‘Make America Great Again’, Again? What Chance Does Trump Stand of Becoming President in 2024

It was expected and yet when Donald Trump announced his bid for the 2024 US presidency, he set afoot a myriad speculations on the future – now expected to feature all his MAGA pomp and theatrics in a divided America and Republican Party.

Former President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he will run for the White House in 2024. The announcement came just a week after Republicans had a disappointing midterm performance, forcing the party to decide whether to support a candidate whose refusal to accept defeat in 2020 sparked an insurgency and pushed American democracy to the brink.

Former U.S. President Donald Trumpstands with his wife, former first lady Melania Trump as they arrive for his announcement. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said to an audience of several hundred supporters, club members and gathered press in a chandeliered ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago club, where he stood flanked by more than 30 American flags and banners bearing his “Make America Great Again” slogan.

I am running because I believe the world has not yet seen the true glory of what this nation can be,” he said.

We will again put America first,” he added.

Could Trump Really Win 2024?

His chances are…complicated.

Another campaign would be a remarkable turn for any former president, let alone one who made history by being the first to be impeached twice and whose term ended with his supporters violently storming the Capitol in a deadly bid to halt the peaceful transition of power on Jan. 6, 2021.

The Capitol Hill insurrection (Image: Reuters File)

But Trump enters the race at a politically vulnerable time. He hoped to launch his campaign in the aftermath of the GOP’s resounding midterm victories, which were fueled by candidates he supported during this year’s primaries. Instead, many of those candidates lost, allowing Democrats to keep the Senate and leaving the GOP with only a sliver of a House majority.

Far from being the undisputed party leader, Trump is now facing criticism from some of his own supporters, who say it’s time for Republicans to look forward, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis emerging as an early favourite for the White House.

Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during his 2022 U.S. midterm elections night party in Tampa, Florida, US (Image: Reuters)

The former president remains popular among the Republican base. Other Republicans, including former Vice President Mike Pence, are taking increasingly public steps toward their own campaigns, raising the possibility that Trump will face a competitive GOP primary.

But Trumpism Still Reigns High

Trump is launching his campaign amid a flurry of criminal investigations, including several that could result in indictments. They include the FBI’s investigation into dozens of documents with classified markings seized from Mar-a-Lago, as well as ongoing state and federal inquiries into his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Associated Press quoted people close to Trump as saying that he is eager to return to politics and try to halt the rise of other potential challengers. Aides have spent the last months preparing paperwork, identifying potential staff, and sketching out the contours of a campaign modelled after his 2016 campaign, when a small clutch of aides zipping between rallies on his private jet defied the odds and defeated far better-funded and more experienced rivals by tapping into deep political fault lines and using shocking statements to drive relentless media attention, the report stated.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends a pre-election rally to support Republican candidates in Latrobe. Reuters

Despite Republican losses, Trump remains the most powerful force in his party. In hypothetical head-to-head matchups, he has consistently outperformed his fellow Republican candidates by wide margins. Even when he is not in office, he draws large crowds to his rallies and is his party’s most prolific fundraiser, raising hundreds of millions of dollars.

Trump’s candidacy raises serious concerns about America’s democratic future. His final days in office were consumed by a desperate attempt to maintain power, undermining the centuries-old tradition of a peaceful transfer. And, in the two years since his defeat, Trump’s persistent — and baseless — lies about widespread election fraud have eroded public trust in the political system. An AP-NORC poll found that by late January 2021, roughly two-thirds of Republicans did not believe President Joe Biden was legitimately elected in 2020.

Federal and state election officials, as well as Trump’s own attorney general, there is no credible evidence that the 2020 election was tainted

According to VoteCast, roughly the same number of Republican voters held that belief in the midterm elections. Federal and state election officials, as well as Trump’s own attorney general, there is no credible evidence that the 2020 election was tainted. Numerous courts, including those appointed by Trump, rejected the former president’s allegations of fraud.

But that didn’t stop hundreds of midterm candidates from repeating his lies in order to gain his support and his coveted endorsement. In the end, many of those candidates lost their races, demonstrating that voters rejected such extreme rhetoric, the AP report explained.

Friends Turned Enemies

While some Republicans with presidential ambitions, such as former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, have long ruled out running against Trump, others have said he will not factor into their decisions, even before his midterm losses.

Pence, who published a book on Tuesday, and Trump’s former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, are among them, as is former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who ran against Trump in 2016. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin are all potential candidates. Trump is also likely to face opposition from anti-Trump Republicans such as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the House committee investigating Jan. 6.

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks on border security following a border tour, Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

But DeSantis, whose commanding reelection as governor last week was a bright spot for Republicans this cycle, has occupied Trump and his allies the most in recent months. The former congressman, who rose to national prominence among conservatives during the pandemic by opposing COVID-19 restrictions, shares Trump’s pugilistic tendencies and has embraced fights over social issues with equal zeal.

Even some ardent Trump supporters say they want DeSantis to run because they see him as a natural successor to Trump but without the former president’s considerable baggage.

Trump has already begun to publicly criticise DeSantis. On Tuesday, Florida Governor Rick Scott fired back.

“At the end of the day,” DeSantis told reporters, “I would just tell people to go look at the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.”

A crowded field of Republican opponents could ultimately work in Trump’s favour, as it did in 2016, when he defeated more than a dozen other candidates who splintered the anti-Trump vote.

With inputs from the Associated Press

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