After a long hiatus from the political scene, former President Donald Trump is once again thrusting himself into the spotlight. After flying largely under the radar for months—in no small part due to his deplatforming from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Youtube—the former president and his political action committee, Save America, have become increasingly active in promoting Republican issues across the country.
Rumors of the former president’s return and possible run in the 2024 presidential cycle have swirled ever since now-President Biden took office in January. And for good reason. Trump’s political committees amassed a more than $100 million war chest in only six months, and he himself teased a return.
Trump most directly hinted at this during a phone interview with Candance Owens in May where he said “I think people are going to be very, very happy when I make a certain announcement.”
There is no question that Trump would be a frontrunner of the RNC primaries if he participates, having won the CPAC straw poll with 70% support with runner-up Ron DeSantis trailing at 21%. However, despite Trump’s strong popularity, putting him forward in 2024 could prove a disastrous mistake for the Republican Party.
Firstly, there is little guarantee that Trump can win reelection. True, his support amongst the conservative movement is almost unanimous outside of dwindling pockets of Bush-era neoconservatives and other ‘Never-Trump’ Republicans. However, this does not guarantee his appeal with the rest of the United States. Republicans have to reconcile with the fact that Donald Trump, despite his record-breaking votes for a Republican candidate, fell short in his bid for reelection by a margin of 74 points in the electoral college with a popular loss of just over 7 million votes. President Biden, who currently sits at a 45.9% approval rating, is largely seen as coasting off an anti-Trump vote. Couple this with the historical advantage Joe Biden would have as the defending incumbent, with Trump himself being one of only ten US Presidents to lose reelection, and it would appear a significant uphill battle for him to take back the White House.
The GOP must also consider the fallout that could ensue if Trump runs in the primaries and loses. Despite a strong advantage, it is always possible for other prominent candidates to rise above him, like Trump’s own upset victory in 2016. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, for example, narrowly defeated Trump in a straw poll conducted by the Western Conservative Summit back in June. Likewise, 2016 runner-up, Senator Ted Cruz is also considered likely to run.
Following Trump’s loss in the November presidential election, widespread accusations of fraud and conspiracy were made against the Democratic Party, with many Republican voters deeming our voting systems untrustworthy. With prominent figures such as Trump lawyer Lin Wood even going so far as to suggest boycotting the elections, Republicans experienced depressed voter turnouts in key elections shortly thereafter. Incumbent Georgian Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, for example, each suffered two hairline defeats in their runoff elections in early January, notably costing the GOP the Senate majority. Should Trump lose the RNC primaries, especially against someone whom he comes to blows within the preceding debates, then it may cost the participation of a not-so-insignificant bloc of voters in the presidential election.
Finally, it needs to be asked if Donald Trump, assuming he is victorious, is truly the best fit Republican to head the executive branch. Trump was largely recognized as the best candidate in 2016 for two reasons: 1) His being an outsider from the Washington machine, and 2) The uniqueness of his platforms. Neither is the case any longer. Donald Trump, whilst originally campaigning off his business background, has spent four years in Washington and has largely underdelivered on his pledge to “drain the swamp,” whilst also leaving his status as a businessman almost totally absent from his reelection campaign. And while Trump is perhaps the most influential pioneer of populist conservatism, the broader Republican Party continues to advance it, with more qualified and experienced Republicans such as Ron DeSantis, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio championing many of the same principles that were once exclusive to him. Even Trump’s former Vice President, Mike Pence, appears to be setting himself up for a 2024 run, launching the “Advancing American Freedom” political advocacy group in April. Even should Trump lead with the same competency as these likely rivals, having already served as President once he is restricted to only one more four-year term.
With his greatest advantages as a leader spent, seething divisions in the party, and a steep uphill climb for his campaign, it is time for Donald Trump to pass the torch to a new Republican leader.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.