Donald Trump. Whether you love him or hate him, you cannot dispute he has had a daily hold over the media for over ten years now.
America has never been more divided and whether Trump has played a role in furthering these divisions or he has taken advantage of these divisions for his own personal benefit is open to debate.
There seems to be a sense of feeling that his latest indictment (and mugshot) in Georgia will impact him and the course of the 2024 election in the coming months.
But is that totally accurate, and are we starting to see the beginning of the end of the Trump candidacy?
The 2016 US Presidential campaign seems like a century ago now. But the reality is that it was just seven years ago and the Trump campaign managed to claim a victory that no one expected.
Many will remember that during his campaign launch in 2015, Trump said Mexico "was not sending their best," and added, "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists."
The following year, less than a month before Americans went to the polls, the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape emerged, where Trump talked about women and “grabbing them by the p****."
Chants of “lock her up” about arguably the best-prepared woman for the White House were the norm at Trump's campaign rallies.
Despite all this, Trump still managed to maintain support from a large portion of the Hispanic vote and female vote. It was almost as if he was the ultimate presidential candidate perfectly coated in Teflon where nothing would stick to him.
Jump forward to today, and where do we stand? Trump's first term in the White House saw a revolving door of Secretaries who would depart when not agreeing with the Trumponian line, and the advent of COVID placed him into our living rooms on a nightly basis for a year. He went through a whole series of investigations during his term in office, and yet he managed to place three judges onto the Supreme Court bench, thus shaping it for years to come.
Trump is the first President of the United States to have been impeached twice. He has also been indicted on four separate charges in four different parts of the country.
Trump's base has fallen further in love with him as he continues to polarize an already divided country.
Long before election day in 2020, Donald Trump had often questioned the electoral process and had indicated he would not accept the result if he lost. As we now know, this came to pass and the insurrection on January 6, 2021, ultimately derived from a reluctance to admit and accept defeat.
While election results are often questioned around the world with just cause, the inability of Donald Trump to accept defeat has led to the development of so many conspiracy theories about how the election was stolen. It is hard to imagine that while not one piece of evidence has been produced to indicate the election was stolen, a majority of Republicans say Biden's win in 2020 was not legitimate, an increase from earlier this year.
Trump has continued to fan the flames on this, and it shows no sign of abating.
However, President Biden has also had a challenging period in the White House. It is hard to believe, but the biggest challenge and foe for Biden these last three years came from within his own party. The 2020 election presented Biden with a glorious opportunity to make a major imprint on the future direction of the United States. A majority in both houses and a President in the White House should have set the country up for a period of change.
This opportunity was effectively derailed and destroyed by members from within Biden’s own Democrat party, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona. Bill after bill was ultimately watered down to appease these two senators, and Biden’s ambitious plans were neutralized from within. It is hard to see a Republican Senator or Congressman sabotaging their own party in such a manner. The specter of Manchin continues to raise its head with the Senator now considering a White House run as an independent. This could have the catastrophic impact of taking some votes away from Biden, and ultimately gifting the White House to the Republicans.
Elections are all about convincing the electorate that you deserve a chance to represent them. Trump has made mistakes in the past, but he keeps bouncing back. Will charges related to the insurrection, “finding votes,” or the discovery of classified files in his home really impact him? His base continues to support and defend, and the expected decline does not seem to be happening. Trump is adored by his base, and is currently primed to secure the Republican nomination. It is his to lose, and realistically it may only be a health or age concern that would potentially lead to him stepping aside from picking up the nomination.
Winning the general election will be more challenging for Trump. Every person has an opinion of him, and it is hard to find an undecided voter out there with no opinion on the former President. As a result, turnout in the election is likely to be the biggest issue.
However, should a third-party candidate in the form of Joe Manchin launch a campaign and take any votes away from Biden Trump may find a return to the White House was not as challenging as most people expected.
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