You know what gives me a greater sense of schadenfreude than anything else I’ve experienced during my time covering political betting? All the people who raced to the polling stations to cast a ballot for Joe Biden, thinking that after Inauguration Day, they’d be rid of Donald Trump forever.
Donald Trump will be on your television screen and social media timeline as a prominent figure in US politics for the remainder of his time left on this Earth.
Election Night changed everything.
Had the President been trounced like experts predicted, his disappearance from the public eye was possible. But Trump’s 71 million votes were more than any other incumbent has ever received.
The President was already expected to capitalize on his popularity when he left office by launching his own conservative media network; now he’s mulling over another run at the White House in 2024. Just like that, everything in US politics was placed on hold, much to the chagrin of the Nikki Haley’s and Marco Rubio’s of the world – the previous GOP hopefuls.
Get your picks in now at our top-rated political betting sites!
|2024 Republican Nominee||Betting Odds|
|Donald Trump Sr.||+400|
|Donald Trump Jr.||+2500|
|George P. Bush||+10000|
- Odds found at Bovada on 11/19.
Contesting the 2020 Presidential Election
Of course, President Trump’s 2024 prospects are entirely dependent upon the outcome of the current election.
The race has been called for Joe Biden – who looks like he’ll finish with 306 electoral votes – by every major news outlet, but the incumbent has so far refused to concede. He’s claiming the election was rigged, though his legal avenues to prove the allegations of fraud are shrinking by the day.
The Trump team has raised valid points about Dominion voting machines’ vulnerabilities and the lack of a signature verification process during critical recounts in battleground states. In some states, the election software was caught flipping votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.
When it comes to Dominion, the Trump campaign’s allegations are nothing new, nor are they baseless claims rooted in “sour grapes.” Ahead of the 2020 election, Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Ron Wyden filed a formal complaint against the company accusing the machines of compromising election integrity and “vote switching.”
Regardless, the probability of Donald Trump making any headway with his recounts and legal challenges are minuscule. Even with a full proper audit, it’s unlikely enough ballots would be found to change the outcome of the election.
I suspect the President and his inner circle are aware of this fact as well.
I believe his reasons for contesting the election results have nothing to do with winning in 2020 anymore. Trump is doing this to galvanize – if not radicalize — his supporters in preparation for his next moves.
Trumpism vs. Moderate Republicans
One of the funnier aspects of the past four years of Trump-a-mania is the effect it’s had on traditional moderate Republicans.
The former reality TV host steamrolled the field of more conventional conservatives in the 2016 primaries, rebuilt the party in his image, and never looked back. His popularity is such that old-school GOP caucus members like Lindsay Graham and Mitch McConnell have been forced to play along, lest the legions of Trump supporters sabotage their reelection efforts.
Still, you can tell longtime Republicans have been waiting for the “MAGA stuff” to blow over so they can take back their party.
That’s not happening anytime soon.
The Republican Electorate
Trump remains immensely popular with his supporters. Ninety-three percent of registered Republicans voted for the incumbent. The more eye-opening stat is that the President made significant gains with Black (12 percent) and Hispanic voters (32 percent) compared to four years ago.
- In Gallup’s last pre-election poll, 94% of Republicans approved of the President’s job performance.
- Among GOP voters who consider themselves “conservative Republicans,” — the majority party’s base — Trump’s job approval was 97%!
Donald Trump changed the Republican Party’s stance on foreign wars, immigration, and trade, promoting an “America First” agenda, at least rhetorically. His tariffs and moves to deregulate several industries resulted in a massive economy before the pandemic and solidified the President’s working-class support.
- Despite the pandemic and its economic toll, 41% of Republican voters polled said they were doing better than when he took office, versus only 20 percent who said they were worse off.
- Thirty-five percent of Trump supporters identified the economy as their top priority, more than twice the number who said the pandemic.
In response to his popularity with the working-class, the Democratic Party moved further right, building a coalition of affluent, college-educated, mostly white centrist Dems and formerly moderate Republicans. Then they threatened the progressive wing of the party to hold their collective noses and vote for Biden, or else it’d be their fault Trump was reelected.
The Biden campaign was able to thread the needle, winning with record-setting turnout numbers from the suburbs. It was a brilliant strategic move in the wake of neoliberal Democrats abandoning the labor movement and offering nothing to working-class voters of any material value with their economic plans.
2024 Republican Field Stuck in Holding Pattern
Now, with the parties realigned, moderate Republicans are in a conundrum as the GOP’s only successful path forward is as a working-class party. They planned to use Trump’s loss as an excuse to reset the Republican Party back to its pre-Trump roots.
“Some Republicans simply want to return to the way things were before 2016 while others want to continue in the same direction as if this election never happened,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.
Good luck to the Never Trumpers hoping to take the GOP back!
The possibility of a Trump 2024 run blocks other prospective candidates from launching campaigns out of fear of infuriating his loyal supporters.
“The prospect of a run by President Trump in 2024 will put a pall over other prospective candidates cultivating donors,” said GOP donor Bobbie Kilberg, who wants the party to move on from Trumpism.
“It perplexes me since we could have numerous excellent candidates who should not be put on hold for years,” she added.
Even if the President decides not to run next election cycle, he’ll likely determine the next Republican nominee. Trump’s endorsement and campaign database will carry a ton of weight in 2024.
“If he is defeated, the president will retain the undying loyalty of the party’s voters and the new voters he brought into the party,” said Sam Nunberg, a strategist from the President’s 2016 campaign.
Donald Trump’s first campaign manager of the election cycle agrees with Nunberg’s assessment.
“It isn’t like his Twitter account or his ability to control a news cycle will stop,” added Brad Parscale, who was demoted from his position in July. “President Trump also has the largest amount of data ever collected by a politician. This will impact races and policies for years to come.”
Joe Biden is boring. After four years of Donald Trump, that was one of his top selling-points.
At the same time, don’t let the media pundits who railed against the President for four straight years fool you; he’s the best thing that ever happened to their ratings. They may not want Trump in the White House, but they sure as hell don’t want him out of the public eye.
That’s why they’ll be as encouraging as possible – even if only covertly – when it comes to a 2024 presidential run.
Donald Trump isn’t going anywhere.
It doesn’t matter who’s in office; the 45th President of the United States will be the top story on your favorite cable news channel every day. If they’re not covering his next reelection bid, they’ll focus on his criticisms of Joe Biden or his tweeted opinions and how they’ll influence the Republican Party.
Of course, what they’d love more than anything else is to be gifted another Trump scandal. Nothing drove ratings these past four years like Russiagate. Liberals have been extremely vocal about wanting the President prosecuted as soon as he leaves office.
Coverage of whether or not the Biden White House’s Department of Justice follows through on those demands will dominate the airwaves in January and February.
However, if Trump doesn’t end up in prison – and he probably won’t — the media risks making the same mistake as in 2016.
The prospective 2024 nominee will benefit from all the screen time. And he’s much more effective as the opposition candidate, judging and criticizing rivals’ actions than he was at being an incumbent.
If the media amplifies his attacks too much, giving him billions of dollars’ worth of earned media, it’ll only boost Trump’s 2024 reelection odds.
Potential Legal Problems
Speaking of Donald Trump’s upcoming round of media controversies, the outgoing President could have some legal battles awaiting his return to civilian life.
- Some Democrats want the federal campaign finance investigation dropped by US Attorney General William Barr to be reopened.
- Meanwhile, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr is leading two New York state probes into whether Trump misled tax authorities, banks, or business partners.
- There are also Democratic voices calling for the Biden Justice Department to pursue charges related to allegations of obstructing justice during Robert Mueller’s “Russiagate” investigation.
To that end, Joe Biden has expressed a desire to “just move on” from Trump. The president-elect is worried that prosecuting Trump will only further divide the nation.
Vance, a Democrat, has said his investigations are related to reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.” Because they’re state-level charges, not even a presidential pardon would wipe them away.
So, if Trump encounters any significant legal threat, it will come from the Manhattan District Attorney – there’s nothing Joe Biden can do to interfere with those potential charges. At the same time, Vance is a staunch Democrat and may listen to party leadership if they want him to drop the investigation into the soon-to-be-former President’s taxes.
Something to consider is the possibility of these various legal issues being used to negotiate.
What if the Biden administration or the Manhattan DA agree not to indict Trump in exchange for his concession – or if he agrees not to run again in 2024?
There’s no evidence of such deals being on the table, but it’s within the realm of possibility.
On the other hand, announcing a 2024 presidential campaign could grant Trump some protection – or at least an argument in the court of public opinion.
During the impeachment hearings, the President was repeatedly accused of requesting the Burisma investigations in an attempt to derail a political opponent. Any charges brought against Trump after launching his next bid could be framed similarly.
Above all, I believe Donald Trump’s enormous fanbase insulates him from prosecution.
It’s smart of Joe Biden to want to move on and forget about the previous administration, rather than dwelling on their possible misdeeds.
If Trump is indicted or imprisoned, his supporters will interpret it as political persecution in retaliation for their President upsetting the establishment.
That could quickly boil over into civil unrest and violence.
Age / Health-Related Issues
If anything prevents Donald Trump from running in four years, it’ll probably be his age.
Judging from how hard he hit the campaign trail down the stretch of the election, the President is far more vibrant than most 74-year-olds. If he ran in 2024, he’d be as old as Joe Biden is now.
At the same time, Trump is considerably heavier than Joe Biden and is alleged to live a relatively unhealthy lifestyle.
Mary Trump, the President’s estranged niece, gave a scathing opinion on the matter, telling the UK’s The Sun:
“He’ll be 78,” in response to an inquiry about a 2024 run.
“I know Joe Biden’s 78 – He has a horrible diet, he doesn’t sleep, he’s addicted to caffeine, he doesn’t exercise, and he’s like well on his way to decompensating,” the estranged niece told The Dean Obeidallah Show.
“There’s no way he will be an intact human being in four years,” she added. “He’s not now!”
Obviously, Mary Trump has an ax to grind with her uncle. She’s the same family member who published the book: Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the red flags.
Plus, the American electorate will be wary of electing such old presidents in 2024 after dealing with Joe Biden – who will probably have been forced to leave the office for age-related reasons by then.
If you’re handicapping the 2024 presidential election, it’s far more likely that Donald Trump will watch from the sidelines than participate himself. But don’t count him out entirely. Even if he doesn’t run, he’ll probably exert immense influence over the Republican primary.
If you’re betting the 2024 GOP nomination, you’ll want to pick someone who may receive Trump’s blessing.