Trump’s Run Exasperates GOP Elite, Thrills Dems
Some of the early reactions to the inevitable announcement tell the tale.
The Editors of National Review, “No.“
To paraphrase Voltaire after he attended an orgy, once was an experiment, twice would be perverse.
A bruised Donald Trump announced a new presidential bid on Tuesday night, an invitation to double down on the outrages and failures of the last several years that Republicans should reject without hesitation or doubt.
To his credit, Trump killed off the Clinton dynasty in 2016, nominated and got confirmed three constitutionalist justices, reformed taxes, pushed deregulation, got control of the border, significantly degraded ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and cinched normalization deals between Israel and the Gulf states, among other things. These are achievements that even his conservative doubters and critics — including NR — can acknowledge and applaud.
That said, the Trump administration was chaotic even on its best days because of his erratic nature and lack of seriousness. He often acted as if he were a commentator on his own presidency, and issued orders on Twitter and in other off-the-cuff statements that were ignored. He repeatedly had to be talked out of disastrous ideas by his advisers and Republican elected officials. He turned on cabinet officials and aides on a dime. Trump had a limited understanding of our constitutional system, and at the end of the day, little respect for it. His inability to approximate the conduct that the public expects of a president undermined him from beginning to end.
Dennis Aftergut, The Bulwark, “The Real Reason Trump Runs“
Former President Donald Trump is expected to announce tonight that he will be a candidate for the presidency again in 2024. Two obvious questions come to mind: Why do it? and Why announce now?
There are any number of reasons Trump might have decided to try for something only Grover Cleveland has achieved before and retake the presidency after a term out of office. It’s hard to believe that he has any policy aims driving him, or that he feels he in any sense owes it to the Republican party or the MAGA faithful.
But it’s not at all difficult to believe that Trump may be driven by ego, pride, and the competitive instinct; he hates to lose and seems most energized when attacking his potential rivals. He also craves attention, wants to be center stage, and fears losing his place to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who proved a big winner in last week’s election while Trump—via his many failed endorsees—proved a big-time loser. He’s desperate to get the blame off his back and onto someone else’s.
And then there is greed. Trump is constantly looking for ways to mix politics and profit, and it’s likely that a “potential future president” can cut better deals than a mere “disgraced former president.” Yesterday, on the eve of his pre-announced announcement, news broke that his company signed a lucrative contract with a major Saudi developer to brand a golf-housing-hotel development in Muscat, Oman, with the Trump name.
For all the merit of those explanations, though, they pale in comparison to another: He’s scared witless at the possibility of prosecution. It seems likely that indictments are on their way from Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis (over Trump’s interference in the 2020 election in Georgia) and from Attorney General Merrick Garland (over Trump’s purloined national security secrets taken to Mar-a-Lago).
By formally becoming a presidential candidate, Trump thinks he’ll get an edge on prosecutors. He craves his narrative: “Dems are trying to take down an announced Republican candidate for President. UNPRECEDENTED!”
Translation should be unnecessary: “I’m a martyr! Defend me! Go after them.” Of course, it won’t matter to Fani Willis or the DOJ. He’s in their sights, and they’ll do what they do.
Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg, “Trump Reminds Republicans He’s Not Going Away“
Donald Trump told the world on Tuesday night that he plans to ask voters for a second stay in the White House in 2024 even as the embers from his last one continue to glow.
It would matter, of course, if Trump managed to seize the powers of the US presidency again. But in terms of gauging the influence he wields inside the Republican Party after a midterm election in which voters rejected most of the rodeo clowns he endorsed, his press conference was just performance art. I suspect he engineered his prime-time gala for one main reason: He wants the GOP and the public to know he isn’t going away. And he’ll try to devour any Republican who gets in his way.
It has always been thus with Trump. He needs the spotlight and affirmation like others need air. There was no chance he would let his last national political act be a midterm train wreck that left him roundly labeled as a loser. He’s already assembling a bare-bones presidential campaign operation, and Republicans who tried to coax him into postponing his announcement until after Georgia’s December runoff for a Senate seat just don’t understand the man.
Trump has a firm grip on the hearts and minds of about a third of Republican voters. A majority of Republicans identify as MAGA, and an abundance of GOP voters want Trump to run for president again. Trump will swing that loyalty like a cudgel against party elders who are considering abandoning him. They may sincerely want to court moderate Republicans and independent voters to avoid repeating the midterm debacle when the 2024 election rolls around, but Trump will start to attack them for it soon enough.
It’s also not clear that Republicans truly have the courage to take on Trump in a full-blooded way anyhow. After all, Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative Kevin McCarthy have been here before. They briefly decried Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection in 2021, and then, in due time, got out of his way or went to work accommodating him once he went on the attack by propagandizing the Big Lie. McCarthy, in particular, has since become so craven about wooing MAGA-teers that he’s empowered the likes of Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.
A Trumpian vise still encumbers GOP discussions about 2024 presidential contenders, even if the midterms signaled escalating distaste for the authoritarian cage matches and vitriol that define Trumpism. While voters rejected most of the prominent buffoons whom Trump backed, more than 200 election deniers were voted into state and federal offices in the midterms, and they’ll get to work early next year. Principled, far-right conservatives (such as Representative Liz Cheney) and more moderate Republicans (such as former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan) don’t really surface in GOP discussions about possible Trump successors. Culture warriors modeled on Trump and enamored of grotesque political stunts (such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis) are the ones you hear about.
Chris Cillizza, CNN, “Democrats are openly rooting for another Trump presidential bid“
As Donald Trump announced Tuesday night that he is running for president for a third time, one unlikely group was cheering him on: Democrats.
“As an American, the idea of another Trump campaign and all of his lies and divisiveness and his efforts to undermine American democracy is an absolute horror show,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, told The New York Times ahead of Trump’s announcement. “On the other hand, I got to say that as a politician who wants to see that no Republican is elected to the White House in 2024, from that perspective, his candidacy is probably a good thing.”
“I think we would all like Donald Trump to run again,” Terry McAuliffe, the former Virginia governor and Democratic National Committee chairman, said in a recent interview.
And there’s political logic here. The simple fact is that Trump has never won a majority of the national vote. He was president when Republicans lost the House in 2018. He lost the White House in 2020. His false stolen election claims were blamed for Republican losses in the January 2021 Georgia Senate runoffs, which allowed Democrats to take control of the chamber. And this election cycle, Trump-backed Republicans – many of whom were election deniers – lost in critical Senate and governors’ races.
National exit polling from the midterms also bears out the fact that Trump may well be past his sell-by date. Just 39% of voters said they viewed Trump favorably, while 58% said they viewed him unfavorably. And 28% of voters said their House vote was cast to oppose Trump, compared to 16% who said their vote was a sign of support for the former president.
Now, of course, if you asked any Democrat (including Hillary Clinton!) which Republican they wanted to run against in 2016, they all would have answered “Donald Trump.” And we know how that one turned out.
It’s worth remembering, then, that just because Democrats are cheering on another Trump bid, it doesn’t mean that he would be easy to defeat (if he winds up as the Republican presidential nominee.)
But there’s also little question that the Trump of today is significantly less appealing than the version of the Trump who ran for president in 2016.
Back then, he portrayed himself as the ultimate outsider, someone who could bring his street smarts and business savvy to running the country. People wanted something different, and Trump definitely fit the bill.
But the picture looks very different now. Many more Republican elected officials have been willing to publicly say the party needs to move on after a disappointing midterm election. There has even been some coalescing around Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a credible alternative to Trump.
None of the above will affect Trump’s decision-making or the kind of campaign he runs, of course. Trump lives in a fantasy world of his own creation – in which he is the hero staving off the forces of evil to save America. Or something.
Chris Cillizza, heretofore known as But Her Emails flogger #1, spent the lead-up to the 2022 midterm
Red WaveRed Herring embarrassing his profession with claptrap like this:
“Why the midterms are going to be great for Donald Trump.”
“Why Republican attacks on crime have been so devastating for Democrats.”
“The bottom is dropping out of the 2022 election for Democrats.”
Five days before the election, in a head-scratching piece titled “Joe Biden’s head-scratching democracy speech,” Cillizza wrote this gem of corporate media cluelessness:
(*Narrator: per usual, Cillizza and his herd mentality colleagues inside the bubble knew jack squat about the electorate and its priorities.)
For anyone who still believes the US is a meritocracy and that whytemale privilege doesn’t exist: I present to you Chris Cillizza, a hack’s hack who in a just world would have been fired after his infamous 2016 Emailghazigatepalooza witch hunt debacles. But who — because this is the USA where mediocre yt men fail up — was instead promoted in April 2017 to CNN Editor-at-Large.
Despite continuing to prove himself intellectually lazy, out-of-touch, and incapable of having an original thought past status quo Beltway establishment groupthink — Chris Cillizza’s endlessly wrong political vomit is still taken seriously and quoted uncritically by good men much smarter than he is.
Lord help us if Chris Cillizza and his ilk are still driving the narrative in the lead up to 2024.
For the record: no, most Democrats are not “thrilled” about Tangerine Hitler running. Most Democrats want amoral Rethuglikkklan thug Trump in prison, Russia, or a well-padded booby hatch — not on the campaign trail whipping up hate and violence, as is his signature. But it’s unsurprising folks who were loud and wrong about Democrats not being motivated enough by threats to freedom and democracy to show up to vote in 2022 are, a few short days later, right back to being loud and wrong about Democrats yet again. It’s what they do best.
@DK: I confess I’m a little thrilled by Trump running. Long term, who knows how it’ll play out, and there’s always the risk he could win. (Which is actually no worse than DeUseless winning.) But short term it almost certainly helps Warnock.
@DK: He was also, let’s not forget, one of the biggest promoters of the “blue wall” theory–the notion that the states that voted consistently for the Democratic presidential nominees from 1992 to 2012 constituted an unbreachable barrier preventing a Republican win in 2016.
There will be (GOP) blood. Please pass the popcorn.
@gVOR08: Yes, most Democrats see how Trump may harm Republicans. But “thrilled” we still have to see his stupid orange face and hear his stupid word salad for the next two years? You’ll find yourself in the minority on that.
It’s the difference between Russia failing in Ukraine as NATO puts up a united front vs Putin dropping dead from a massive heart attack. One is some good from a crap situation, the other is a thrill.
Now if Hillary held a press conference to say she got in a time machine, traveled back to 1999, and did to Drama Queen Donnie what the crazies think she did to Vince Foster and Jeff Epstein…yes, that would be thrilling.
@Kylopod: Pfft, we could do this all day. Listing things Chris Cillizza has been right about would save exponential amounts of time.
Anyone who ever feels imposter syndrome or shy about seeking a raise should remember Chris Cillizza gets paid six figures to suck at his job.
Hmmm… 700+ days out, the crystal ball says…
* Trump Runs
* Desantis Runs (on the “MAGA sans Trump” platform)
* Pence runs (… and no one cares, as he has NO base at all)
* Cheney runs (against Trump as
the real Republicanan Independant, fracturing the party)
* Gretchen Whitmer becomes America’s first Female president, with her VP Jared Polis.
to quote Judy T,: Hey! It could happen!!!
Everyone, Republicans and Dems, just needs to sit back and let Trump run against himself for…like…6-8 months.
He will destroy himself and then the rest of the Presidential campaigns can start.
I’ll cross post my comment from the R Governors thread.
@Liberal Capitalist: I’m going to keep an eye on Whitmer after the performance she put on in this election. She could go far.
I turned off CNN and BBC yesterday because they kept showing video of Benito making his announcement.
Production of flux capacitors is stalled due to supply chain disruptions. Even when it recovers, have you seen the price of plutonium? It’s not so much the money, but the fact that it’s a government monopoly and they won’t sell. So, it’s priceless as it cannot be bought at any price. Amazon Nuke never got off the ground for that very reason. St. Elon’s The Splodey Company got sidetracked because Twitter. And there remains no chance in Hell for Theranukes (A full nuclear arsenal with a single plutonium atom) to ever get even to a fundraising round, much less an IPO.
@DK: Sadly, Chris Cillizza’s job does not involve being right about his prognostications. His job is to generate lots of traffic and attention, so they can sell lots of advertising.
It seems he is quite good at this job. I’d guess he only cares about being plausible, not right.
@daryl and his brother darryl:
Reporters should ask him about stats on crime, immigration, asylum, deficits, etc. from his term, without letting on they are from his term. Let him blast them as colossal failures, then remind him eh was in charge when that happened.
He certainly ran in 2020 as though Biden had been president from Jan 2017 onwards.
We’re not thrilled he’s running. We’re darkly pleased karma’s finally arrived to kick y’all in the balls for what you’ve let loose into the world.
Have you ever watched someone try appease a violently unreasonable Karen and take joy in watching them get eviscerated? Instead of standing up and telling them off (or calling the damn police), they bend the knee and grovel because it’s “easier”…. only for it to backfire spectacularly and explosively? Any sane person would have seen it coming but for some damn reason, they chose to suck up to the terrible person and now are paying dearly for it.
Schadenfreude is a thing. The GOP was warned and warned and warned this would happen. You cannot make a malignant narcissist your King and expect him to retire when you find a better version that can deliver. King’s don’t retire, they get rid of usurpers and purge their courts till they can’t; there’s no peaceful way to be rid of a King that doesn’t want to go other then waiting for the Reaper to take them. He’d rather burn it all to the ground then let you replace him and take anything from him.
They deserve what they get for the last decade of chaos and damage. We’re not pleased at all to see Donald darken our screens again but I cannot deny that watching the GOP realize the hate machine they’ve fed for decades will ruin their Presidential candidates chances isn’t gratifying. It will cost them Walker and likely cost them DeSantis’ big chance at the Oval Office. MAGA Karen’s about to Karen all over the GOP and Dems are just gonna stand back going “I told you so”.
Just to be clear …
This means that Trump cannot be indicted, right?
Let the ongoing grift begin.
No, he can be indicted. Regardless of what occurs at the DoJ, the proceedings of the Fulton Cty DA, the civil case against him being pursued by the NYS AG and the criminal tax fraud case at trial of his company in Manhattan will all go on.
Not at all, if everyone was above the law by announcing a bid to become our next President, we would be seeing an avalanche of announcements of folks (both with a D and R in front of their name) making a run for President this morning, not just one lone announcement from Trump.
While he was President, and right before the Mid-Terms the Justice Department, and folks in NY and GA backed off or gave Trump a lot of rope, but the idea that they might unduly influence who votes for Trump or his Democratic rival in 2024 by indicting him in late/early 2023, get the heck out of town. No one is going to use his announcement as a reason not to indict. For flips sake, we are 2 years out from the next major election, and it is more than fair game to try and finally nail Trump’s hide to the wall.
This whole narrative that Trump skates free by announcing another bid for office is so childish and never should have gained the toehold that it did in our national discourse. Garland has an opportunity to do the right thing here, and I really want to be bold and say he will do the right thing but as the saying goes, I am not holding my breath.
Will no one rid me of this turbulent Cheeto.
I take no responsibility 😀
There’s a DOJ opinion saying that a sitting president cannot be indicted by the DOJ. It doesn’t bind state prosecutors from doing so, nor does it apply to mere candidates.
Me, I’d fully support legislation to make it explicit a sitting president, or El Cheeto, can be investigated, indicted, tried, and even imprisoned during their term.
This is hilarious: According to the Huffpo, people tried to leave the room after Trump kept droning on for 40 minutes or so, and were prevented from doing so by Trump’s guards.
Talk about a captive audience.
No. There is a DOJ policy that they don’t, not the same thing. Whether they can has never been tested.
It’s a fairly recent policy – formulated, IIRC, in a Watergate context – and at the time, specific to the then circumstances.
Well trump isn’t a sitting president, so the DoJ opinion doesn’t apply (there should be legislation to clear this up, but I won’t hold my breath). Trump is hoping that the politics of indicting a presidential candidate will shield him.
At the Bulwark, Amanda Carpenter is reporting the same, with video. 🙂
DeSantis should probably watch his back.
“Trump or death.”
Some commenter said that he’d heard livelier funeral orations.
Trump’s running under the theory that the DOJ will not interfere with a candidate for POTUS based off this cobbled-together understanding :
(1) DOJ policy is to not indicate a sitting POTUS using somewhat sound Constitutional logic of separation of powers. Problematic but at least kinda defendable.
(2) ex-POTUS have “rights” and privledges that haven’t really been tested in a court of law but are a logical extension of the position.
(3)Siting = ex-POTUS. And you know, the whole stolen election thing means some people think he’s the legit prez and that must count too right?
(4) messing with candidates while running can be constructed as political oppression. Evil Dems trying to keep MAGA down!
(5) the timeframe for running keeps getting ever longer. I mean, 4 weeks before the election, a year, 2 years…. time creeps up on us all, doesn’t it? Mitch got away with the SCOTUS crap as “election year” so why not keep pushing the boundary?
(6) Declaration = running. It’s actually not. You need to register and be on the ballot to really be running for office, otherwise you’re just running your mouth. I can stand outside the courthouse and say “KM’s running for POTUS” but ain’t nobody gonna take me seriously.
There’s no actual policy or norm that addresses what he’s doing. He’s too far out, he’s not in power and he has no right as far as anything the DOJ’s ever dealt with. He’s citing a ton of differing precedents to create his ball of BS but there’s actually nothing specifically that says they can’t go after him, especially consider the investigation has been in progress for over a year now. He’s doing the SovCit thing of smooshing together bits of legalese and hoping the magic words will somehow work.
That isn’t a fair comparison. Funeral orations are, in part, the celebration of the deceased life. When trump croaks we’ll all be celebrating.
@Sleeping Dog: That’s like the old joke where Hitler is told by a fortune teller, “You will die on a Jewish holiday.” Hitler asks, “Which one?” and the fortune teller answers, “Any day you die will be a Jewish holiday.”
@KM: Nice compilation. As you say, it’s all BS, but his legal strategy seems to be to stall and stall and stall hoping his situation will change. And this list could give him a lot more BS to throw into the courts. Maybe he can delay until a GOP prez, a GOP congress, or this GOP House shuts down Garland. Dying would also work.
@KM: I read that he filed to run before his announcement. That is, an article written before the announcement stated that he had filed.
Which sums up why I left movement conservatism behind. If they can call wh0
TrumpHeritage nominated “constitutionalist justices” and what Trump did on the rest of the laundry list “accomplishments,” they’ve lost touch with reality.
Let’s go with that.
Then he can’t serve a third term, nor be elected for one, and his campaign constitutes fraud.
Lock him up.
Bottom line is benito thinks he’s a divine right king.
@gVOR08: (Which is actually no worse than DeUseless winning.)
Exactly! Democrats looking for a anti-Trump conservative resurgence need to keep reminding themselves of the National Review comment I cited above. The “anti-Trump” message is still “he accomplished such great things; if only he weren’t such an asshole.”
I just found a tweet from Tom Nichols last night saying “Wow, fox just peeled off”, so I pulled up the FOX website to see what they had to say about Trump’s announcement. Nothing, nada, no headline mention of Trump at all. I think FOX is more a weathervane than a leader, but either way, wow indeed.
@DK: “the other is a thrill.”
Maybe not so much. There’s every possibility that Putin’s successor is simply the Russian
DeSatanistDeSantis. Putin having a massive heart attack (or cancer, which was the last rumor I heard) is certainly not bad, but it doesn’t count as a thrill if it doesn’t mark a change in Russian attitude toward the West and the sovereignty of Ukraine.
@Sleeping Dog: The key words in your statement being “civil case” and “of his company.” Lemme know when he’s criminally indicted while running for office. That’ll be something to see.
And yeah, go ahead on coloring me skeptical.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
It may be one of the pending state cases could result in an indictment, which will get dragged through the courts and endlessly delayed until at least the Republiqan convention in 2024.
It’s nearly certain no federal indictments will be issued at all while he’s a candidate. And once, if, he loses the nomination, the DOJ will decide to leave him be as he’s now powerless and done for.
That would be very wrong. He should be indicted as the facts of the various investigations warrant, regardless of whether he’s running or not.
Seems some folks tried to leave early and were blocked from doing so.
What would BB King say?
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Contrarions will always find the negative, but that’s because wrongly they see perfection as the enemy of good.
I will be popping vodka the day Putin dies, and — importantly — so will a not insignificant number of Russians who can’t say so right now. I happen to have Russian friends, some of whom recently left due to the draft, some who are still stuck there. The plural of “anecdote” is not “data,” but I would not automatically assume the public Russian attitude towards the West under Putin’s tyranny is prima facie representative of how Russians feel privately.
I’m sorry, I know that, I was snarking. I am however convinced that that’s a big part of why he announced that he’s running again. He believes that he’s inoculated now.
@DK: I’m happy to own being a “perfect is the enemy of good” guy. My biggest problem being that I usually fail to see how whatever compromise is offered counts as “good.” Enjoy your vodka!
The National Review has demonstrated that they are shameless wh*res, without exception.