The Economist, in an article by Lexington, it’s United States correspondent, says that “Appalling as it has has been to witness an American president try to steal an election, Donald Trump’s efforts have amounted to less than the best-informed prognosticators feared … [but] … It has also illustrated – yet again – Mr Trump’s iron grip on his party, to the extent that most commentators seem to think the Republican nomination for the 2024 election is already his for the taking. They could be right. But Lexington is sceptical.“
While I think that President Tump actually enjoys being president and believes that he is doing a great job, I also suspect that he knows, now, that he’s lost and he’s starting to think about his next role. The Economist says that all the ongoing fuss on TV and in a few courtrooms “is not to deny the president’s success in fast-tracking the myth of his stolen re-election to the pantheon of right-wing grievances. The same livid Trump superfans who have been rallying all year against mask-wearing and the scourge of devil-worshipping Democratic paedophiles have gathered, outside state legislatures from Arizona to Pennsylvania, to demand that state lawmakers “stop the steal”. Right-wing conspiracy theorists have been spitting out explanations – involving shadowy Biden-Harris vans crammed with ballots in Nevada, vanishing sharpie signatures in Arizona and so forth – for how the steal took place. A large majority of Republican voters say Mr Biden’s victory was illegitimate … [and] … A bigger majority of Republican politicians are afraid to disabuse them. Three weeks after Mr Biden’s victory, only a few Republican senators had dared acknowledge it. The damage this has done to their party, and American democracy, could be profound. The next Republican loser to cry fraud will be preaching to the converted. Still, the assumption that Mr Trump will continue to preside over the mess he has made of the right is premature.“
It’s premature because “Once the smoke of the 2020 battle has cleared, many of his supporters may see him as he is: a loser whose deranged loss-denialism encapsulates why he ran behind down-ballot Republicans all across the country. There are even signs that one or two of his cheerleaders are already chewing on that pill. “You announce massive bombshells, then you better have some bombshells…,” said Rush Limbaugh, puzzling over Mr Giuliani’s performance.” There are reports that GOP leaders in the Congress are already reaching out, across the aisle, to get some needed deals done despite President Trump. Republican legislators have to face the voters again in two years. The ideas (problems and fears) that brought Donald J Trump into the White House have not changed over the past few years and the election results suggest that the American people still trust the Republicans to be on the right side of those issues, but that doesn’t mean that they need or want Donald Trump back again.
I suspect, at least I hope that President Trump is getting the message that his role was, temporarily, to bring the fears of the American working class to the top of the nation’s political agenda. The most important thing he may have done is to make blue-collar conservatism a fixture in American (and Canadian?) politics. Might the folks we once called Reagan Democrats now be permanent (for a generation plus) members of the GOP (and of the Conservative Party in Canada)?
I think we will get a “feel” for President Trump’s intentions as we watch Georgia run-off election campaigns unfold. IF he decides to play a prominent role then we can assume that, for now, anyway, he wants to take another run at the White House in 2024. IF he is inactive then I believe that we can, and the Republican leadership will assume that he is a spent force and the door will be open for many Republican hopefulls to start campaigning for the 2024 nomination:
Many names are being mentioned, some, like Governor Nikki Haley and Senator Ted Cruz are on multiple lists:
I believe that Governor Haley is, right now, the best choice for the Republicans. She campaigned, very actively, in many states and districts in the recent elections, garnering many political IOUs. She did not burn any bridges with the Trump loyalists but she is seen, I think, as a “moderate” on many “hot button” issues. She appears to be traditionally moderate on social issues, à la Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan, and she seems, to me, to be an economic libertarian and a foreign policy interventionist, again, echoing the modern Republican mainstream.
My guess is that both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and others also have well funded campaigns ready to roll, too.
My personal, outsider‘s view is that the US Democratic Party is drifting too far away from the American mainstream. I think that President-elect Biden won despite being a Democrat. He won because he is perceived to be less radical than President Trump. Many tens of millions of Americans still want what President Trump offered but several million of them wanted it without Trump, himself; that’s why Joe Biden is going to the White House while Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looks at political ruins. But, in the next couple of years, I think that the US Republicans can shake off the memory of Donald J Trump and become, again, the party of Eisenhower, Reagan and Bush and that, in 2024, they might, if they select the right national leader, even win it all: White House, Senate and the House of Representatives.