If Sean Spicer says it, it must be so.
Speaking of the former Trump press secretary’s statement last week that his old boss was definitely planning to run for president again in 2024. Such juicy speculation has been rampant for a long time -- or at least since it was commonly accepted that Trump wouldn’t be president after the last election -- but prior to now, the gossip typically originated with someone outside the inner circle or from blowhard liberal cable news guests who hoped to bring attention to themselves by employing Trump’s name in the political candidate capacity.
Such news would be greeted with excitement and energy from about half the voting public and flat out reviled by the other half. It’s roughly the difference between a tingle up your spine and the feeling of your skin crawling. Take your pick.
There’s a long way to go until Trump would have to declare either way, but it’s August in a non-federal election year, so why not open up the floodgates early and let the anticipation flow? After all, the establishment media already seems to be out of gas talking about the “bipartisan” infrastructure bill, and Dr. Anthony Fauci wore out his welcome in credible debate forums long ago. So why not talk about Trump 2024?
“Signals have been pouring out of former President Donald Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, resort that he’s heading in the direction of another run for the presidency. It was sparked by reports from former chief of staff Mark Meadows that Trump was meeting with his 2024 ‘Cabinet’ to judge the field he might face.
“And now, his former press secretary and adviser, Sean Spicer, is just saying it. ‘He’s in,’ he said during a preview interview of his upcoming book…
“Spicer said that the last few months of bumbles by the Biden White House, especially on Trump issues such as immigration, have encouraged the former president to look beyond the 2022 midterm elections during which he plans to be a ‘kingmaker.’ What’s more, said Spicer, who hosts Spicer & Co. on Newsmax TV, Trump has banked $102 million, lost weight, and has kept his approval ratings high.”
On Spicer’s last point, approval ratings, it’s a matter of dispute. One recent poll showed Trump well under 50 percent on the question of whether he should run again, which isn’t exactly a warm and fuzzy number for someone weighing his political future.
The old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is definitely true in Trump’s case, at least among the tens of millions of Americans who voted for the incumbent in last year’s election. Perhaps because of being totally and unfairly banned from all social media platforms, glimpses of Trump have been somewhat rare in the past six-plus months. Sure, there’s been the occasional speech or rally here and there -- and his trek down to the border with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was pure brilliance -- but compared with the previous five years when there was an hour-by-hour nonstop news glut on the man, the public has been starved of Trump.
Both ends of the ideological spectrum have experienced a loss. And every new president has a tough challenge to fill the void created by his predecessor -- at least in terms of the figurehead part of the job -- but senile Joe Biden has been a terrible follow-up act. It’s like paying for a concert and the main attraction opens the show instead of a scrub band that nobody’s heard of and no fans are there to hear the music. Biden is a mumbling mess of a man, a geriatric care facility escapee who somehow was put in power. We’re hungry for some substance.
Speaking of starving -- Spicer’s right, the glimpses of the post-presidency Trump reveal a much leaner but not necessarily meaner version of the longtime real estate developer and TV celebrity who lived large at the White House for four years. One imagines that Trump still engages in his favored “ordinary man food” diet consisting of McDonald’s and other common cuisine, but perhaps he’s listened to advice and toned it down a bit. It could only help his cause, right?
Weight loss alone won’t make Trump a more appealing candidate to the people who hate him, probably 95 percent of which would rather take cyanide pills than give him another chance at politics. Political resurrections happen all the time -- just ask South Carolina’s Mark Sanford (who came back from purgatory to be elected to Congress only to be kicked out again in a GOP primary) -- but there’s never been one that would compare to Trump’s should it actually happen. If he were to somehow reappear in the public eye as a serious presidential contender, the backlash from the already agitated Left would be furious.
Many, many conservatives would rejoice. But many others would take a step back and say, “We need to think about what we’re doing here.”
And it’s not just the nebulous nincompoops of the #NeverTrump crowd, either. It’s legitimate conservatives, too, such as R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. of the American Spectator who declared in a January column, “I’m Finished with Trump.” Time and events may have changed some minds, and subsequent investigations and studies have shown that Trump was right about much of his election fraud claims, but there’s a sizable group of former supporters who wouldn’t have gone as far as impeaching the president leaving office but still wouldn’t ever consider electing him again.
I personally know of a couple strong Trump backers who voiced similar feelings to Tyrrell’s -- along the lines of “Never Again.” Have their hearts healed in the interim time? Has senile Joe and the Kamala show been medicine enough to convince them that even the over-the-top Trump act is preferable to more sick years of Democrat rule? This is something Trump and his close advisors will need to figure out. Maybe they’d better send emissaries to those who publicly cut ties with the president and discern whether it’s doable.
Spicer was correct about Trump’s fundraising and his huge cash war chest should he decide to come back to the big show. Only a fool would discount Trump’s chances to win another GOP nomination, and here’s thinking any sane Republican wouldn’t even chance it with a career-ending suicide run. But once the requisite number of delegates were secured in the primaries, the focus would turn to the 2024 presidential election. And all heck would break loose.
The pathetic polling industry would produce surveys showing Biden, Kamala -- or whoever -- with a double-digit lead over the Republican challenger. Pundits would pore over the data and say Trump can’t win. Every establishment media outlet would run footage from January 6 on a never-ending loop while appealing to the gullible people (let’s face it, there are a LOT of them) to reject four more years of “divisiveness, white supremacy and hate.”
The haters will trot out doomsayers like Dr. Anthony Fauci, Rochelle Walensky (who made her queen?) and any other face from the CDC or NIH to forecast another pandemic that needs tight government control to contain. They’ll charge Trump with “not being serious” and dig out ancient news reports that insinuated Trump was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. Joe Biden will claim, “If only I’d been in charge from the beginning, all those people would be alive today.”
The so-called Trump Republican opposition would crow about how they’d prefer Biden’s “civility” to Trump’s straightforward, hard-hitting, establishment-slamming political style. Democrats will threaten years’ worth of George Floyd-style protests and riots if Trump becomes president again.
With all due respect to Sean Spicer, I believe Trump has not yet made up his mind about running in 2024 and his temptation likely fluctuates from day to day as to the wisdom of such a venture. There are several good reasons for waiting it out. First, Trump needs to see how the inane lawsuits against him unfold and whether liberals will succeed in compelling the release of his tax information. Nothing good can come from it; the question is how damaging it would be.
Second, Trump’s immediate focus is on the 2022 midterm elections. He knows that electing GOP majorities in both chambers of Congress is the ticket to ensuring that the Biden administration is the utter failure that the truth-challenged Democrats deserve, and there’s no better way to accomplish the feat than kicking Nancy Pelosi out of the Speaker’s chair and sending “Chucky” Schumer back to minority leader whiner/status where he belongs.
Lastly, there are a number of promising younger and MAGA-dedicated conservatives in the Republican Party, and they’d do just as good a job at carrying the message and the mission forward, all the while giving Trump credit for starting the movement.
His legacy complete, Trump wouldn’t need to put himself and his family before the haters again.
Time will tell whether Donald Trump decides that a 2024 run in the best thing for himself and the country. It’s always interesting for someone like Sean Spicer to do the thinking -- and announcing -- for his old boss, but in the end, there’s only one person who will pick the course. And that person has a lot of options to choose from. Stay tuned.
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