Any Republican insider will freely admit that their party is stuck with Donald Trump as their so-called party leader. That is usually the case with either party when they have a president in or recently out of office.
There is also no doubt that many of the party’s national leaders wish they could find a way to free up the party and get out of Trump’s clutches, but any attempt to oust Trump is doomed to fail.
Michael Wolff, the author of three books about Donald Trump, in a recent article in the New York Times predicted that the former president will run again in 2024. That could be good or bad news for both political parties, but for the moderate Republicans, a second Trump candidacy may be the only way to get rid of Trump for good.
Wolff’s article lays out his thinking about Trump’s plans but I would add a few other signs that point to a Trump re-run.
To start with, Trump is a living, breathing, money machine. Since last November, he has raised $75 million in small and mostly modest donations. He claims he needed the money to contest the election results in places like Arizona and Georgia.
But to date he has not contributed one dollar towards any of those futile efforts, keeping all the money for himself.
Next year he will be asking his followers to donate again to help him elect his favorite candidates for the House and the Senate.
The chances of him giving most of that money away in large numbers is a joke. The ex-president can raise the dollars and has shown that once he has the bucks, he holds on to them for himself.
There are many Republican officeholders who are dying to declare their availability to run for president, but they are afraid to insult their party leader. Governors, senators and Congress members have traveled to Iowa and a few other key states, but once they arrive they pay homage to Trump and make believe their visit was just a tourist stop.
Mr. Trump, who forgets that he lost last year by a margin of seven million votes, has embarked on a series of campaign-style rallies to keep his personal brand alive. Each trip sends a message to the possible opponent that he is in charge of the party and isn’t ready to give up any of his control. It also prevents any of the possible candidates from raising serious money for 2024.
The freezing of the presidential field is also extending to possible candidates for the House and the Senate in 2021.
Anyone who declares for those offices must start out reciting the pledge of allegiance to Mr. Trump and then hope that they will get his backing. To date, all signs point to the fact that many of the eventual candidates may not be in the Republican mainstream and if too radical having the Trump brand may not save them.
Is Donald Trump stoppable and capable of being denied another run for office? While that is very iffy, there may be a number of obstacles to a Trump coronation.
The district attorney and attorney general investigation in New York is slowly building up. There has been one major indictment of a Trump employee but most people agree more charges are coming. Whether Donald Trump will ever be charged with a crime is anyone’s guess but it could happen.
There will be one other test of Trump’s invincibility. Many candidates next year, who have the Trump endorsement, may lose and cost the party the chance to win the House or the Senate.
If that happens it is possible that a number of challengers waiting in the wings will step forward and declare for the White House. If the 2021 elections go bad for Trump endorsed candidates he will have then lost all leverage for 2024.
Assuming Trump is the party’s candidate it’s hard to conceive that anyone with an approval rating of 32 percent can get back in the White House.
Plus to date, 54 percent of Republicans want a “new face” running. The real good news is if Trump runs and loses he will be out of our hair forever.