can’t Win the GOP Nomination? Biden Would Benefit: The Republican Party may be divided again. There are still stubborn “Never Trumpers” who will always push back against the former president and bitter “America Firsters” who believe that Trump won in 2020.
About 30 to 40 percent of the party is sticking with Trump through thick and thin. Other Republicans are looking to move on and see who else may run for president. Without a united party, the GOP may have trouble winning a general election – and hand a win to Democrats.
Trump could also lose the presidential primary and form a third party that would split the conservative vote and likely keep President Joe Biden in the White House.
Trump Still Has Supreme Confidence
Trump still views himself as the only candidate who can win the primary and general elections for president. He would have to run the table of swing states in the upper Midwest and Pennsylvania to win the general in 2024. After losing governor and senate races in that region during the 2022 Midterms it is not clear if he could use that regional strategy as a path to victory. President Joe Biden is strong in those states too and Democrats have expanded the map to include Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada where they won key senate and gubernatorial races in 2022.
He Needs to Get More Democrat Voters to Switch to Him
Trump has work to do when it comes to locking in his support. In 2020, he lost the popular vote by 7 million and the electoral college 306-232. He needs to improve somehow his standing with suburban women, minorities, college-educated whites, and independents to improve those numbers. If not, he could win the primary and fail to win the general.
Conservative Media Is Not Cooperating
The former president has lost some of his support in the right-leaning media. After he declared his third candidacy, the National Review, a reliably conservative publication, simply titled an opinion piece, “No.” Right-leaning media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose company owns the New York Post, Fox News, and the Wall Street Journal, has lost his affinity for promoting Trump and the America First movement. Fox News no longer shows the entirety of Trump rallies. The Wall Street Journal prints editorials critical of Trump. And the New York Post was not impressed with Trump’s speech announcing the 2024 run.
The Big Bucks May Go Somewhere Else
Major donors who supported Trump in previous runs are not on board this time. Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder of the private-equity firm Blackstone, said he will refrain from supporting the former president in 2024. Previous backers Ken Griffin, the billionaire head of hedge fund Citadel; Andy Sabin, the chairman of Sabin Metal Corporation; Stephen Ross, the billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins, and cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder could support other Republicans who decide to run for president, perhaps even throwing their weight behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Polling Shows Good and Bad News for Trump
The polling in hypothetical matchups with DeSantis has been mixed. Some national polls have Trump coming out on top, others have the Florida governor in the lead. A McLaughlin poll had Trump beating DeSantis 48 percent to 23 percent during a survey conducted December 9-14. But a Cygnal poll the following week had DeSantis only losing by five points. A USA Today-Suffolk University survey, taken in mid-December, found that DeSantis led 56 percent to 33 percent for Trump among national Republicans and GOP-leaning voters.
DeSantis Could Lure Former-Trump Supporters
It is not certain that DeSantis will run, but if he does, he is ready to shake up the race. S
ome Republicans have communicated through the polling that they like Trump’s policies but are tired of the man and are looking for new blood.
Trump Was Not a Kingmaker
Trump may not have the magic touch that he once enjoyed. His preferred candidates for the U.S. Senate such as Herschel Walker and Dr. Mehmet Oz lost their races. Some have complained that Trump’s meddling in electoral politics cost the Republicans their chance of winning the senate.
Unite the Groups Again
Trump’s legal problems are sending many Republicans to search for another candidate to back in 2024. Trump must consolidate Republican coalitions behind him. Evangelical Christians and Reagan conservatives will need to be on board. Plus, he needs high school-educated males to vote for him in the primaries. But DeSantis appeals to these voters too.
More People Running Could Work in Trump’s Favor
Republicans expect a crowded field for president with perhaps former vice president Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former South Carolina governor Nikki Hailey, and Senator Tim Scott weighing runs. This could divide the anti-Trump vote and enable the former president to squeak by in the primary elections.
Trump Is Still a Force
Trump cannot be counted out at this point in the race. We will know more by mid-2023 when other presidential candidates will decide whether they run. Trump is still a force with his base and those die-hards may only vote for Trump and choose to stay home if he is not the nominee. This would divide the party even more. And the possibility of Trump running as an independent or forming a new party cannot be ignored. This disarray and division are just what the Democrats are hoping for as they coalesce around Biden in the general election.
Thus, Trump could lead the Republicans into a trap come 2024.
More: Is Donald Trump Going Crazy?
Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.