Independents – Can He Win Them Back? Former President Donald J. Trump is riding high. Even after getting indicted (with many other indictments in the offing), his support among likely Republican voters in the 2024 Presidential Election has only increased.
Unless Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis can mount an effective challenge to the forty-fifth president’s reelection campaign, Trump will likely walk away with the GOP nomination where he will face off against President Joe Biden.
Winning the Republican Primary, though, is the least of Trump’s problems. Who cares about winning that if he is just going to lose in the General Election as he did in 2020?
Under present conditions, sadly, Donald Trump will likely lose the General Election. The reason that Donald Trump is slated to lose is because he doesn’t poll well with independent voters. Sure, this was the case with his unlikely election bid in 2016.
There is a difference, though, between then and now.
One of These Things Is Not Like the Other…
Back in 2016, people wanted someone different; someone from outside the political class who might be able to solve some problems. What’s more, they wanted a businessman.
With no real political record and with his tough-as-nails, brash business persona cemented in the minds of the public, Donald Trump fit the bill. People were willing to take a chance on him in 2016. Plus, Trump spoke differently from most other Republicans.
He merged the most popular talking points of the Republican with those of the Democrats. That’s how he was able to break the vaunted Blue Wall in 2016 that ultimately defeated Hillary Clinton.
Since that time, though, many voters have soured on Trump—notably independents, college-educated women, and minorities (although it should be noted that Trump in 2020 got more minority votes than any previous Republican president in decades).
In 2018, though he was not on the ballot that year, the midterms were a referendum on Trump. Trump’s preferred candidates and the overall GOP did poorly in that election.
Following that loss, Trump went into the 2020 reelection campaign hobbled by the novel coronavirus which emanated from Wuhan, China.
Whereas before the pandemic, Trump was likely coasting to reelection, the moment the pandemic hit the United States, voters soured on Trump. This is particularly true of the independent voters. Independent voters were never sanguine with Trump’s mad Twitter habit or with his seemingly volatile and intemperate behavior.
They tolerated it because the economy was doing well. COVID-19, though, brought about a massive economic downturn. That fact, coupled with his uneven public response to COVID-19, turned off many voters. It made it that much easier for the Democrats to galvanize their own base and then combine those voters with the disaffected independent voters.
The reason that Joe Biden appealed to independent voters was because, if you can believe it, he came across as the stabler of the two candidates. He was America’s friendly grandpa figure whereas Trump was supposedly America’s crazy, racist uncle.
Donald Trump is Delusional About 2024
The Trump Campaign believes that they can override the factors that contributed to Biden’s victory in 2020 from being advantages for the Democrats in 2024 because COVID-19 is no longer a factor and because the economy is likely to be in the doldrums when voting takes place.
Yet, the Trump Campaign is playing a dangerous and desperate game. The American electorate today is decidedly more left-leaning than it was the last time that a successful candidate made the basis of their presidential campaign predicated on “it’s the economy, stupid!”
Today, we have the rise of chic voters who place a premium value on electing the cooler, more popular candidate. Pop culture loathes Trump much more than they have resented previous Republican presidential candidates.
That, along with the female vote that seems to be simultaneously threatened by Trump’s presence on the ballot and they are under the impression that Trump wants to place them back inside the kitchen…or something.
Why does this matter?
Because the Trump brand has been so badly sullied by his enemies over the last six years and by his own unforced errors that Trump is not going to be able to reverse his unappealing nature to most independent voters.
Trump is Not the Man of the Hour Any Longer
The only real hope that the forty-fifth president has on breaking through resides in the fact that the election will be a binary choice between himself and Joe Biden. If that’s the case, Trump’s team reasons, independents will be forced to choose—and they will likely vote with their wallets after having endured the last four years of Biden’s presidency.
If the GOP nominated Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, these calculations would work well in favor of the Republicans. But Trump is a different kind of Republican nominee. He can get the nomination but, unless the country is literally a smoldering pile of manure in 2024—and unless enough voters blame Joe Biden—he’ll lose to Biden, no matter how weak or pathetic Biden’s leadership has thus far been.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.