Former president Donald Trump’s campaign to become the next Republican presidential nominee is continuing to gain steam as Trump ramps up his rally appearances ostensibly in an effort to solidify his lead and ensure that he becomes the next Republican presidential nominee.
The former chief executive is currently engaging in a heavy push in Iowa, a critical state for presidential candidates – both Republican and Democrat – as it is the first state that kicks off the primary elections for both parties. The Hawkeye State has the potential to serve as a campaign’s launchpad, setting a positive pace as it goes through the remaining U.S. states, or it could signify that a candidate should hang up his or her hat and call it a day.
The Trump train is full-steam ahead, and there seems to be no stopping it now.
Republican anti-Trump movements lost steam
And it’s not like Republican movers and shakers were united behind the former president. Earlier, several conservative groups and Super PACs pledged to fight against Trump’s continued strong influence within the GOP. But none have really put up any significant funding to support any other Republican canidate.
“The anti-Trumpers, by and large, are not even getting engaged in the Republican primary this year,” Lucy Caldwell told ABC News. Caldwell, a political strategist, served as Joe Walsh campaign manager for Republican Joe Walsh in 2020.
Another thing observers have pointed out is that organizations that are pushing for a non-Trump GOP presidential candidate aren’t really going hard after the former president and are instead focusing on his winnability versus Biden rather than the former’s numerous lawsuits or his age (Trump is only three years younger than Biden, whom many Republicans say is too old for a second term).
“We continue to find that Trump’s support is soft — he is the weakest candidate against Joe Biden, and a significant number of his supporters are open to an alternative. Those are the voters we’re focused on persuading,” said Emily Seidel, a senior adviser for Americans for Prosperity Action, another Republican anti-Trump group.
Other behind-the-scenes decision-makers and strategists in the GOP are also saying that none of the other candidates are providing donors “a reason to invest,” especially given Trump’s current and universal commanding lead in polls for the Republican primary.
At best, the continued campaigns by the other candidates and the subsequent debates might eventually shrink the playing field and allow potential Republican donors who aren’t too keen on part 2 or Trump in the White House to take a closer look and determine if other alternatives for the GOP presidential nomination have the potential to beat the former president.
For supporters, Trump can do no wrong
Trump continues to surge forward in the polls among GOP voters, scoring an average of 55.1% support among Republicans, compared to the 13.3% support secured by second-place Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
And another recent poll from the ABC News/Washington Post shows Trump performing slightly better than President Joe Biden in terms of disapproval ratings – Biden has a 56% disapproval rating compared to Trump’s 49%.
If an election were to happen today, the poll also showed a narrow Trump victory, with the former president scoring 51% support among voters versus the current White House occupant’s 42%.
As such, even with strong numbers in the polls – at least among GOP voters, Trump is campaigning heavily in the state of late, and many, if not all, his rallies are packed to the stands. Trump fever has not died down.
News outlet The Guardian interviewed several attendees in a rally for the former commander-in-chief in Dubuque, Iowa, where many expressed confidence in both past and potentially future actions by Trump, despite multiple lawsuits and indictments filed against him. And the sentiment isn’t limited to older people – even a first-time voter said she felt that the country was in better shape when Trump was in office.
“He got persecuted and I like him even better now,” said a 59-year-old bank worker. “If we don’t get him back in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where he belongs, we’re in a mess, man,” said another attendee, who drove nine hours through the night just to be at the rally.
Tim Ramos has written for various publications, corporations, and organizations – covering everything from finance, politics, travel, entertainment, and sports – in Asia and the U.S. for more than 10 years.
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