Before Mitt Romney became a thorn in the side of the Republican Party, he was in a similar position as Donald Trump. After the 2012 election, almost everything Romney predicted would happen under a second Obama term—happened. Russia ran amok, Obamacare was a disaster, premiums rose and hurt the middle class, and job growth was anemic.
Now, we have gas lines shutting down in the eastern United States, anemic job growth, China going rogue, Russia running amok again, inflation rising, another war in Gaza, and Joe is out getting chocolate chip ice cream. The "I told you so" narrative is there—and Trump could win it if he chooses. I do believe that—big league. The Trump coalition is durable, passionate, and will mobilize in droves. They're also one of the deadliest blocs of voters in terms of political geography; they're very efficiently dispersed throughout the country. Oh, and they hate being polled so you don't know where they'll pop up. The only question is if Trump wants to run again. If he does mount a 2024 campaign, the primaries are over as the number of Republicans who want him to run again is sky-high (via The Hill):
A majority of Republicans want former President Trump to run for the White House in 2024 as he mulls a comeback bid, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
Sixty-six percent of Republicans say they want Trump to run for a third time after winning in 2016 and losing in 2020, compared with 25 percent of Republicans who say the former president should not run in 2024.
Eighty-five percent of Republicans polled said they want candidates running for elected office to agree with the former president, compared to just 10 percent who said they want contenders to mostly disagree with him.
The number is another indication that the former president remains a leader in the Republican party and holds sway over the GOP down-ballot candidates.
Trump isn't going away. The populist movement is here. It's here to stay. And this is merely halftime. Trump's political value hasn't depreciated in any way, shape, or form. What to do? He's in his 70s. He's rich. Why bother running for office again when he can enjoy his money? Would he like the kingmaker role? If Trump decides to run again, the primaries are over. If he doesn't, he needs to pick a successor, and right now, that looks like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The only question is whether the base will follow? We all see what happens when Trump isn't on the ballot. Turnout dips, but DeSantis is popular with more establishment types as well. Political coalitions are often non-transferable. Will Trump be an exception to the rule if he gets behind DeSantis quickly? We shall see.