Donald Trump Thinks the Same Old Campaign from 2016 and 2020 Will Win in 2024. Good Luck on That: So you thought he would quit, stay on the sidelines, or give up by now. Maybe you just don’t know Donald Trump that well.
He has started his actual campaign since mostly sitting at Mar-a-Lago and licking his wounds after midterm elections in which many of his favorite candidates lost their bids. Trump is determined and as irascible as ever. The former president refuses to be tamed by prosecutors, courts, the media, and his opponents. But if you are looking for a smattering of new policies or different messages, forget it. Trump’s latest speeches were mostly made up of the same old enemies, complaints, conspiracies, tall tales, and grievances.
The Same Old Donald Trump
The weekend of Jan. 28 was a busy one for the former president. He swooped into the critical primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina in an effort to give supporters and campaign workers a jolt. He sent overtures to elected officials who will carry the water for him in the media. And he wanted to show the public that he has the same energy that carried him to victory in 2016.
The speeches were received with mixed reviews. In New Hampshire, he again trotted out the election denial that he is known for – claiming that the 2020 election was stolen by President Joe Biden and the Democrats. He said the same thing in South Carolina.
Then there was an unusual claim that when he was in the White House he reduced the national debt. This is laughable. The debt under Trump went up $7.8 trillion while he was in the White House. I can’t remember him talking about deficits and cutting spending during his presidency. The tax cut policies didn’t help bring in more revenue to balance the books either.
This wasn’t all of the surprising talk on stage. Like Don Quixote, Trump hates windmills. This hostility started when he sued the Scottish government for an offshore wind farm that blocked the view at one of his golf courses. Trump lost that contest in court and was ordered to pay $290,000 in legal fees to the defendants.
So, he was on the rampage against renewable energy from wind. “Let’s kill all the birds. Let’s destroy our planes and beautiful oceans and seas and everything else,” he said. It’s not clear how a windmill could wreck a plane, but that did not stop Trump from the windmill criticism. While he was haranguing against alternative energy, he blasted the use of electric vehicles too.
Fighting Cultural Marxism Will Be a Winner
But Trump did throw tastier red meat to supporters. This aspect of his rhetoric was a more traditional list of litanies against what some Republicans call “Cultural Marxism.” This made more sense and should be winning rhetoric for the MAGA adherents. He hates critical race theory and wants to keep transgender people from playing on sports teams that are different from their original gender.
Extolling the problems of Cultural Marxism is a winner with the conservative base – especially going against critical race theory. Donald Trump has competition on these efforts. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expert at fighting the culture wars. DeSantis is able to turn oratory against the left into concrete laws and policy.
This can-do action is something that movement conservatives adore about DeSantis. As a result, Trump has a nickname for the governor – “DeSanctimonious.”
Could He Help End the War in Ukraine?
Another interesting issue is that he promised to end the war in Ukraine by leading negotiations. It would be nice if someone could create an environment in which both sides would put down their arms, but Donald Trump gave no specifics on how he would accomplish that feat.
This is one reason that Donald Trump may need to expand his policy stances. If he wants to yoke the Democrats to big spending, he will have to figure out a way to avoid the appearance of hypocrisy. In foreign policy, he could say that no major wars were fought while he was president. He can talk about taking out ISIS, and he can extol the virtues of the Abraham Accords that worked to strengthen peace in the Middle East.
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But Donald Trump is not one to be encumbered with policy. Advisors are happy to let “Trump Be Trump.” It means more speeches that will be undisciplined grudge matches against his enemies, and of course the 2020 election claims. We will just have to wait for something new in his speeches as the campaign progresses.
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.