Reagan: Trump would be too risky for 2024
Published 10:42 am Friday, July 15, 2022
Donald Trump is out there speaking and drawing fired-up crowds in places like Illinois.
It’s obvious that he’s still the most popular figure and dominant force in the Republican Party.
But I’m worried that despite his lasting popularity among most Republicans, he’s a liability to the GOP’s chances to retake the White House in 2024.
The good news for Republicans is that this fall, thanks to Joe Biden, it looks like nothing is going to prevent a red wave from flushing Democrats out of power in the House and probably in the Senate.
Trump’s energetic stumping will no doubt boost the Republican rout in November.
He’s been blasting Biden and the Democrats for all the obvious and correct reasons — 9 percent inflation, soaring gas prices, spiking crime rates, etc., etc.
But the bad news for Republicans is that Trump won’t stop talking about how he was cheated in the 2020 election.
That claim may please the hardcore Trump faithful, but it is an immediate turnoff to the independents and moderate Democrats whose votes the Republican Party will need to retake the White House in 2024.
Republicans who want Trump to run in 2024 need to understand some big numbers.
We know from the 2020 election that 75 million people around the country voted for Trump and recent polls in places like Arizona say 92 percent of Republicans want him to run again.
But not so fast.
Although there is a huge number of Republicans who still love Trump for who he is and what he accomplished, there’s an equal or greater number of moderate Democrats and independents who hate his guts.
Their hatred of Trump is so absolute that for many Democrats and independents it trumps their anger and disappointment at Biden’s 18-month string of blunders.
In fact, a recent poll found that despite Biden’s serial screwups, 92 percent of Democrats would still vote for him in 2024 — but that’s if he was running against Trump again.
I bet 92 percent of Democrat voters would support California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Hillary Clinton or any Democrat without a prison record — if they were running against Trump.
All this makes Donald Trump big trouble for the GOP’s future.
Unless he pulls a political miracle and gets a whole lot of unhappy Democrats and independents to stop hating him by 2024, he’ll lose again because registered Democrats and independents far outnumber Republicans.
On the other hand, if the GOP nominates someone other than Trump, I think that the percentage of Democrats voting for Biden (or any other Democrat) in 2024 could be as low as 50 percent.
We’ve already seen reports that the Democrat Party is shrinking and Latino voters are abandoning it in shocking numbers.
If the GOP picks a presidential candidate like Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, millions of disgruntled or dismayed Democrats and independents who truly want to fix the country will be happy to vote Republican.
My biggest worry about the GOP is that we could blow it in 2024 by nominating Trump.
There are a dozen Republican senators and governors who could beat whomever the Democrats choose in 2024 — but Trump would lose.
It doesn’t matter that his record is a thousand times better than Biden’s or that a return to his sensible economic and immigration policies are what the country needs to regain its health and security.
Trump polarized the entire country once and he’d do it again.
If he runs in 2024 one of the most important elections of our time would be reduced to a 24/7 TV reality show about Trump and his personality.
I’m not a never-Trumper, but I plan to support someone else for the GOP’s nomination in 2024.
Trump showed the Republican Party a better road to take in 2016. Now we need to find someone else to do the driving.
Michael Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan, is an author, speaker and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @reaganworld on Twitter.