A betting man might say, “Don’t rule out Donald Trump.”
He’s been previously touted as the “comeback king” who has defied expectations in the business world, and he is one who likely sees a political comeback as critical to his legacy.
Trump is a man who believes there are only winners and losers, and can’t accept being the latter. That is why even as he prepared to launch his third bid for the White House last month, he maintained the false claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” and “stolen.” Speaking from Mar-a-Lago, Trump proclaimed, “We are a nation in decline. America’s comeback starts right now.”
All Bets Are Off
In the past, Trump was a force to be reckoned with, and a comeback couldn’t be ruled out.
Yet, this time is different, and all bets are off. Were the late Charles Krauthammer still around to play “Candidate Casino” on Fox News Channel’s Special Report, it is doubtful he’d be going all in on Trump. In November 2015, less than a year before Trump defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Krauthammer was sold on Trump’s chances were bleak and he proclaimed, “I’m so depressed by the field that I’m back on the bottle of wine, women, and song.”
We can only imagine that Krauthammer’s sentiment wouldn’t be much different today.
It has actually been speculated that Trump announced his White House bid so early as it is just a gambit to stave off a federal criminal indictment. If that is, in fact, the case, it won’t work. Instead, it is likely that Trump could be the first former president to campaign for the White House while facing criminal charges.
Trump is now the subject to multiple investigations, which include his taking of classified documents, alleged attempted voter fraud in Georgia following the 2020 election, unspecified malfeasance connected with the Jan. 6 riot, and even potential tax evasion.
These are investigations only.
No charges have been filed, so it is premature for anyone – including those critics on social media – to be suggesting “lock him up.”
But Could Donald Trump Win?
Though it is increasingly likely Trump might be indicted, the nation could see a long legal battle. As The Hill reported, “Politically, no Democratic prosecutor could offer a deal that doesn’t include jail time. For all the talk of a GOP cult around Trump, the fact is Democrats despise Trump more than Republicans like him.”
Currently, the unfavorable rating for the former president among Democrats is 85 percent, as opposed to the 72 percent Trump has among Republicans.
Those numbers are extremely important should Trump manage to one, not get indicted, or two, get indicted and be acquitted. Should the Teflon Don manage to wriggle out of his legal woes, he would not only be a tainted candidate, but he’d also be a motivating force for the Democrats.
The 2020 election saw record turnout among voters, which is why Joe Biden received more votes than any presidential candidate to date. It is important to note too that Trump also received more votes in 2020 than any previous candidate, including Barack Obama or Ronald Reagan, yet just fewer than Biden. In a rematch in 2024, it is likely that Biden could get the anti-Trump voters out in mass again, while it is just as unlikely Trump could rally such support.
Trump isn’t facing just legal trouble, his brand is tainted and enough Americans have moved on. Not all, but enough.
If Trump is the Republican nominee in 2024 – a big IF at this point – Biden would soundly defeat him. Trump simply has too much baggage. He may still be a significant force, but not enough to win. The best move he could make is to drop out of the race, work with investigators and get the charges dropped or at least greatly reduced – in an effort to heal the nation. That could be a win for everyone.
Of course, we all know Trump won’t do that. He only sees winners and losers, and can’t accept being the latter.
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.