Is Trump’s base shrinking?
(Disclaimer: I expect a lot of blow-back from the hardcore Trump supporters. But I have spent my entire life as a commentator and political pundit calling them like I see them. That does not mean that I am always happy with what I see and report.)
Yes, I believe President Trump’s base is shrinking. You can see that in the polls and anecdotally in the number of folks who are moving away from even considering the former President for any future run. I saw it in 2020 with the number of former Trump voters who were switching sides or not voting.
To understand any reduction in the support for a second term for President Trump, we need to understand that his so-called based of undying loyalists was never as large as the media contends. They are inflating the reality to create an oversized straw man to use as the opponent in the 2022 midterm election. They contend that every Republican who is not openly critical of Trump is his base – and they are all a mix of conspiratorial theories, insurrectionists and intolerance nutcases. That is a lie … a HUGE LIE.
Even though Trump is not on the ballot in 2022, the left wants the election all about him – or at least the Trump they characterize. The Democrats internal polls likely show them that is the issues dominated the minds of the 2022 voters, they lose … big time.
The left is desperate to make the 2022 election all about Trump. So … they have to inflate his influence over the Republican Party – calling it “the party of Trump” — and then demonize the inflated caricature. They would like American voters to believe that Trump is all but certain to be the GOP presidential candidate in 2024 – and that is a bad thing. They then use Trump to use the broad-brush of propaganda to demonize the entire Republican Party.
Personally, I do not believe that Trump is a cinch to be the Republican standard bearer in 2024. In fact, I think the chance is less than 50/50 if he decides to run for a second term. I can see scenarios by which he COULD win the nomination – and even the election – but the odds are against him. He would again need a very large field of contenders to divide up the vote to secure the nomination.
Polls that currently show that Trump as the favored candidate do not have serious candidates as a head-to-head comparison. Once other candidates emerge and the campaign is based on more than speculation, Trump will face a serious challenge. It is possible – albeit unlikely – that his presence in the race would scare out all credible opponents. I feel certain, however, that there will be other candidates.
It does appear that Trump is driving away support with his pugnacious attacks on a swath of Republican leaders. Since the 2020 election, Trump has attacked former Vice President Pence, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, former Attorney General Robert Barr, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Lindsey Graham and an untold number of Republican state officials.
I tend to admire these folks for doing a good job for the conservative cause. All these people are in office because the voters put them there. They have a following, and Trump’s fitful attacks are turning off folks who might otherwise stick with Trump.
Those who have read my commentaries know that I draw a distinction between the Trump policies and the Trump personality. I admire the former and abhor the latter. But I understand that the personality has undermined the policies. He has made himself – and the GOP – an easy target for the most outrageous attacks from Democrats and the left-wing news media.
Democrats were successful in making Trump a deciding issue in the past two elections. I believe that he is the reason the GOP lost the House in the 2018 midterm election – and the Senate in 2020.
Trump’s popularity rating is falling. It was never above 50 percent and now it is reaching the mid to low 20 percentile. One does not win elections with those numbers. To be a serious contender in 2024, Trump will have to improve those numbers. And so far, he has not shown the capacity to do so.
Another sign that Trump is fading as a future presidential contender is that old issue of crowd size. Yes, we are not in the midst of a heated campaign, but even taking that into account, the number of folks attending his rallies is diminishing.
As the former Republican President, Trump has following and influence in the Party – but he does not own the Party. Nor is the Party some sort of cult-of-personality as the left contends. There are tens of millions of Americans who will be voting for Republican candidates in 2022. But the vast majority are not being driven by allegiance to Trump. They are being driven by the issues and a dedication to conservative American principles. As in 2016, the Republican voter will be casting their ballots more “against” than “for.”
I truly believe that what will motivate Republican voters in 2022 is what motivated them in 2016 – rejection of the far-left candidates and policies of the Democratic Party. The question is whether Trump can ride that tide as he did in 2016.
So, there ‘tis.