Donald Trump clearly wants to run for president again in 2024. Here are six solid reasons why, if nominated, he is unlikely to win.
1. Trump has lost the popular vote in two presidential elections. Yes, he won the Electoral College in 2016. He carried the vote in that troubled mechanism the founders devised to dilute the potential damage that unfettered democracy might do to the new republic. Numerous attempts by Trump to claim that his vote totals exceeded those of opposing candidates in particular states have failed.
2. It is contrary to the American tradition to elect a once-defeated presidential candidate. Only one has succeeded; Grover Cleveland won in 1884, lost in 1888 (although he carried the popular vote), and won again in 1892.
3. Trump is a tarnished candidate. His overall popularity has never been large except with certain right-leaning voters, mostly in the South. There is abundant evidence that his stock is in decline among Republicans – the most evident being Fox News’ decreasing interest. Until the flap over the FBI’s raid on Trump’s Florida home last weekend, Fox had not done a featured interview about Trump for a hundred days.
4. Trump is a sore loser who, to this day, refuses to concede his electoral defeat in 2020. The American people are not kind to politicians or athletes who cannot graciously accept defeat. The public, except for Trump’s fanatical followers, is simply tired of the endless drama surrounding him.
5. Trump’s attempt to overthrow the 2020 election outcome failed and cannot be resurrected, despite the weaknesses it exposed in the American system. There is a strong movement toward legislative reform of the 1887 Electoral Count Act, parts of which the Trump forces attempted to exploit, including pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to complete the normally ceremonial count. If Pence had attempted any such thing, Congress would have overruled him. The election was over, counted and confirmed.
6. It is too early to gauge the impact of the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida enclave. Once the fuss over that search dies down, it is hard to conceive how this episode helps Trump in the fall elections, especially if it is proven he kept documents related to nuclear weapons development, deployment and defense.
The bottom line is that Trump’s prominence has been bad for the spirit and the performance of the Republican Party.
If nominated, there will be people and pressures within his own party that will, covertly or overtly, oppose his continuing domination of the party and resist his leadership and influence.
In the wake of the FBI search of Trump’s home, Trumpian fanatics have called for “civil war” and violent resistance.
While we cannot ignore the possibility of such protests by Trump supporters, we are not going to refight the Civil War in this country.
It is haunting that many of these seditious cries are coming from radicals in the states of the old Confederacy.
It is time to say “enough” – “enough” to civil war talk, “enough” to violent resistance to legitimate elections, and “enough” to demagogues like Donald Trump.
David A. Nichols, of Winfield, is a presidential historian and author of “Ike and McCarthy.”