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The Right Resistance: Will Donald Trump be a candidate, kingmaker or peace broker in 2024?

Let’s face it -- there’s been a lot of talk lately about the possibility of another American civil war and what might go down between this country’s opposing ideological factions if our multitude of differences can’t be resolved through peaceful, ballot-box oriented means.

As strange as it sounds, such talk isn’t crazy. With American culture literally unravelling before our eyes and political violence – at least from the Left – becoming more and more visible and acceptable to prominent members of one of our two major parties, it could be only a matter of time before something serious happens. We all hope not – but conservatives are arming themselves in record numbers with the notion that self-defense is no longer just the primary responsibility of law enforcement; it’s everyone’s individual duty.


If you don’t believe it, ask the neighbors of the six Supreme Court justices who joined the majority opinion in the Dobbs case, or the keepers of pro-life pregnancy centers that are forced to spend a big chunk of their budgets for security, just to remain in operation. It’s a sad day when folks who have devoted their careers to helping women in a rough spot suddenly become the targets of violent leftist freaks who boast, “If abortion isn’t safe, than neither are you.”


The world is turning upside down. I’m not the only one who’s noticed.


But there may be another type of civil war in the works, too, one that (hopefully) won’t involve shooting and physical casualties but still could end up being pretty nasty, mean and destructive to one’s own self-interest. I’m speaking of the coming 2024 Republican presidential primary race, which increasingly looks to be a contest between former President Donald Trump waging a third presidential campaign to Make America Great Again and the portion of the GOP that is ready to run through the entire process to determine who is most fit to take on the Democrat nominee (senile president Joe Biden, cackling VP Kamala Harris, or some other lefty ideologue who occupies the “D” slot on the ballot). That person may be Donald Trump, and it might be someone else. There aren’t endless possibilities, but there are some good ones.


Trump hasn’t officially indicated whether he’s even running again but folks-in-the-know are signaling that he’s giving it his full consideration and would wager that he will do it, with one caveat. The former Oval Office holder seems to believe that, if he does run, there should be no one contesting his political hereditary claim to the Republican party’s nomination.


Trump is so self-assured that whomever would stand to challenge him could and should expect a battle like none other. Would it amount to a Republican civil war? That’s yet to be determined.


In a piece titled “‘Ready for Ron’ means ready for ‘Trump war’”, Eternal Trump critic Myra Adams wrote last week at The Hill:


“Upon reaching out to Ready for Ron, I asked what happens if Trump runs. Do they fight or surrender? In an email, Lilian Rodriguez-Baz, the PAC’s co-chair and chief legal counsel, answered: ‘We are specifically choosing to avoid participating in the endless speculation and hypotheticals for the 2024 race. Our focus is building up grassroots momentum for Ron DeSantis so that he can carry the America First agenda forward.’


“Moving ‘forward’ with the ‘America First agenda’ while the MAGA founder [Trump] is crazy-glued to the GOP throne means Ready for Ron and Gov. Ron are royally careening toward an uncivil Trump-style war.


“However, the most potentially significant intervening variable in modern political history is if Attorney General Merrick Garland is ‘ready’ to defend the rule of law and bring King Trump to justice for criminal actions relating to Jan. 6, 2021. And then, we all must be ready to expect the unexpected.”


The unexpected will become the expected if Democrats can’t restrain themselves. They never do. They’ll chase every lark and hope that it’s the key to finally getting Trump.


Adams’ last toxic point is sheer nonsense and hardly deserves additional commentary, but it shouldn’t be left to fester without a realistic retort. Should senile Joe Biden’s utterly corrupted and compromised AG, the above referenced Merrick Garland, take the bits and pieces of absurd Liz Cheney, Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi-fostered gossip, hearsay, hyperbole and innuendo and throw together some sort of criminal charges for Trump relating to January 6… we might just get that brother-vs-brother civil war I previewed above.


The old saying “There are two sides to every story” doesn’t make a difference in the Trump-hating world that Adams appears to inhabit. She can make fun of Trump fundraising emails and texts all she likes – and even jab at the recently created “Ready for Ron” website promoting a petition to draw the Florida Governor into the 2024 race – but if Democrats and the GOP establishment, of which Adams is a card-carrying member, pursue the January 6 committee farce to its ultimate extreme, there will be heck to pay.


Don’t play with fire unless you’ve got an extinguisher at the ready. Half of America won’t tolerate another political witch trial, especially since we’ve already lived through two such sideshows in the past two years (otherwise known as impeachment trials).


Merrick Garland is a coward and a fool. If he had any legitimate stones, Garland would be out chasing the miscreants who are terrorizing pro-life conservatives and then spending the conclusion of every workday delving into Hunter and the Biden family’s criminal business dealings with China and Ukraine. Instead, he chooses to detain American citizens for trumped-up January 6 crimes and fantasize over frog-marching a former president of the United States -- who didn’t behave the way leftists wanted him to do – into prison.


But the real question today is whether recent signs that Ron DeSantis is contemplating a 2024 run – which certainly includes the “Ready for Ron” website (even if he’s not officially affiliated with it) and last week’s Politico report that DeSantis was meeting with potential 2024 donors – translates to the Florida governor moving towards a confrontation with Trump.


If so, it suggests there will be a heated back-and-forth between the two. But surely DeSantis isn’t the only Republican setting the wheels in motion to vie for the 2024 Republican nomination. Trump remains at the top of the way-early polls for the top prize, but there aren’t any committed candidates, including himself, and there’s still plenty of time to form “exploratory committees” and do whatever presidential candidates do when they’re not actively campaigning.


There’s also one school of thought that Trump would benefit from a large field of fellow Republicans. The more credible competitors there are, the more the votes will or could be divided, and the more the fundraising pie will be sliced and divvied up to accommodate all those consultants, commercials, barnstorming tours of the early states and campaign fliers.


If 2016 is a guide, there could be a rather narrow anti-Trump establishment lane that will be filled by the likes of Liz Cheney, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan or some relative unknown who thinks he or she will remarkably catch a lighting bolt in a bottle and galvanize the country. I’ve said it a lot lately, such an “independent moderate” doesn’t exist. But someone will invariably try to be one. Who knows, maybe Duane “The Rock” Johnson will toss his hat into the ring.


Should Trump declare and there are three or four solid conservatives in addition to him – such as Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, DeSantis, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, Mike Pompeo, etc. – then the former president would almost certainly emerge with a plurality and maybe even a majority. But the campaign could be “bloody”, figuratively speaking. Trump would probably go ugly early in order to try and intimidate the others into getting out. “Lyin’ Ted” could make a comeback, and the frontrunner wouldn’t be kind to the others, either.


In a worst-case scenario, the campaign wouldn’t come down to who could present the most optimistic alternative to senile Joe Biden and the Democrats – it would be about relitigating the 2020 election. Rather than reviving 2016’s winning campaign themes – immigration, trade, American restoration, religious freedom, traditional culture and originalist judicial nominees – establishment media debate moderators would probe the candidates for their views on what happened in the aftermath of the 2020 vote.


Even if the unexpected happens and Trump opts to stay on the sidelines, there could be a fairly unsightly struggle between the remaining conservative candidates and the establishment ones. The latter group will argue that controversial topics like illegal immigration and abortion should be tabled and avoided in order to promote “unity” and not scare off independent voters.


The status quo-loving establishment never learns. The conservative base is hungry for a fighter, even if it’s not Trump himself. Trump may not be eliminated by the ridiculous January 6 Committee findings – or a possible indictment from coward Garland – but many Republicans crave a less emotion-inspiring alternative. Will it be DeSantis?


It could be. The existence of an intra-party civil war will largely depend on what Trump decides, and if he does run, how he conducts the campaign. Will he have message discipline? Can he attract the independent vote as he did in 2016? Time will tell.


Any way you look at it, the 2024 presidential campaign will be a furious and divisive one. Every four years people claim it’s the “most important election of our lifetimes,” and this time it’s really true. The Republican nomination will hinge on whatever Donald Trump does, either as a candidate, kingmaker or peace broker. Is he up to the task?


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