GOP holds a razor thin majority in the House and not so lucky in the Senate…..and then the big announcement by his royal highness, Trump, that he will seek the GOP nomination for the 2024 election.
All is good, right?
But what are his chances of success?
“A former president hasn’t sought a nonconsecutive second term or faced criminal investigation in generations, and Trump is doing both,” writes Nathaniel Rakich at FiveThirtyEight. So what are The Donald’s chances of winning the Republican presidential primary? Pretty good, in Rakich’s view. Yes, it’s still very early but Trump currently leads in polling, registering “in the high 40s or low 50s, 20-30 points ahead of his closest competitor, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis” in most national surveys, Rakich writes. “Historically, from 1972 to 2016, candidates with high name recognition who polled in the 40s and 50s nationally won the nomination more than 75% of the time.”
Former Sen. Ted Kennedy is the only figure in that category to lose out. He “lost the 1980 Democratic primary despite polling at an average of 47% in the first half of 1979,” Rakich writes. Though Kennedy was up against sitting president Jimmy Carter, this “shows that Trump’s nomination isn’t inevitable.” The tide could easily turn against Trump. As Rakich notes, “DeSantis is polling higher than he did earlier in the year.” It’s also possible that an indictment of the former president “could affect Republican voters’ perceptions of Trump’s electability in a general election.” But for now, Republican voters are on his side. One poll shows 80% have a favorable view of Trump compared to 11% with an unfavorable view.
The midterms may have hurt Trump as his “endorsees did fail to win certain highly watched contests, like the primary for Georgia governor.” Overall, though, voters backed “82% of the nonincumbents he endorsed in contested Republican primaries for Senate, House and governor.” Sure, Trump occasionally “endorsed candidates who were already well on their way to winning,” but his endorsement did seem to benefit certain candidates, including JD Vance in the Ohio Senate race. All this suggests Republican voters are loyal to Trump “or at least his vision for the party,” Rakich writes. He adds a crowded Republican field “could divide the anti-Trump vote, making it easier for him to win.”
So his chances are good according to some….will this set a precedent for ex-presidents?
Donald Trump isn’t the first defeated ex-president to attempt another White House run, but he does join an exclusive club. Writing for Politico, Joshua Zeitz looks at previous comeback attempts, and though he finds no overarching pattern, he does find some perspective in the candidates’ motivations.
- Four have tried, beginning with Martin van Buren, aka the “Little Magician,” a wily political operative who won in 1836 but was defeated in 1840 amid a recession. According to Zeitz, van Buren’s comeback was motivated by power, which he never regained. He lost the nomination to James Polk in 1844 and was resigned to running as a spoiler with the third-party Free Soil Party in 1848.
- By contrast, Grover Cleveland ran again out of boredom, emerging from retirement to unseat an unpopular Benjamin Harrison in 1892. That election was decided by a few swing voters in a highly polarized electorate—one precedent Trump may take to heart.
- Teddy Roosevelt served two terms from 1901–09 and declined a third, but he always regretted the decision. After being outmaneuvered by party bosses to lose the Republican nomination in 1912, Roosevelt created the Bull Moose Party, a third-party champion of progressive causes. Ultimately, he split the Republican vote and handed the presidency to Democrat Woodrow Wilson.
- Last comes Herbert Hoover, a one-termer who was trounced by FDR in 1932. Hoover ran again in 1940—largely out of spite, according to Zeitz—but lost the Republican nomination to Wendell Willkie. What motivates Trump? According to an opinion by George T. Conway III in the Washington Post, Trump seeks vengeance and a shield from prosecution.
Is this a good thing or just another ploy by the former dude?
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”