Donald Trump seems to be running on anger and the same old list of confusing issues that his base loves, but America might have trouble either identifying with or getting tired of. If he is not careful, it could be a problem:
He definitely has grievances and what he feels are examples of government persecution.
He has things that make him mad, and he has the usual list of demons he wants exorcising, but is this anything original, or is it more of the same rhetoric that he displayed in 2015 and 2016 during his first run for president?
Donald Trump: Nothing New to See Here
When Trump first announced during his initial 2016 campaign, he used illegal immigration as his main issue. But now all Republicans are equally furious about what they say are President Joe Biden’s “Open Border” policies. This has become party orthodoxy. Trump originally ran against China and its nefarious deeds against the United States that made the country weaker.
Now even Democrats are on board with China bashing, so that is nothing new.
Ron DeSantis Is Winning the Culture Wars
He can engage in the culture wars issues such as drag shows that children attend or transgender people competing in women’s sports, but Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appears to own this lane and there are specific administrative rulings, executive orders, laws, and policies that governors can execute that Trump cannot do as a private citizen.
So, score the advantage to DeSantis when it comes to fighting what the right calls “Cultural Marxism.”
DeSantis has also used his power as governor to send migrants to other locales – specifically to Martha’s Vineyard. This is another way he has stolen Trump’s thunder. That was a tactic that Trump could talk about and dream about, but the one that he never accomplished.
Is Trump’s Act Getting Stale?
“Trump’s problem is there are too many Trumps,” John Sides, a government professor at Vanderbilt University who has co-authored books on the last two presidential elections, told the New Yorker. “That doesn’t mean he can’t win. It just means it will be a different type of primary.”
No Longer An Outsider
This primary Donald Trump will not be able to pose as an outsider. He won’t be different from his other rivals, such as Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, and Mike Pompeo, who have substantial government experience.
It Takes Three Issues to Make a Winning Campaign
As a general rule, successful candidates often run on no more than three issues. Any more, and the public tends to tune out.
So far, in his two main addresses, since he declared his third presidential election, Donald Trump has a litany of issues that may confuse voters regarding what he wants to accomplish if he gets back to the White House.
We Have Heard This Before
The first main thrust is that Trump always rehashes his false claim that he won the 2020 election over Biden. Then he accuses the Democrats of being the party of socialists and communists.
Next he reminds supporters about the chaos at the southern border, the need to take the fight to drug cartels in Mexico, his desire to take away funding for public schools that teach critical race theory, and a plea to stop the Biden administration’s war on energy.
That’s not all. He wants to rebuild the economy, reduce taxes, cut Chinese imports, and keep China from investing in American properties that put the country at risk.
The End for Donald Trump?
That’s eight issues.
And these are familiar talking points that Republicans already tried to run on in the 2022 Midterms. It’s just too many subjects for the low-information, ordinary, and independent voters to process. Alternatively, the Democrats in 2022 ran on abortion rights, saving Democracy, and against MAGA extremism. That’s three. You can argue they were successful with that succinct platform.
People running against Trump can simply agree with the former president and take those eight issues off the table so that everyone would be running on the same thing. Trump will not enjoy the separation from the rest of the field that he had in 2016. There is plenty of time for Trump to whittle down his wish list of policy stances. He can test the applause lines he gets in speeches and run baseline polls to see what Republicans most care about, but what he is running on now looks like an unoriginal and unfocused laundry list of complaints.
This lack of freshness could stymie his re-election effort and end his political career if he is not careful. Oh what will Donald Trump do?
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.