Donald Trump: What are the obstacles standing in the way of the former US President’s return to the White House?
- Anton Zuricher
- BBC North American Correspondent
Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidential election for the third time, a rare attempt by a former US president looking to return to the White House after losing the election.
Trump delivered an hour-long speech boasting about his achievements in the White House and attacked current President Joe Biden’s performance during the first half of his term.
The former US President arrived with his usual dexterity and exceptional ability to address issues that stir traditional conservative sentiment, including immigration and crime. His fiery comments and controversial style would polarize the media and block coverage of his rivals.
Trump has a loyal following, and he can motivate non-political Americans to vote. After four years in office, many of his supporters still hold leadership positions in the Republican Party.
But the speech also revealed many of her weaknesses:
He ignored the troubles Americans went through during the pandemic and the mistakes he made, just as he completely ignored the months he refused to concede defeat in the presidential election, and this led to the attack the headquarters of Congress on January 6th. by groups of his followers.
He tried to defend the Republican Party’s lackluster performance in the recent midterm elections and its support for losing candidates, drawing criticism from conservatives.
Trump said the next task no “traditional candidate” could handle but required millions of people to rally around it, and that was his movement, his group and his campaign.
Trump rode this wave and it led him to the presidency 6 years ago. But the barriers standing in his way to the White House this time are more difficult, for the following reasons:
1- past setbacks
When Trump announced his intention to run for the presidency 8 years ago, he had no real political record. Since he had never held government office at the time, voters pinned their hopes and aspirations on him. Back then, he could make big promises without his critics citing his previous failures or mistakes.
This is no longer possible today. During his presidency, Trump has had a number of successes, including tax cuts and criminal justice reforms, but he has also had major failures.
Republicans remember that he couldn’t reverse the health care reforms the Democrats dreamed up, and they remember his repeated promises to invest in infrastructure without getting anywhere. There is also talk of Trump’s handling of the corona pandemic, which could open fire on him from various fronts.
2-The Ghost of January 6th
Not only will Trump defend his record in the White House, but he will have to justify his behavior at the end of his term as President and his role in the attack on Congressional headquarters on January 6, 2021.
The images from that day, which show Trump supporters raising his banners and demolishing the Capitol amid tear gas and their awkward disruption of the peaceful transfer of power, will not be easily forgotten.
Many of the Republican candidates who publicly supported Trump’s rejection of the 2020 presidential election results lost the midterm elections. And many of them did worse in their states than other Republicans who did not deny Trump’s defeat in the election.
3- Judicial problems
One of the reasons that seems to have persuaded Trump to run again for the presidential election is that the candidacy allows him to present the various criminal and civil investigations against him as part of a broader political campaign against him.
This attempt may be successful in terms of bolstering his popularity, but the charges against him in the investigation are actually realistic.
The former US President faces a criminal probe into voter fraud in Georgia, a civil probe into fraud at his business empire in New York, a libel case involving allegations of sexual assault, and a federal investigation into his role in the attack on congressional headquarters and his handling of classified documents after his tenure as President.
Any such investigation could result in a full-page lawsuit and disrupt Trump’s campaign, if only temporarily.
The lawsuits will, at best, distract his campaign platform but, at worst, could cost him hefty fines and possibly jail time.
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Trump faced the Florida governor, who was considered the front-runner in the Republican race, in the race for the Republican nomination, but then it turned out that Jeb Bush was nothing but a paper tiger.
The massive campaign funds and fame weren’t enough to win the Republican nomination.
His positions on immigration and education policies did not resonate with the party base. Bush’s name has lost its luster in the party ranks.
And if Trump is to win the support of the Republican Party in the presidential election, he must once again face the Florida governor.
And unlike Bush, Ron DeSantis just won a resounding election victory, which means he’s perfectly aligned with the aspirations of his party base. And even though he hasn’t yet qualified at national level, his star is beginning to shine.
It was not clear that De Santis wanted to run in the presidential election, and no other candidate announced they would run in the Republican Party.
Far behind De Santis in a two-way contest between them for Republican voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.
And the two states are organizing the vote earlier than others in the competition for the nomination on behalf of the Republican Party.
De Santis also led by 26 points in Florida and 20 points in Georgia, which will witness a runoff for the Senate election in December.
Trump was also behind in all of these states in previous polls.
According to post-voting polls from the recent midterm elections, Trump is no longer enjoying the popularity he used to have, even in the key states he must win to secure the presidency in the general election.
In New Hampshire, only 30 percent want Trump to run for president again. Even in Florida, the number didn’t rise above 33 percent.
Trump overcame negative opinions about his candidacy in 2015, but after 8 years in the national political arena, those views are unlikely to change.
6- The age factor
If Trump wins the presidency, he will be 78 on the day of his inauguration. It’s the same age that Biden moved into the White House. Even so, he would be the second-longest-serving president in US history.
In fact, the age factor varies from person to person, but its impact on a person’s performance cannot be ignored.
Trump is unlikely to campaign with the steadfastness needed to win Republican Party support, especially when faced with younger candidates.
Trump has proven to be very resilient in the past, but everyone has their limits.
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