It’s been said too many times to count, but Donald Trump is not on the ballot in any state or locality on November 8.
Yet there isn’t a political figure in the country – except maybe for senile president Joe Biden – who will engender more discussion in the establishment media on Election Night and beyond. As would be expected whenever Trump is involved, it’s been a tumultuous two years since the Republican standard bearer came up short in the 2020 election, and his up again, down again, up again journey has made Americans dizzy as they tried keeping up with the trends of the day, week or month.
The waiting game would appear to end soon, however, as after Joe Biden’s midterm election test concludes next week, there’s little preventing possible hopefuls for 2024 from declaring their intentions. Many possible challengers to Trump and Biden have been mentioned, but it’s not even for sure yet that the 2020 competitors will try their hand at another physically draining campaign.
There are innumerable clues, however. In an opinion piece titled “Trump Force One ready to take off for ‘24 presidential campaign”, Charles Hurt wrote at The Washington Times:
“The very issues that are propelling Republicans to victory are the very issues that Mr. Trump brought to the forefront of the party. No longer the party of wealthy Wall Street white people, Mr. Trump’s Republican Party is the party of working Americans.
“Mr. Trump’s Republican Party is the party of law and order. Mr. Trump’s Republican Party is the party of border security. And — increasingly — Mr. Trump’s Republican Party is becoming the party of Hispanic Americans. Mr. Trump’s Republican Party is the party of freedom. Mr. Trump can also take credit for the army of rising stars in his new Republican Party who are fighting and winning in places the Grouchy Old Party had flamed out.
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Kari Lake in Arizona are two of the hottest rising Republican rock stars who are in the mold of Donald Trump. In addition to embracing Mr. Trump’s ‘MAGA agenda,’ they fight with the same level of zeal and intensity. Like it or not, today’s Republican Party belongs to Mr. Trump. And so does tomorrow’s.”
And the next day’s after that and the next day’s after that and so and so on and so on… Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
But Hurt is most definitely correct in suggesting Trump is majorly responsible for the GOP’s apparent resurgence this year. Trump may not be in office anymore and he no longer commands half the time on every nightly news broadcast (in a negative way, of course), but the journos still come a runnin’ whenever Trump has something to say. And they never have long to wait.
In his piece, Hurt pointed out that the airliner Trump used for his 2016 campaign that was mothballed during his presidency has been revived and refurbished and appears ready to go on his next and last nationwide barnstorming tour running for the 2024 GOP nomination. The Washington Times columnist also indicated that Trump has a new political staff. If he weren’t truly planning another political operation, why would he bother with putting everything in place?
The only question is when Trump will issue the marching orders. Since he’s waited this long, I can’t imagine he’ll give the word before the dust settles on next week’s elections. Everyone agrees there’s a lot riding on the outcomes for Trump.
For the moment, let’s assume Trump’s decision to run again in 2024 is already made and the actual words uttered from his mouth are just a formality. How will you feel when the former president makes it official?
Will you get a rush of adrenaline similar to seven-plus years ago when he made good on the rumors of a Trump presidential run by dramatically riding down the escalator at Trump Tower to the tune of Neil Young’s “Rockin' in the Free World”? Would your reaction depend on the grandness of the staging of the event, or would a simple ceremony at Mar-a-Lago suffice to mark the occasion?
Can’t you picture Trump renting out an 80,000-seat football stadium and packing it to capacity with hordes of ravenous MAGA fans to cheer on another presidential campaign? Far be it from Trump to ever go small in his media presentations. What notable Republican would turn down an invitation to appear as such an extravaganza? Trump could offer new leaders like Kari Lake and Herschel Walker a few minutes at such a show. It would be epic.
Or would you treat his announcement as a foregone conclusion and not bother tuning in to the formality or even make a special note to view news coverage of his speech later in the day? Donald Trump reentering the American political scene has been the worst kept secret for well over a year now, ever since it became evident that Americans had not only forgiven the former chief executive for his past behavioral indiscretions, they’re hankering for more Trump-isms.
Will you shake your head and utter “Oh no, not again” at the thought of another round of labeling, bombast, showmanship, staff shake-ups, confrontations with the press, battles with Democrats and a tone-deafness that is characteristic of no one but Trump himself? My guess is while most conservatives will be energized at Trump’s initial go-ahead, the feelings will fade into more of this variety unless Trump demonstrates some “new and improved” 2.0 version – and soon.
Beyond this, what has allowed Trump to accomplish his Phoenix-like recovery from the political ashes? The subject is well-worn, but several factors heavily contributed to his likely return.
First and foremost, as is true for practically every ex-president, the public’s impressions of the man become warmer the farther away time moves from the rancor and non-stop media coverage of his administration. This is only partially true in Trump’s particular case since liberals still hate him with the fire of a thousand suns and would never, ever, consider welcoming the MAGA founder back no matter what.
But the significant band of conservatives who publicly announced a permanent break with Trump after the final days of his administration appear to be whistling a different tune in recent times. After the shock of January 6, 2021 wore off – and the true facts of what really went on that day rolled in – the prospect of Trump presiding over a changed Republican Party again didn’t seem so preposterous.
Trump will be years older than when he left Washington nearly two trips ‘round the sun ago, though he appears to have done some work on his person (in the form of losing weight and rest) and looks just as vigorous as he always has. Though the orange sheen of the 2015-16 campaign is noticeably gone, Trump’s makeover hasn’t altered his overall polished appearance.
Contrast Trump’s personal vigor with the broken-down phony “youth” of senile Joe Biden. The current president jogs whenever he feels the cameras are on him in an attempt to portray himself as a physically fit near-octogenarian who could handle another four years in the White House pressure cooker. At other times he shuffles, shakes hands with phantom friends and seems lost while strolling on his own executive mansion grounds.
No amount of establishment consultant packaging and former Obama aides’ advice would add a transparent layer of goodness to ol’ senile Joe. He’s baked.
Second, Trump’s recovery from political Hades was helped by his banishment from social media. This claim may be counterintuitive for many because lots of conservatives believed it was a good thing for Trump to use Twitter up to a hundred times a day when he was president, though his absence from the Big Tech platforms has removed one of the main sources of ammunition for his enemies to assault him.
I recall a conversation I had with a good friend about a year into Trump’s presidency. When I queried said pal about what he thought of Trump’s performance thus far, he simply replied “Trump Tweets too much”. I doubt his impressions were unique. Twitter and Facebook became a double-edged sword for Trump, and by and large, he has benefitted from being away from it.
Now that Twitter is under the guidance of anti-censorship leader Elon Musk, will Trump dive back in? And will he have learned anything from his bad experiences with the platform years ago?
Third, the naked incompetence of Joe Biden and the Democrats has not only cracked the door for a Trump return, they’ve blown it wide open. Senile Joe ran as a “unity” candidate promising to “restore the soul of the nation” – whatever that means – but once in office, he proved to be the same old garden variety Democrat who can’t do anything without calling someone a racist or finding a way to anger decent people with “woke” nonsense.
Perhaps Biden was what folks needed to “wake” up and be reminded that Democrats don’t offer solutions, they divide and seek to conquer. We won’t be fooled again, though.
Lastly, the Biden Justice Department’s and the deep state’s rabid pursuit of Trump turned him into a sympathetic character, which paved the way for his soon-to-be dramatic return. Democrats could’ve left Trump alone and let the latent hostilities fizzle and burn out, but they didn’t. Instead, they only made it worse. Going after a former president on such baseless charges was bound to backfire. And backfire it did. Or it will, next week.
No one can say for sure when Donald Trump will toss his hat into the 2024 ring, but we shouldn’t have long to find out. All possible restraints evaporate after next week’s election and then the countdown to a Trump candidacy begins. What happens next is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for certain: it will be fascinating to witness.
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