WASHINGTON — The Trump train has been stuck at the station since Tuesday, when it was loaded with new baggage such as corporate tax-fraud convictions, and a midterm defeat.
According to Republican strategists, Trump has not shown the same energy or the behavior that drove voters to expel him two years ago in the three weeks since he launched a comeback bid from the Mar-a-Lago ballroom.
Trump’s short campaign has seen him dine with Ye, a rapper who has been on antisemitic tirades over the past few weeks, as well as white nationalist Nick Fuentes. Trump has advocated for the ” Termination” to articles of the Constitution in an effort to reverse his defeat in 2020.
Two Trump companies were found guilty Tuesday of tax fraud. In recent days, he watched in helplessness as Congress handed his tax records to him. He then dragged his White House attorneys before a grand jury and helped facilitate an investigation into the White House’s removal of classified documents.
On Tuesday night Herschel Walker’s defeat in the Georgia Senate runoff added a final point to the argument about Trump harming the GOP by choosing a poor crop of candidates from swing states. Trump’s Monday tele-rally against Walker did not provide the needed boost.
“Frankly, [he should have] waited[to launch a campaign until] after Georgia’s contest was decided,” stated Michael Biundo (a national Republican strategist who advised Trump in 2016). He is based in New Hampshire which will host the first GOP Primary. “I found the rollout rushed and insufficient. It gets a D-minus.
Biundo’s observation is shared widely across the GOP, and even among Trump confidants. Many Republicans also believe that Trump holds an almost magical grip over party faithful, who don’t care about the opinions of elites.
“The stuff that you see on the news and the influencer-types of Twitter, you are not seeing that on Trump’s ground,” stated Wes Donehue (a top Republican digital strategist) from South Carolina. He holds the first South Carolina primary.
He stated that Trump still controls the Republican Party, with all the people he talks to, regardless of whether they are in county parties or conservatives at the bar or men at the gym. People are not paying attention to the media and the influencers. Trump is the one who will lose. Trump country is South Carolina. Here, Trump is very popular. They also like Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis. They think he’s the future. But Trump is the present.
Trump has not offered much of a new vision for America. Trump has not blitzed the country in his signature rallies and, GOP insiders claim, has left potential rivals for 2024’s presidential nomination shaking in their wake. As the Virginia governor shows, there are some signs that other Republicans, even potential challengers to Trump, are less willing to criticize him. Glenn Youngkin and other critics criticized Trump’s remarks about the Constitution.
Youngkin stated Tuesday at a Wall Street Journal conference that “I have seen the other party really undermine many of the constitutional principles I hold dear.” “I believe our job is to protect and defend the Constitution.”
Youngkin, despite the indirect reproach, refused to answer the question that he was being asked: Whether Trump has disqualified himself from running for the presidency as Republican Party nominee.
According to a Trump 2020 campaign official, Trump’s sputtering launch may have the opposite effect.
The intention of this was to be the front-runner, scare everyone out and come out. But all that has happened in the last few weeks is to encourage donors and voters window-shopping,” said the source who didn’t want to criticize the leader of the de facto party. This is the problem with being out so early and not being strong: It only forces people to search for other options.
According to a survey by WPA Intelligence, DeSantis is more popular than Trump among Trump’s 2020 supporters. This was done as part of a review on the midterm elections. According to the poll, DeSantis’ net favorability in Trump voters was +69 and Trump’s was +44. Only a small fraction of Republicans (40 percent to 37%) said Trump should not be considered the leader or face of the GOP.
Mike Pence, former Vice President, is currently on a book tour to promote his book “So Help Me God.” He’s also considering a bid for 2024, along with a number of ex-Trumpworld figures and anti Trump Republicans. John Bolton, Trump’s former national security advisor, said Monday to NBC’s Kristen Welker that he would consider running for president to challenge Trump if the other candidates don’t want to deny Trump’s comments on Constitution.
Bolton stated, “I would like to see Shermanesque statements by all the possible candidates.” “If that isn’t possible, I will seriously consider applying.”
Trump’s campaign and defenders insist that no one has yet filed against him. They also claim that he is gaining endorsements and campaigning under-the radar by speaking to selected conservative groups such as the Republican Jewish Coalition or providing prerecorded video messages for the Patriots Freedom Fund which represents those charged in the Jan. 6, Capitol riot.
Steven Cheung, a Trump spokesperson, stated that “This is a marathon” and that the game plan was being implemented despite the fact that the presidential calendar has not been established yet and the 2022 midterm cycles are still ongoing. “We are not going to get lectured by political swamp creatures looking for ways to make quick buck 2024 by running to media and giving cowardly background quotations. Trump is the most powerful force in politics. People, especially those who claim to be close to him, should not doubt his ability win in a decisive manner.
Trump’s familiarity with voters and his early start give him an advantage over other hopefuls who are teetering in the 2024 arena.
“Other candidates are just exploring how they could increase their name IDs and increase their exposure,” stated a Republican with Trump connections who requested anonymity to share his thoughts. “But they’re doing nothing to actually say, ‘I’m running.’
Matt Moore, the former chairman of South Carolina Republican Party said that he hasn’t seen any evidence of anyone running for office in his early primary state.
Moore stated that Trump “hasn’t done much anywhere” at this time. Moore said that Trump could still put on the afterburners at one point. Trump is still very popular in this country.”
Republican primary rules give convention delegates in adisproportionate amount to candidates who win pluralities of state nominating contests. Trump could win the nomination, just like he did in 2016, but not get more than half of the votes in states with multiple candidates.
A long-time adviser outside of the campaign acknowledged some early mistakes, but said it wouldn’t matter if they were corrected by the time candidates actually begin to run for the votes.
Let’s forget about the holidays. “Then, in early 2023 I expect Trump’s campaign to begin rolling out an effort for early primary states to secure,” the advisor said. Trump will be tough to beat if he can gather early primary support and if he can raise lots of money. If you fail to make it by June next year, or if you are just sputtering along, expect serious challenges.”
It is not clear if Trump will be able raise enough money to compete in the general election in 2024. His campaign struggled to keep pace with the huge infusion of cash that put Democrat Joe Biden into the White House. Some of the money earmarked for Trump’s win this time around has been diverted to lawyers who are involved in various proceedings against him.
The Washington Post reported this past week that Trump’s Save America PAC raised conflict-of interest concerns and decreased cash reserves to support his campaign by paying legal fees for witnesses.
Many Republican strategists have refused to criticize Trump’s infancy, citing the dual realities of his early stumbles and persistence formidability.
“As you can see, it would make an enormous difference if we were on the record or not,” stated one national GOP strategist. He agreed to be quoted under the condition that anonymity because he has clients that don’t want Trump to cross his path.
The strategist stated that Trump must come out of the block looking like a winner presidential candidate in 2024.