As former President Trump gets ready to announce his run for the White House in 2024, Republicans are getting ready for a fight over the future of the GOP.
Trump is planning to announce on Tuesday from his Mar-a-Lago estate, despite protests from some Republicans who are still trying to figure out what went wrong in the midterm elections, which they partly blame on the former president.
The GOP is in a bit of a bind because they know Trump has a strong hold on the conservative base, but they are also worried that Trump could hurt them with the rest of the voters, who have already turned him down once.
One Republican strategist said, “There’s no question that his biggest strength will be in the primary.” “The problem is, and I don’t think he’s come to terms with this, is that he’s poisonous to a lot of voters, and that’s part of what you saw in the midterms,” she said.
On Election Day, Republicans thought that voters would send them a “red wave” that would give them majorities in the House and Senate. However, that “red wave” never happened. Democrats kept their narrow Senate majority, and while control of the House hasn’t been decided yet, it looks like the GOP will only get the smallest of majorities.
Many Republicans say that Trump is a big reason why their party did so poorly in the midterm elections. In some of the most competitive Senate races in the country, Trump-backed candidates were defeated. Exit polls showed that the former president is less popular than President Biden, whose approval rating has been low for most of the year.
Saul Anuzis, a Republican strategist and former chair of the Michigan GOP, said that the midterms showed that he wasn’t as strong as people thought he was. “The exit polls showed that people who were neither Democrats nor independents voted against him.”
If Trump goes ahead with a campaign announcement on Tuesday, the fact that his power may be fading could be a problem. Anuzis said that months ago, it seemed likely that if Trump announced his campaign, he could scare away most of the people who might run against him in the primary. Now, big names in the GOP may be more interested in running against him.
Anuzis said, “I think you have at least 20 other candidates, and I think a lot of people would be happy to move on.” “I would have said no one could beat him six months ago. I think there’s at least a chance for that today.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was just re-elected in a 19-point landslide last week, could run against Trump. Even though DeSantis hasn’t said what he plans to do in 2024, he hasn’t ruled out running for the White House. Because of this, Trump has recently criticised him.
John Thomas, a GOP strategist, wants to go ahead with plans to start a super PAC that will support Ron DeSantis’s run for president. In the months before the midterms, Thomas put the plans on hold. Several Republicans in office have also told their party that the midterm results show it’s time to move on from Trump.
Chris Sununu, the Republican governor of New Hampshire who was easily re-elected, has said many times that Trump shouldn’t announce he’s running for president before Christmas.
Larry Hogan, who is leaving his job as governor of Maryland, said on Sunday that nominating Donald Trump would be “a mistake” because he has hurt the party in the last three elections.
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Winsome Earle-Sears, the Republican lieutenant governor of Virginia, supported Trump in 2020, but she said she wouldn’t do the same in 2024. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) tried to downplay the idea that Trump was the modern GOP’s leader by naming other Republicans, like DeSantis and Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), who he said were important leaders in the party.
“When any party is out of power like Republicans are now, we don’t have a single leader,” Cotton said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. Cotton has ruled out running for president himself in 2024. “It’s clear that many of our voters like the former president, but we also have other important leaders.”
In the meantime, Republicans in Congress won’t know what to expect from Trump’s announcement on Tuesday. The House majority hasn’t decided yet, but Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) have already said they would vote for Trump in 2024 if he ran.
In the Senate, Trump supporters like Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have tried to delay leadership elections in response to calls from Trump and others to get rid of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).To show how strong he is with congressional Republicans, Trump has invited some of them to Tuesday’s announcement in Florida, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. It was not clear who would be there, though, because the House GOP leadership elections are happening on the same day.
Even some people close to Trump have mixed feelings about what he said on Tuesday.
Kayleigh McEnany, who was Trump’s press secretary during his 2020 campaign and in the White House, said last week that Trump should wait to make his announcement until early December when Republicans have a runoff election for the Georgia Senate.
Republicans are worried that Trump’s campaign could Georgia’s race for Senate
Jason Miller, who has worked for Trump for a long time, said last week that he thought the announcement should be put off. But by the end of the week, he said it was a fact that Trump would announce his candidacy for 2024 in a “very professional, very buttoned-up” way.
One person who worked on Trump’s campaign said they didn’t know how many people who worked for Trump would be at Tuesday’s announcement. Still, the former adviser said that Trump’s announcement is likely to bring him more attention and remind party members that he still has a lot of power over the party.
Amazingly,t President Trump has so much consistent support and such a tight grip on the Republican primary,” the former adviser said. “That 30-35 per cent isn’t going anywhere,” someone might say.
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