Donald J. Trump’s chances of winning the GOP Primary are high.
Sadly, the likelihood that he’ll ever step foot in the White House again are low, because voters in a General Election are unlikely to support his reelection campaign.
The Biden Campaign and the Democratic Party know this. They want very badly to run against a Trump who is distracted by the politically charged investigations they’re subjecting the forty-fifth president to.
The Democrats want to make it a battle between two highly unpopular men, where it comes down to a personality battle (because Democrats aren’t wrong in assuming that more independent voters will go for Joe Biden over Donald Trump, however slightly).
Donald Trump is Seen as “Dishonest” and “Corrupt”
In fact, a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll asked voters to describe both President Joe Biden and former President Donald J. Trump.
“Old” and “confused” were the two top words that people polled used to describe Biden whereas “corrupt” and “dishonest” was how they described Trump.
Frankly, if I were a betting man and had to place bets on which candidate most people would break for—old/confused or corrupt/dishonest—I’d assume most voters would break for Biden, even if they had deep reservations about him (and most certainly do).
If Trump were to be made the GOP nominee in 2024, those perceptions of him would only be reinforced, as Trump’s various legal trials are being timed to coincide perfectly with key moments in the presidential election. Voters will be taking to the polls, then, as Trump’s various legal trials are getting underway and more accusations from those trials are undoubtedly leaked to the press.
Then there is the funding issue. In June, it was reported that Governor DeSantis had outraised the Trump Campaign by almost five million dollars. On the end of the spectrum, the Biden Campaign had gone gangbusters and outstripped Trump’s money by nearly double what he had earned.
Plus, whatever funds the Trump Campaign has garnered, they have had to spend mostly on Trump’s evolving legal troubles while none of his competitors have been made to do the same.
By sheer mass of money, Donald Trump’s enemies will have decisive advantages over him. Many of his supporters argue that this was precisely the problem that Trump faced in 2016 and he was able to overcome it with a more dynamic campaign.
It’s Not 2016, No Matter How Badly Trump Wants It to Be…
In 2016, however, Donald Trump was the underdog who did not have a political record. What’s more, after he secured the GOP nomination, he was able to garner the requisite support from the deep-pocketed donors he needed to compete against Hillary Clinton. In 2024, all those factors are different—and they’re working against the forty-fifth president in many instances.
Not to put too fine a point on this matter, unlike in 2016, this time around former President Trump has serious (and escalating) legal problems that are diverting both his attention and limited campaign resources.
The notion that Trump can wage a full-blown presidential campaign as well as four legal trials without losing any support or missing a step is ridiculous. It’s highly irresponsible for him to even attempt to mount a serious presidential campaign while the specter of those four major trials are hanging over him.
And should the former president be found guilty of any charges related to the accusations that he incited an insurrection on January 6 or attempted to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election results in Georgia that year (as part of some cockamamie plot to unduly change the outcome of that year’s election), Trump may find that his name does not even appear on the ballots in multiple states.
In fact, many legal experts are arguing that if he were to be found guilty in either the Georgia state case or the federal prosecution of him for January 6-related charges, Trump would be automatically disqualified from ever holding any public office ever again under Article Three of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Ron DeSantis Must Be the Nominee
Meanwhile, the Republicans are split. Large numbers are “ride or die” for former President Trump while the rest are scattered among a multitude of other candidates, namely Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis and the biotech billionaire, Vivek Ramaswamy.
But Ron DeSantis remains the number one challenger to Donald Trump for the GOP nomination. If DeSantis were able to best Trump, all those polls showing Biden barely beating Trump in a General Election fundamentally shift toward the Republicans’ favor, if Ron DeSantis is the nominee.
DeSantis has no problem garnering campaign donations—and using that money exclusively for campaign-related business—while he is the least corrupt of all politicians running for office in the 2024 Presidential Election. More importantly, DeSantis’ record as governor of Florida is stellar.
DeSantis would surely defeat Joe Biden’s reelection bid. Donald Trump, on the other hand, would struggle greatly. It makes little sense for Trump to run under these conditions, or for the Republican National Committee (RNC) to ultimately allow for his nomination.
Donald Trump should focus on saving himself from his current legal troubles…and ingratiating himself with the next Republican Party presidential candidate who could, if they won reelection, pardon Trump from whatever federal laws he is ultimately found guilty of having broken.
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 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 (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense. He can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.
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