Former President Donald Trump remains a potential candidate for the Republican nomination in 2024. But Trump’s grip on the Republican Party is weakening, and his victory is far from certain. Trump will face serious primary challengers that have the potential to unseat him as the Republican Party’s standard-bearer.
Trump and the GOP
For the first time in seven years, Trump appears to be particularly vulnerable within the Republican Party. Trump’s electability is being called into question. Naturally. Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, and his supporters have continued to lose elections afterwards.
Most notably, Trump supporters were crushed in the 2022 midterm elections, with only one Trump supporter (JD Vance of Ohio) winning a battleground election. Simultaneously, Trump is involved in a slew of lawsuits, investigations, and controversies, all of which contribute to further degrade his stock.
According to a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University survey, republicans like Trump’s policies but would prefer a different candidate to be the GOP nominee. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was the candidate chosen by voters. However, DeSantis will not be the only viable Republican contender. Former Vice President Mike Pence is considering a presidential candidacy.
Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and maybe Josh Hawley will run. Mike Pompeo will almost certainly run. Nikki Haley is considering a run. The point is that Trump will have tough opposition at a time when his stock has never been worse. Trump might lose the Republican nomination.
Trump as a Third-Party Candidate?
Trump does not strike me as the kind to just pack his stuff and go. While 999 out of 1,000 Republicans who lose the Republican nomination will call it quits, Trump might be the one-in-a-thousand sort of stubborn. Political advisors close to Trump recently told Salon that a third party headed by Trump was possible.
“Trump was so successful in part because he ran against the elite and out-of-touch political establishment on both sides, so I’d say it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility.” If Trump does run as a third-party candidate, the conservative vote bloc will be split in half. Trump remains an iconic personality, almost an institution in and of himself. Many MAGA supporters would follow Trump anywhere, including third-party territory.
The results would be catastrophic for the Republican Party. Trump would very certainly sway a sizable portion of the conservative voting group away from the GOP nominee. The Republican candidate would be limited. As a third-party candidate, Trump would not have enough support to defeat the Democratic nominee. In the end, a Trump third-party run would be a petulant act of cannibalism.