[guest post by Dana]
Well, today is Nov. 15, the day that Donald Trump said that he would be making a very big announcement:
At his final rally before the midterm elections, Trump says, “I am going to be making a very big announcement on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.”
Vote. Our democracy depends on it. pic.twitter.com/R9WJt4goXs
— The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) November 8, 2022
Of course, his pre-announcement was made before the red-wave-that-wasn’t, so perhaps he will be readjusting his goals… Anyway, today is the day, and I’ve been wondering what sort of advantage he thinks an early announcement would bring him. The midterms were a big disappointment to Republicans, the holiday season is upon us, and America is in need of a long winter’s nap, devoid of politics – and certainly devoid of the crazy circus that is Trump. I think that this is a fair, if partial analysis of what could be prompting Trump’s early announcement:
…I get the sense that Trump is declaring out of impatience, boredom with non-presidential life, and a furious envy of the recent praise of Ron DeSantis’s big win. And maybe Trump thinks that if he announces, all the prosecutors investigating him and pursuing a case against him have to put everything on hold, lest their prosecutions appear too political. There’s absolutely no reason that Trump has to announce early. He doesn’t need to build up his name recognition. He doesn’t need a lot of preparation time, or to build up his fundraising network. He is the ultimate known quantity, and everybody in America already knows how they feel about him. A presidential campaign would almost be superfluous. Trump could announce about a month or two before the first caucus or primary and it would likely turn out the same.
You know that he is still seething about DeSantis’s stinging victory. So, if he announces early, it will be in large part a pre-emptive effort to capture the MAGA world and loyal Republicans before DeSantis announces his candidacy. It’s childlike that he seems to believe that once voters line up behind him they won’t be swayed by a DeSantis announcement. As if he believes that they won’t turn toward a more sane, Trump-light candidate who has demonstrated that he has the chops to be a successful leader.
So why else might he choose to essentially run against himself? Well, the sooner he announces, the sooner the grift can begin. Let those campaign donations flow. When Trump makes a decision, any decision, the question of how much money can potentially be made from the said decision is automatically factored in. And a presidential election would provide him with the ultimate fundraising opportunity. Note how, after the legal search of Mar-a-Lago, his fundraising numbers exploded. How much more after announcing a run for the presidency?
Clearly, the former president is not listening to his advisors, who cautioned him about making any early announcements. Nor does Trump seem concerned about post-midterm polling, which shows him trailing Desantis by double digits in one-on-one matchups in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states on the GOP nominating calendar.
It seems he also hasn’t spent time considering how he may have adversely impacted the midterms:
Trump loomed large in the minds of voters and dragged down his party’s candidates — nationally and in key swing states with Senate races — despite being out of power. In many cases that blunted the impact of Biden’s unpopularity, and widespread economic pain, helping Democrats defy political gravity and hold their own.
Nationally, 32% of voters in 2022 said their vote was “to oppose Joe Biden.” But 28% said their vote was “to oppose Donald Trump,” even though Trump was out of office. That suggests Trump’s continued dominance over the GOP made the 2022 election, in the minds of voters, almost as much about a defeated former president as it was about the current president and party in power.
“It was a Trump problem,” a Republican operative involved in the 2022 election told NBC News, speaking candidly about the de facto leader of the GOP on condition of anonymity to avoid retribution. “Independents didn’t vote for candidates they viewed as extreme and too closely linked with Donald J. Trump.”
Independent voters made up 31% of the electorate and they favored Democrats over Republicans by a margin of 49% to 47%, a stark break from the past four midterms in which they voted by double digits for the party out of power, according to exit polls.
Anyway, we’ll have to wait and see if Trump actually makes an announcement tonight. But as it stands, the question remains for the Republican Party: How do you solve a problem like Donald Trump? It’s taken a very long time for the Party to even slightly begin to acknowledge that he is indeed a problem and that they must move on from him. You’d think that after the midterm losses, it would become more difficult for any Republican lawmaker to remain silent about the problem of Trump. But then, we’ve already seen how those few Republican lawmakers with conservative bona fides were treated when they did point out the problem with Trump. And it wasn’t pretty.
UPDATE: It’s official:
Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president who refused to concede defeat and inspired a failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election culminating in a deadly attack on the Capitol, officially declared on Tuesday night that he is running to retake the White House in 2024.
Heh. Brilliant paragraph.