The most popular parlor game in Washington, D.C. today — aside from trying to determine if the Secret Service sought to abduct Mike PenceOn January 6, to seal the coup. destroyed text messages to cover up those intentions — is trying to guess what Donald Trump is going to do with his ceaseless presidential ambitions, and when he is going to do it. The answers to these questions will determine a lot.
Trump is well-known around the world wants to run againIt is a fact that the man has not hidden. However, his thoughts about running have been growing like a blister in the back of his mind and could burst sooner that even his most dedicated supporters expect. “The former president is now eyeing a September announcement, according to two Trump advisers, who like some others interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations,” reports The Washington Post. “One confidant put the odds at ‘70-30 he announces before the midterms.’ And others said he may still decide to announce sooner than September.”
The Republicans are currently enjoying almost all of the political winds in their favor. A country battered and price-shocked in inflation appears to be poised for a party that represents officials who believe Jesus wants 10-year old rape victims to take power. be forced to remain pregnant. I’m not here to peer through the murky veil of that psychology, other than to note that here is what happens when settled law and established rights are blown up by an extremist, activist Supreme Court majority. The fall of Roe has Democratic voters in an uproar which may even the contest in November … but the United States is still the United States, and similar predictions have erred before.
Trump’s pre-midterms entry into the presidential fray would, simply put, blow away all political calculus. Politico reports:
Democrats aren’t just eager for Donald Trump to cannonball into the 2024 presidential race before the fall midterms. They are all looking for ways to immediately capitalize on a pre November announcement. Campaigns and officials at major Democratic outfits are planning to capture the anticipated cash windfall that would come their way should Trump announce he’s making another run at the White House. Candidates also are exploring ways to exploit Trump’s premature entry to energize despondent base voters and coalesce independents and suburb-dwellers who have soured on the party over stubbornly high inflation.
Since leaving office, Trump’s lies about a stolen election and grievance-filled tirades against disloyal “RINOS” have continued unabated. While he’s never fully receded from the national stage, a formal declaration that he’s running would dominate the media landscape and — many Democrats expect — serve as a major distraction for down-ballot Republicans.
A man of common sense might look at his opponents and see them waiting in a gleeful position for his next move. Then, he might reconsider his move. No one has ever referred to Trump as a “man of sense,” and in any event, he has some singular pressures upon him to move sooner rather than later. First of all, and despite all protests to the contrary, the man’s finances are drowning in red ink.
“Trump is $100 million in debt for Trump Tower,” I wrote in September of 2020, “with the loan coming due in less than two years. He owes $139m for his 40 Wall Street properties, with the debt due in 2025. His stake in the 1290 Ave. of the Americas property is worth $285 million. It will be due in 2022. His $163 million stake in the 555 California St. property comes due next year. This list continues, eventually leading to approximately $1.1 billion in debt.”
That hasn’t changed, but the absence of an active campaign money spigot has put a crimp in the eternal grifting he requires to keep the financial wolf at bay. Running for president will allow him to lighten that machine again, and allow him to continue his lifelong habit of failing upward.
The financial pressures don’t seem to be enough. Rivals are shedding their fear of Trump every day. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is popularly opposed and, perhaps more importantly, a fan favorite Fox News. Mike Pence, Nikki Haley and others are watching. Trump seems to believe that an early announcement will clear out the field. While that may have been true one year ago, the numbers have changed significantly and are not encouraging.
“By focusing on political payback inside his party instead of tending to wounds opened by his alarming attempts to cling to power after his 2020 defeat, Mr. Trump appears to have only deepened fault lines among Republicans during his yearlong revenge tour,” reports The New York Times. “A clear majority of primary voters under 35 years old, 64 percent, as well as 65 percent of those with at least a college degree — a leading indicator of political preferences inside the donor class — told pollsters they would vote against Mr. Trump in a presidential primary.”
Finally, there’s the notion of a presidential run that will derail and ultimately undo. all the legal challengesTrump currently faces. While such a development would be problematic, it would not be without the legal consequences that Trump is facing.
“One thing the Democrats know for certain is that Trump’s uncontrolled ego is his own worst enemy,” notesTy Cobb, a former Trump White House attorney. “They are praying they are able to goad him into an announcement for a 2024 presidential run. His self-defeating, overwhelming need for relevance and attention, as well as his financial gain, is what a 2024 declaration of candidacy would serve. Such an announcement also does not inoculate him from criminal investigation.”
The preponderance of evidence arrayed against Trump — from the Jan. 6 committee, from Georgia, and ever so lugubriously from the Department of Justice — is overwhelming, and demands action. “But I’m running for president!” doesn’t seem like a big enough stick to beat back the onslaught, no matter when he chooses to announce.
But who knows? Former FBI Director James Comey helped Trump in 2016 with his preposterous wingding over Hillary Clinton’s emails 10 days before the election. It would be just about right for this timeline if Attorney General Merrick Garland chooses to help Trump by doing nothing because, well, he’s a candidate for president you guys. Failing upward indeed.
One thing is certain: If Trump enters the 2024 presidential race prior to the 2022 midterms then all the pundits will be able to take their carefully crafted predictions, and set them ablaze.