A surprising campaign announcement from Trump

The day that many looked forward to and that even more were afraid of has arrived. On Nov. 16, former President Donald Trump announced that he would be running for a second term in the White House in 2024. If he were to win, Trump would be the second president to serve two nonconsecutive terms in office, the first being former President Grover Cleveland. 

Questioning things like his age, his electability and his current legal battles, many have debated whether Trump would, could or should run again; these issues are important to consider. While I am not endorsing Trump to be the Republican Party nominee, I am also not counting him out just yet. There are several factors to consider that can help and hurt Trump in his hunt for the nomination. 

The first thing to consider is timing. Trump has announced his run nearly two full years before the 2024 election. This caught many off guard, as an announcement such as this is usually not made until the spring or summer the year before the election. This move was strategic on Trump’s part but also very risky. 

By jumping ahead of potential rivals such as Ron DeSantis or Mike Pence, Trump is trying to capture the energy of the Republican base now so he can ride it into a primary victory later, but by doing so, he  risks losing that energy before the race even heats up. Modern American life is undeniably centered around the 24-hour news cycle; the short attention span of the average American could end up draining this early energy, but it could also help cover up
potential scandals. 

For example, Trump recently made headlines when it was reported he had dinner with rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, who was scolded for comments he made about the Jewish community, alongside far-right streamer Nick Fuentes, accused of supporting white supremacy, and online provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. When the dinner became a headline, figureheads on both the right and the left called on Trump to apologize and denounce white supremacy and antisemitism. 

Trump made a statement claiming that he had only invited Ye, and that Fuentes and others were not invited but had shown up alongside Ye. Whether this is true or not, it’s likely that the average person is not going to remember this event in a year and a half when the primary race is in full swing. A scandal like this during the primary election would have had the potential to sink Trump in the polls, but since it happened now, it may serve to Trump’s advantage. 

Another thing to consider is Trump’s message. Trump’s announcement speech focused on issues that helped him win in 2016, such as trade, immigration and the threat of China, as well as focusing on cultural battles that have helped other Republicans win — even in blue-leaning races — such as the issue of biological men in women’s sports. Noticeably absent were the claims of election fraud in 2020, though Trump did touch on a popular message of standardized voter ID and a reduction of mail-in ballots. 

If Trump can stay on a message such as this one, he will be difficult to beat in the primary. While it is tempting to hitch yourself to a particular candidate this early, I am going to wait and see who else decides to throw their hat in the ring. I will say that Trump’s biggest challenge will be whether Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis decides to run, but if DeSantis stays out, it’s especially likely that Trump will run the table again like he did in 2016 — only time will tell. 

Hughes is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter

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