Donald J. Trump, 2024.
President Trump may be booted from the White House, but he isn’t going anywhere.
“I would absolutely expect the president to stay involved in politics and would absolutely put him on the shortlist of people who are likely to run in 2024,” Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland, told the Irish Times last week.
Mulvaney previously served as Trump’s acting chief of staff. His comment came during a webinar hosted by the Institute for International and European Affairs, a Dublin-based think tank.
Four years from now, Mulvaney pointed out, Trump will still be younger than Joe Biden is now. The president, he said, is a “very high-energy 74-year-old” and is sure to be “further engaged in 2024 or 2028 if he were to lose this next election.”
High energy, indeed. Even as the president’s red-hot re-election plans fade away in Biden’s blue mist, Trump is plotting a return engagement.
That’s a terrifying prospect for the weaselly GOP leaders who stuck with Trump through thick and thin but now may be plotting their own 2024 presidential bids.
With few exceptions, top Republican elected officials have been either silent or exceedingly mealy-mouthed in the face of Trump’s outrageous and undemocratic claims in the last week of election fraud.
“Leaders” like Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the legions of others who are considering presidential bids.
They would love to see Trump disappear, but they also want the support of his political base.
Trump won 71 million votes and counting in the Nov. 3 election. His abjectly loyal 2016 following backed him, once again, to Make America Great Again.
That makes Trump the odds-on favorite in the next Republican presidential go-round. No one else in the GOP can compete for his adoring mix of non-college educated and working-class whites, religious conservatives and older voters.
The president is a marketing mastermind with only one cause: himself. From the White House, he’s already promoting his special brand of victimization.
Trumpers fervently believe in the tenets of Trumpism: That the news is fake. That Democrats are radical left socialists who wear horns. That “those people” stole the election from them.
For months, Trump has been whipping them up with his gospel that the Democratic Party’s push for early and mail-in voting is a diabolical plan to steal the election.
It’s fundamentally fraudulent mantra that could undermine our democracy. Yet that belief is firmly planted in Trump Land, where it will sprout and prosper in the runup to the next presidential contest.
Trump will rile up his supporters with bitter, misplaced grievances. Then he’ll unleash them to undergird his presidential comeback. Like those thousands upon thousands who happily flocked to his massive rallies during a raging pandemic.
They have long been convinced that Trump’s political enemies are trying to steal “their” America. Now, Trump’s lying claims of massive fraud gives them an even greater, nobler mission — to get “their” America back.
In Trump Land, he will tell his fervent followers, the only way to Make America Great Again is to avenge the theft of his presidency by restoring him to power.
Trump Land is like Hotel California. You can check out, but you can never leave.
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