Updated: Feb 11
Former President Trump announced shortly after the midterm elections of 2022 that he will seek another bid for the presidency of the United States. Despite his announcement, his campaign has not really taken off like it did in 2015 and 2020. In 2015, when Donald Trump announced his run for the presidency; his vulgarity, outspokenness, and abrasive arrogance were his main assets to distinguish himself from other political candidates who were considered “career politicians” or “classic politicians.” Trump said out loud what many people were quietly thinking. He became a sensation; he was the outsider who disrupted the political market. The American people wanted a break away from conventional politics, and many of them ended up embracing his aggressive personality because it reflects the famous “peace through strength” doctrine.
In 2020, President Trump ran but lost the election; an election that he always refused to concede and acknowledge his defeat. Throughout his presidential term, his approval rating averaged below 50%. To be exact, his overall approval rating was 41% according to Gallup. This clearly means more than half of the American people did not approve of him for various reasons. His management of the pandemic played a huge role in his subsequent defeat in 2020. Prior to 2020, President Trump had a rather solid record in terms of policies. His economic policies spurred economic growth, his immigration policies strengthened the border and reduced crime, and his foreign policy maintained peace across the world to the point that he was even nominated a few times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Thus, before the pandemic, President Trump’s policies produced satisfactory results.
Meanwhile; Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, who is seen as Trump’s legitimate successor, started to stand out and become his own man with his conservative policies that promoted individual liberties while most U.S. states passed a series of restrictive policies that increased government control over people’s freedom. Indeed, Florida was one of the very few states that never implemented a lockdown policy during the Coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, DeSantis’ economic and social policies made Florida a very lucrative state for business owners due to its tax-friendly policies and attractive for families that wanted to avoid woke policies that started infiltrating school systems and other aspects of their social lives. In a nutshell, DeSantis turned Florida into an Eldorado where the American Dream can be fulfilled at its core.
2022 has, indeed, been an eye-opening year for the Republican Party. The Party was divided between the Election Deniers (also known as the Trump-backed candidates) and the Classical Republicans (The Establishment). A “Red Wave” was expected during that election cycle, but the outcome was rather disappointing. Most of the Trump-backed candidates lost the midterm elections. Ron DeSantis was the major and most significant victory for the Republican Party that night. He won by a landslide while most Trump-backed candidates failed. And that failure is reflected in Trump’s leadership in the party. It showed that many Americans wanted to dissociate themselves from the “election stolen” narrative that President Trump spread around since 2020.
The political victory of Ron DeSantis has started to strengthen his position as a serious contender for the Party’s leadership and the presidency. Conservative and liberal news media acknowledge the political rise of Ron DeSantis to national prominence. President Trump sees this rise as a threat to his power over the Party. President Trump seems insecure. Many prominent figures within the Republican Party have urged him not to run for the 2024 election, but President Trump; stubborn as we know him; cannot admit that he should not run. For him, not running in 2024 would effectively confirm that he was conceding to his defeat in 2020, which is something unthinkable for President Trump. President Trump is committed to running in 2024, and Governor DeSantis has not yet declared whether he would run or not. But if he decides to run in 2024, there is a very strong chance that he might defeat President Trump, and this potential defeat at the stage of the primaries would be Trump’s political demise and ultimate humiliation.