Congressman Jack Kemp, Republican of New York, whose 1988 presidential campaign I worked on, once said he really didn’t want to be president. He wanted real power, “I want to be Chairman of the Fed.”
That’s why I think Donald Trump won’t run for the Republican nomination in 2024. With a burgeoning media empire and his loyal band of followers who comprise a majority of the Republican base, why would he exchange those easy goodies for the hard responsibility of the presidency?
A good answer might be, because he must avenge the 2020 loss. But hold on, what’s worse? Continuing the fiction of the 2020 stolen race, which gives his ego a fig leaf of cover, or running again and losing?
These are the pertinent numbers. A Trump Republican nod would increase Dem turnout by a substantial number. Swing voters would not break for him. And most importantly, 20 to 30 percent of Republicans would sit on their hands. Trump can’t win with those cold facts staring him in the face. He knows that and his ego would not be able to countenance the possibility of another loss.
Now you’re saying, “But the Dems have such a bad team that even Trump will win by default.” That would be true, if voters were empirical thinkers. They’re not. Voters, and especially anti-Trump voters, are motivated by emotion. The entire nation could resemble the worst crime-ridden Dem city in the country and still many would not vote for Trump under any circumstances.
You could also say, “Trump would not leave America in the lurch. He will run again to save us.” If you believe that please check into your nearest mental health institution and pronto. Saving that, grow up and get a grip.
Trump is essentially an entertainer. A very good one indeed. He also knows how to read opportunity and crowds. Thus 2016 was perfect for him. The zeitgeist was superb, hence the opportunity. The crowds were enthusiastic, hence his populist message that told them all how wonderful they were. He also governed that way, in opposition to our weak and masochistic elites.
That’s why his administration was a success. He likely thought: Whatever Harvard wants, I’ll do the opposite. It’s hard not to succeed with that game plan. But for him, as for any entertainer, the entire thing was primarily a good gig. Until he lost, that is. Thus, why would he want to go back to a venue that canceled his contract when he can control its booking as kingmaker, direct a lot of the audience with his base of support, and shape the marking message with his new social media platform? He wouldn’t.
If he doesn’t run in 2024 he can control who the Republican nominee is. As kingmaker, after he takes credit for the Republican congressional takeover in 2022, he’ll have all the fun and none of the headaches. His new social media platform will be up by then and millions of his devotees will flock to it in worship. Power over the party through the base, power over the message through social media, and the nominee owes him big time. The probable alternative? Another loss of the Oval Office. Though absurdly mercurial and ego obsessed, he’s smart. He’ll take the better deal.