Donald Trump 2024: Signs of a comeback bid for the presidency
In the days after the United States Congress decided to impeach Donald Trump over his role in inciting the January 6 insurrection, it seemed the possibility of his running for the presidency again was slim.
Eleven months later, those odds have tumbled.
Although the former president has yet to launch an official, or non-official bid to run in the 2024 election, this Monday saw him give the clearest indication yet that he could be seeking to stage a comeback.
In an interview with Fox News, the controversial Republican confirmed it was something that was up for consideration.
“I am certainly thinking about it and we’ll see,” he said.
“I think a lot of people will be very happy, frankly, with the decision, and probably we’ll announce that after the midterms.
“It doesn’t mean I will.
“It’s probably appropriate, but a lot of people are waiting for that decision to be made.”
Should Trump decide to run in 2024, he’ll need to win the Republican presidential nomination. Officially, the campaign for that role doesn’t begin until after America’s midterm elections in November 2022.
He’s not without rivals. Other Republican candidates could include former vice president Mike Pence, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senator Ted Cruz, who previously attempted to run in 2016. These are some of the names Trump would need to beat to claim his party’s nomination.
Should he accomplish that, there’s another step: beating the Democratic Party’s nominee. Given the current unpopularity of President Joe Biden, that’s not a far-fetched scenario.
With the pandemic still impacting American citizens, and America’s catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan after two decades of conflict plaguing him, Biden’s approval ratings have declined steadily in recent months.
A recent poll by Gallup placed Biden’s approval rating at 42 per cent, which was a stark decline from the 56 per cent he achieved in June.
This was the second-lowest rating achieved by a president at this point in their term, above only Trump, who scored an approval rating of just 37 per cent 283 days into his time in office.
Another searing poll from Emerson College found that if the 2024 presidential election were today, Trump would beat Biden by 45 per cent to 43.
Half of those polled said they disapproved of the performance of the current President, with 41 per cent approving.
Biden’s slumping approval ratings could impact the performance of the Democrats in the midterm elections in 2022, which subsequently affects how effectively they can pass bills and enact significant legislative change.
Currently the Democrats have control of both the House of Representatives and Senate, however, they could be at risk of losing both houses to the Republicans.
Analysis from CNN’s editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza, showed that once a president’s approval drops below 50 per cent, they lose “an average of 37 seats in the House”.
“If Biden and congressional Democrats can find a way to a compromise on both the ‘hard’ infrastructure plan and the social safety net legislation, then Democrats could well have an appealing package of accomplishments to sell to voters come next November,” Cillizza wrote, offering something of a silver lining.
Looking at Trump’s activity since exiting the White House, it’s clear he’s still an influential member of the Republican Party.
While the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives impeached Trump in the wake of the January 6 riot, with the support of 10 Republicans, he was subsequently acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial.
A 57-43 majority of the Senate voted to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection against the US government, well short of the 67 votes needed for a conviction.
This means Trump could still legally run for the presidency again in 2024.
Since avoiding conviction, the former president has remained active within his party, endorsing some candidates and making enemies of others. Most recently, he backed winning Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia gubernatorial election.
While Trump previously attempted to “reinstall himself in power illegitimately” and through force, retiring Republican Congressman Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio said he’s since changed tactics.
Retiring from politics, in part due to the threats he received after supporting Trump’s impeachment in January, Gonzalez said the former president has learned from his mistakes,
“It looks to me that he has evaluated what went wrong on January 6. Why is it that he wasn’t able to steal the election — who stood in his way?” said Gonzalez, appearing on the CNN documentary Trumping Democracy: An American Coup.
“And he’s going methodically, state by state, at races from, you know, state Senate races all the way down to county commissioner races trying to get the people who the Republicans — the RINOs, in his words — who stopped this, who stopped him from stealing the election.”
RINO – Republican in name only – was previously a pejorative term used to refer to Republicans who were insufficiently conservative. It has since come to be used as a term for those who are insufficiently loyal to Trump.
The host of the documentary and prominent political journalist Jake Tapper also expressed fears over Trump’s likely return to politics.
One of his key concerns was that the former president would continue his rhetoric that the 2020 election was stolen, stoking erroneous claims of voter fraud. He predicted Trump could do this by endorsing candidates who have historically supported or are more likely to support his attempts to undermine an election, through baseless and false allegations.
“People need to understand that he could and likely will try to do it again, and it won’t necessarily be violent,” Tapper told Vanity Fair.
“Next time, it might be without violence but more successful.”
Should Trump set out for a second chance at presidency, he would historically be the third former president who has attempted to do so.
Serving as the 22nd and 24th US President, Grover Cleveland is the only person who’s been able to serve two non-consecutive terms.
The 26th President of the US, Theodore Roosevelt also attempted to do something similar, but his bid to serve a third term by running against his successor, William Howard Taft.
However, as the first reality TV star to run (and win) the presidency – something he did before becoming the first US president to be charged with and survive two impeachment charges – Trump’s actions have always been difficult to predict.
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