More Republicans are expected to run besides former UN Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. This could carve up the non-Trump vote, giving the ex-president a plurality win, if not a majority victory in the primary.
Biden Has Found a Republican Weakness
As far as Biden is concerned, he gave a better than expected State of the Union address and has yoked alleged Social Security and Medicare cuts to the Republicans. The accusation of messing with these entitlement programs, even if the charges are not true, is a winning formula for Democrats. I once worked on a Congressional campaign to see my candidate tarred with a false charge of wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare. ‘
My guy ended up losing.
So, Biden has lapsed on to something we may hear constantly in the coming months and even well into the primary and general election.
Trump Can Throttle These Charges
Trump has denied attacking entitlement programs, and the former president will fight back if accused with changing the popular retirement stipends and medical insurance. So, the allegations will likely falter later but they are a liability now.
Can These GOP Candidates Stop Trump?
Meanwhile, more Republicans are pondering a presidential run. Haley will be in officially on February 15. Former Vice President Mike Pence is likely to declare as well. Same for ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They are not exactly busy right now aside from pushing new books, so why not run? That would place three former Trump officials going against their old boss.
Also-rans May Play Spoiler
The problem for Republicans is that these candidates could all poll under ten points and divide up the vote. If Florida Governor Ron DeSantis challenges Trump even more votes will be split, perhaps giving Trump a winning percentage. None of these potential candidates want to be known as a spoiler but Trump can do the arithmetic and look forward to watching more candidates enter the race in a scenario that would favor his chances.
Why Not Attack DeSantis Now?
So far the Trump strategy is to run down DeSantis and weaken him before he enters. Trump has already made accusations against the Florida governor for allegedly “grooming” high school students when DeSantis was a teacher in Georgia. There is a photo that may be DeSantis hanging out with students at a party. If genuine, it is inappropriate. DeSantis in defense said he is often hit with “defamatory stuff.”
Donald Trump and Biden Are Close In at Least One Poll
Donald Trump is still hanging on to a lead in some hypothetical matchups with Biden. A Washington Post-ABC News Poll had Trump up three points against the president 48 to 45 percent. So good news for Trump. But his legal woes could damage him as he is being investigated for various misdeeds for his conduct leading up to the January 6 insurrection, mishandling classified documents, and interfering in the Georgia 2020 presidential election.
Stop Donald Trump Efforts Could Fail Like in 2016
Democrats have to be happy with the way things are going. Republicans are back on their heels at the moment.
The “Stop Trumpers” may not be able to keep him from winning the nomination. Biden can milk the Social Security and Medicare scare tactics throughout the primary election in 2024.
Trump could be indicted and still win a plurality of votes and enter the general election again without much support from left-leaning Independents, moderates, single women, suburban dwellers, minorities, and young people.
These are the groups that broke for Biden in 2020. That would mean Trump may only get 46 to 48 percent of the vote again – not enough to become president. Donald Trump is undeterred about that potential outcome.
The former president, having been counted out by many after the Midterm election disaster in 2022, is so far enjoying a good 2023.
BONUS: Kamala Harris Should Quit
BONUS: A Nuclear War over Ukraine?
BONUS: Donald Trump Looks Desperate
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.