Democrats keep insisting that it would be a disaster if Donald Trump ran for president in 2024.
On reflection, I don’t think that would be such a bad thing.
Suppose Trump announces his candidacy, either before or shortly after the midterm elections in November.
Recent poll results suggest that Republicans increasingly prefer a candidate who isn’t weighed down by Trump’s baggage. Trump remains strong in the Republican Party, but he’s not as strong as he once was.
The January 6 Committee hearings are taking a toll and will continue to do so when the Committee reconvenes in September.
I suspect that 2023 generally will not be a good year for Trump. There’s the E. Jean Carroll rape/defamation trial in February. If Carroll really has DNA evidence, that might be a tough week or two for Trump.
At that trial, Trump would almost surely have to testify. As everyone knows — and as Alex Jones is in the process of proving again — it’s very hard for people who lie as easily as they breathe to testify honestly. During the E. Jean Carroll trial, there would be plenty of stories about Trump contradicting established facts.
That would be followed by a verdict.
And that verdict would be followed by other civil trials against Trump later in the year, the New York Attorney General’s likely civil case against Trump, and possible indictments by the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney or the Department of Justice.
I suspect that stuff will take a heavy toll on Trump’s popularity, even among some of his loyalists.
Here’s the interesting bit: Suppose, for these or other reasons, Trump does not win the Iowa caucuses. If the past is prologue, Trump will claim — as he did when he didn’t win the Iowa caucuses in 2016 — that there was a fraud. And if Trump loses any of the later caucuses or primaries, he’ll surely again claim fraud.
Cognitive dissonance runs deep, but it would have to run deeper than the Mariana Trench for Republicans to believe that Republican caucuses and primaries were rigged against Trump. It’s possible, of course; the Republican establishment may dislike Trump so much that they rig the primary system against him, just as Democrats supposedly rigged the general election in 2020. But sane people will begin to think this isn’t likely, and the Republican Party may become divided over the suggestion that Trump consistently loses elections only due to fraud.
In many ways, isn’t that the outcome that Democrats (and, perhaps, all Americans) should prefer — a Republican Party that begins to understand that Trump occasionally misstates things, and a large piece of that party choosing to move on to new candidates and ideas?
Mark Herrmann spent 17 years as a partner at a leading international law firm and is now deputy general counsel at a large international company. He is the author of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law and Drug and Device Product Liability Litigation Strategy (affiliate links). You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.