Much as I like the idea of dancing on the grave of Donald Trump’s political career, I would prefer everyone wait until it’s actually pronounced dead first.
Last week, the former president formally announced his third bid for the presidency from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
“In order to make America great again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump declared.
In remarks reminiscent of his 2017 inaugural address, he professed that America was once “a great and glorious nation. Now we are a nation in decline. We are a failing nation.”
As Trump sees it, “The blood-soaked streets of our once great cities are cesspools of violent crime.”
America is a violent, trigger-happy nation, but the streets of our cities are not soaked in blood. Still, Trump has the answer to a problem that only exists within his hollow, hateful mind.
“We are going to be asking everyone who sells drugs, gets caught selling drugs, to receive the death penalty for their heinous acts,” Trump pledged to the applause of bigots in that tacky ballroom at Mar-a-Lago.
“I don’t even know if the American public is ready for it,” he added.
Trump’s biggest problem is not whether or not America is ready for his inane, dictator-themed proposal to curb drug usage, but the growing chorus of people within his party and across the media pushing the narrative that his political career is nearly over.
He has a much better chance at becoming president again than most of these pundits would like to give him credit for, but I agree there are obvious signs of Trump’s fading political star. If there is any compliment to be paid to that horrible man, it’s that he’s funny — like an entertaining racist. Unfortunately for him, while last week’s speech hit all of the familiar notes, it wasn’t delivered with the kind of energy of past campaign rallies.
Considering he decided to announce more than 700 days before the 2024 presidential election, Trump couldn’t afford to be boring. Yet it’s been reported that attendees of his campaign launch began leaving before his speech had ended — leading Trump’s staff to ultimately block the exits.
And then there are the responses from everyone else.
Although he didn’t identify Trump by name, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted: “We need more seriousness, less noise, and leaders who are looking forward, not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood.”
The people who finance the horrible Republican Party are not that thrilled, either. In an interview with CNBC, metal mogul Andy Sabin said, “I’m not going to give (Trump) a fucking nickel. At the end of the day, people stayed away (in the 2022 midterms) because of Trump.”
Separately, hedge fund billionaire and Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, another major GOP donor, explained to Politico that Trump “did a lot of things really well and missed the mark on some important areas and for a litany of reasons, I think it’s time to move on to the next generation.”
Other billionaires have made similar pledges to back away from Trump in 2024.
“If the only arguments against Trump right now are that he’s not performing at his best and that the rich and well-connected dislike him, that isn’t enough.”
Of course, there is also the matter of Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox, the New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal, conveying that he, too, is done with Trump and will use his media outlets as much as possible to bury him.
Meanwhile, Fox Business host Stuart Varney suggested live on air to Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, that her father-in-law is essentially an out-of-shape legacy act.
“I have to say, there wasn’t a great reception to the speech last night,” he said. “Those of us on the outside looking at it, it didn’t seem that he got the old magic, you know what I mean?”
Lara Trump disagreed, saying the night embodied the “2015, 2016 campaign all over again.”
And I haven’t even gotten to Trump’s legal troubles — which many believe sparked this early presidential campaign announcement because he presumed it would protect him from potential Justice Department indictments. That seems unlikely, but it wouldn’t matter to Trump either way — and the same goes for his voters.
Much as I understand him to be a twice-impeached president that lost the popular vote twice and tried to stage a coup, to discount Donald Trump would discount the role racism plays in American politics. Most of the aforementioned Trump critics are now pushing Ron DeSantis as his successor.
The problem with DeSantis is he ran a racist gubernatorial campaign in 2018, and as governor, has pushed racist policies. So assuming he does become the Republican nominee, then he’s just Trump without comedic timing. And why would Republican voters abandon the real thing for the discount version?
Just because the same people that didn’t like Trump in 2015 when he ran don’t like him now doesn’t mean he’s weakened if the GOP base’s ideology remains largely shaped by the same level of racist, violent rhetoric employed by Trump — along with the shared victim mentality.
I don’t think Trump’s attempts to sell Americans on the Rodrigo Duterte approach to discouraging drug usage is the best political strategy, but he has time to workshop his racist campaign slogans and proposals.
As for the potential indictments, I say lock him up — but Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu managed to not let any criminal trial get in his way of regaining power following his embrace of the far right.
Racism helped that accused criminal, so a similar strategy could do wonders for another — especially during an economic downturn when white voters get especially scared and conservative once the news starts telling them there is a crime wave.
Trump is not invincible, yet the time to put him out politically was after he staged a coup.
Cults do not die overnight.
I want nothing more than for Trump to fade away from politics and fall into the misery he deserves, but if the only arguments against him right now are that he’s not performing at his best and that the rich and well-connected dislike him, that isn’t enough.
He will be the Republican nominee for president, and that will give him a 50/50 chance at becoming our next president.
No one that’s done as much as he has in so little time should have this opportunity — which is why you can’t underestimate him, much less pretend his 2024 campaign is DOA.