Former President Trump says he’s decided whether or not he’ll run for president in 2024. He’s just debating when he’ll announce his decision, before or after the midterm elections.
Trump may or may not have actually decided, or he may change his mind if he has. No one knows whether he’ll run again, but there are several reasons why he shouldn’t.
The policies. If you liked Trump’s policies, you’re in luck. There’s a plethora of potential GOP presidential candidates who would bring similar policies to the White House, but with less drama and fewer distractions.
That’s important. The 2024 presidential election will likely be policy focused, as Republican candidates propose ways to fix the Biden economic mess. Trump’s frequent distractions gave the media an opportunity to talk almost entirely about his personal negatives rather than his policy positives.
If Trump doesn’t run, the left-leaning media will still attack any up-and-coming Republican candidates, but the criticism will likely focus more on proposed policies than on social media posts.
The U.S. Supreme Court. For lots of conservatives and Republicans (26 percent by one tally) who were generally turned off by Trump and his persona, the Supreme Court was the primary, if not the only, reason they voted for him.
Justice Antonin Scalia died in early 2016, so then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to hold hearings on President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, until after the presidential election. Many voters recognized a new president would have at least one Supreme Court appointment. And given the age of some of the justices, it was possible one or two additional seats would open up over the next four years.
Candidate Trump promised to nominate conservative, “originalist” jurists to Supreme Court vacancies, and he did just that.
While the Court will always be an important factor in presidential elections, it may not be as much of a driving force in the next one. At 74, Justice Clarence Thomas is the oldest, followed by Justice Samuel Alito at 72. Both seem still to be on their game and functioning well.
So, the next president may have the opportunity to appoint only one justice, if any. And any Republican president would likely appoint another conservative originalist to the Court.
Moreover, as the Court’s recent West Virginia v. EPA decision demonstrates, the Court seems determined to return some powers to the states that has been amassed, or asserted, by Washington bureaucrats and agencies. That switch is an important and healthy step for democracy. And it may mean that progressives will increasingly turn to the states, rather than the Supreme Court, to try and impose their agenda.
The deep bench. It was said after Trump’s victory in the 2016 election that he was probably the only Republican who could have beaten Hillary Clinton. One could also suggest that Trump was probably the only Republican who could have lost to Joe Biden in 2020.
Biden may run for reelection in 2024, if Democrats can’t find a way to stop him. And while Trump might win a rematch, that’s far from certain.
The Democrats’ problem is there’s almost no credible alternative presidential candidate who would be a serious contender. They may be stuck with Biden.
That’s not a problem facing Republicans. There are several younger potential Republican candidates with successful experience as governors and senators, even a secretary of state.
The point is there will be no problem filling Trump’s shoes; the problem will be getting him to step out of those shoes.
The baggage. Trump entered the 2016 presidential race with a lot of baggage, both personal and professional. He will have even more baggage in 2024, especially that related to his continued refusal to accept the 2020 election results, the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and the findings of the Jan. 6 Committee.
The 1/6 Committee can be criticized for several reasons, including the credibility of some of its members, its lack of transparency and its refusal to allow any cross-examination of witnesses.
That said, most witnesses are longtime conservative Republicans who are, or were, strong supporters of Trump. Their remarks and observations have been very detrimental to the former president and his actions in the wake of the 2020 election.
If Trump were to run again, Democratic attack adds would be nonstop replays of 1/6 testimony, suggesting that we could see yet another assertion of a stolen election and a Capitol riot if Trump were to lose a second time. That’s the last thing the country needs.
While Democrats may be stuck with Biden, Republicans are not stuck with Trump. He may not be willing to move on with his life, but Republicans should be with theirs.