Well, today is theoretically the big day for notable bone-spur sufferer Donald Trump. Last week, he strongly implied that he was going to announce a third presidential bid today. He re-teased it again yesterday, posting a message to his social media platform: "Hopefully, tomorrow will turn out to be one of the most important days in the history of our Country!" And the word from his camp is that all systems are go, and that the announcement will be made at Mar-a-Lago at 9:00 p.m. ET. They did not make clear if the announcement will be made from the room where nuclear secrets are kept.
A sizable portion of the Republican establishment doesn't want Trump to run again at all. An even more sizable portion wants him to wait until after the Georgia runoff. But when you tell your adoring fans that November 15 is the day, forgetting about (or maybe never being aware of) the possibility that the elections will stretch into December, you've kind of spray-tanned yourself into a corner.
Trump, of course, does not care about what's best for the Republican Party. However, he does care about being embarrassed. And on that basis, he really ought to think twice about declaring today. The anti-tax Club for Growth (CfG) was, for several years, the Club for Trump. Now, however, it is definitely the Club for Ron. And yesterday, the CfG released a couple of polls they recently paid for. The numbers are... grim for The Donald.
The two polls are of Republican voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. Barring a change, those are, of course, the first two states to cast ballots in the presidential nomination process. In Iowa, in a head-to-head matchup, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) leads Trump 48% to 37%. And in New Hampshire, it's even worse, with the Governor up 52% to 37%. The staff mathematician is busy preparing for Have a Party with Your Bear Day, which is tomorrow, of course, but he was nonetheless able to advise us that 52-37 is a 15-point lead for DeSantis. Ouch.
And therein lies the rub. The various polling houses don't exactly have a lot to do right now, especially since they can only poll Georgia so many times. And so, when and if Trump declares, every pollster and their sister is going to have an excuse to conduct a plethora of Trump vs. DeSantis polls. Assuming CfG's pollster (WPAI Intelligence) isn't cooking the books, and the former president really has fallen that far behind the Governor, then that means humiliations galore, possibly on a daily basis.
And then there are the other downsides for Trump. Campaign finance laws will kick in once he's declared, meaning that the grift gets much trickier to get away with. Plus, the RNC will cut him off and stop paying his legal bills. That's reportedly seven figures a month right there.
And Trump would be accepting all of these consequences for... what benefit, exactly? Yeah, he'll get a burst of attention if he declares today, but it's not likely to last. What he does and what he says become somewhat more newsworthy if he's a bona fide presidential candidate, but they don't become that much more newsworthy. We stopped writing up the vast majority of nutty and/or venal things he said while he was still in the White House; we're certainly not going to jump all over them when he's not a president anymore and the election is still nearly 2 years away. And we think the media in general is on the same page here; his wackiness stopped generating clicks and newsstand sales a long time ago.
Meanwhile, Trump also thinks that declaring for president will make AG Merrick Garland think twice about an indictment. While we agree that, all things being equal, Garland would prefer to indict a regular private citizen than a declared presidential candidate, we really don't think that Trump's announcing will have much of an effect on the AG's thinking. Maybe if this was March 2024, but it's not. And the Department of Justice can hardly allow the message to be sent that if you're going to break the law as a politician, all you have to do is declare a run for president/senator/representative/governor/dogcatcher, and you're bulletproof.
So again, Trump might want to think twice about the pros and cons of declaring today. Of course, when was the last time he ever thought twice about... anything? (Z)