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Breaking Down All Cases For and Against Trump 2024: From Trump’s Successful Record to Legal Obstacles

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FORMER PRESIDENT Donald Trump is back in the eye of the storm of public discussion after the FBI raided his private Mar-a-Lago residence. The controversial and unprecedented decision by the FBI shocked the nation, leaving many wondering about the former president’s political future and his potential candidacy for 2024.

The uncertainty about whether Trump is going to throw his hat into the presidential ring seems more settled than ever, as everything indicates that the successful businessman and former outsider is going to seek a new presidential term in 2024. In fact, the former president has made this clear in all his communications and speeches in recent months. For example, during his speech at the Student Action Summit (SAS) by Turning Point in Tampa, FL, Trump gave strong hints (almost confirming) of his intention to seek the presidency again.

Having in mind that that doubt is almost certainly solved, only one real question remains: When will he announce his bid? Is it going to be before or after the midterms? Of course, an eventual Trump candidacy also opens up a large political umbrella with many questions. What are the potential pitfalls of a presidential candidacy, when does it most benefit him to announce his nomination, what role does the FBI raid play in his political calculations?

Ostacles for a Trump 2024 Bid

A defeat in a presidential re-election is usually synonymous with political death. The last time a former president managed to win back the White House after losing his re-election campaign was Grover Cleveland in 1892. Donald Trump, however, has broken a number of political traditions and remains firmly determined to become the second former POTUS to have two non-consecutive terms in the White House.

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Trump will have three obstacles in front of him to achieve this goal: The GOP nomination, improving his standing with the general electorate, and the possibility of legal proceedings being brought against him.

The GOP Nomination for 2024

The first hurdle is whether the former president is able to repeat his successful 2016 primary campaign and capture the RNC nomination for a third consecutive time. In that regard, Trump starts having a strong position, as most polls still rank him as the top GOP frontrunner nowadays.

While polls vary, most put Trump several points ahead of his potential rivals. Some polls, such as NYT/Sienna, show Trump with 49% GOP support. Others, such as Morning Consult, give him a larger lead. In any case, it is clear that the pre-candidate with the biggest lead at the moment is Trump.

This does not mean that there is no potential Republican fighting for the nomination in 2024, especially considering that polls years away from the election do not necessarily reflect the final outcome. In 2014, the GOP candidate leading in the polls was former FL Gov. Jeb Bush. Hillary Clinton had a very wide lead over any other Democratic pre-candidate, however, in 2016 Bush did not survive the primaries and Hillary won a very narrow victory over Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders.

Polls show that there exists a small chance for an opponent to try to articulate a challenge against Trump, as 40 to 50 percent of GOP voters are willing to vote for someone else. However, it seems a difficult task, due to the fact that a potential opponent must unify all possible anti-Trump candidates around himself and then has to face him on the campaign trail. So far, the only potential candidate who has managed to have more than 10% in the polls is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

However, not everyone believes that seeking the nomination is the best plan for the flamboyant Florida governor, who must also focus on his re-election in the Sunshine State.

DeSantis v. Trump?

“If Trump is the nominee, I don’t think anyone is going to challenge him. I don’t see that possibility right now, I think everyone recognizes that he is the undisputed leader of the Republican Party, plus challenging him would lead to a division of the Republican base and whoever wins would be weakened for the general election,” Alfonso Aguilar, president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, told El American.

“The only one who could challenge him – no one would win, right – but the only one who could divide the base is DeSantis. But he probably wouldn’t win, he’d end up with the party divided and that’s not in his best interest. DeSantis is 43 years old, he’s a young guy. He could even end up on the president’s ballot, that would require, however, for Trump to re-establish his New York domicile, because the two candidates on a ballot cannot be from the same state and remember that Trump established his domicile in Florida. But a domicile is changed in a moment,” Aguilar added during the conversation.

Even if DeSantis were planning to seek the nomination, the Mar-a-Lago raid appears to have increased Trump’s chances of capturing the GOP nomination. The FBI action put the former president back in the public eye and has earned him sympathy from much of the Republican Party. The latest Morning Consult poll shows that 56% of Republicans want Trump as their nominee.

Donald Trump 2024

Former President Donald Trump during the campaign for the last presidential election in 2020. (EFE)

However, in Daniel Garza’s opinion, president of the LIBRE organization, the Florida governor should not be ruled out in an eventual race.

“Donald Trump has a record, but he also has a history of losing and there are some strong alternatives in. For example: Ron Desantis,” Garza said in a conversation with El American. “Right now, Trump seems to be the favorite, he has that momentum in his favor right now. But there’s also the very real alternative of Ron DeSantis in his shadow.”

“I think Ron DeSantis has a lot to offer (…) in my estimation the two frontrunners are Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump,” Garza said.

Public Opinion on Donald Trump

Even if Trump manages to clinch the GOP nomination (something that looks very likely) the former president still has to find a way to win the general election.

Trump’s main advantage — his disruptive figure and strong support within the base — is strongly disliked by his rivals. At the end of the day, the anti-Trump sentiment was one of the main drivers of Biden’s candidacy.

Although Trump has not been president for nearly two years, he remains one of the most controversial figures in U.S. politics and a 2024 candidacy will encounter the same level of opposition from Democrats. Similarly, the passing of time has not changed Trump’s popularity numbers in the polls. However, the advantage he will have in that campaign is that he will not be the incumbent president.

Predicting what will happen two years from now is an impossible task, but if the trend continues and Biden remains a deeply unpopular president, Trump can take advantage of the opposition to Biden and highlight his accomplishments during his term to show a much more competitive image against the Democratic Party.

Although the last year in office was a complicated one for Trump — between the incessant attacks from the mainstream media, the pandemic and the revolts following George Floyd’s death — the Republican still has much to brag about his administration.

The Trump Record: Low Unemployment Economic Freedom for Latinos

The employment figures and economic performance during his government were impressive, something that was recognized even by his critics.

Trump inherited an unemployment rate of 6.6% from Barack Obama and managed to bring it to the lowest level in 50 years: 3.5%. Likewise, ethnic minorities — Latinos, blacks, and Asians — were especially favored economically during the Trump administration, having very low poverty and unemployment rates, and a significant increase in their average income.

This point is highly relevant to Daniel Garza because it impelled the former president to improve his numbers among minorities, especially Latinos, a demographic that at the moment is increasingly embracing and sympathizing with the GOP to the detriment of the Democratic Party.

“If he was able to gain a lot of the Latino vote it had to do with how much the Latino community benefited from the tax reform, the reductions on regulations, ‘all of the above’ on energy, conservative, constitutionalist judges, his defense of religion, of speech, of the second amendment” Garza said.

With Trump as president, gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.3% in 2017 versus 1.6% in 2016, Obama’s last year in the White House. In 2018, GDP expanded by 2.9% and in 2019 it reached 2.3%, figures well above those of other industrialized countries. Then came the pandemic disrupting the robust American economy that Trump had built from a significant decrease in taxes and regulations.

The president also stood out for strengthening the judicial institutions, especially the Supreme Court, where he appointed 3 justices. He also nominated more than 200 judges to federal courts and carried out a criminal justice reform.

Trump can also tout the accomplishments of his administration. Fighting head-on against political and economic enemies like China, existential enemies like Iran, and regional enemies like the tyrannies of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

He did not hesitate, either, to solidify relations with neighboring countries, and achieved the free trade agreement between Mexico, the U.S., and Canada, better known as USMCA. He did not shy away from empowering the United States in the Middle East with the Abraham Accords, weakening Iran, strengthening its ally Israel, and achieving historic peace agreements with Arab nations.

There were especially important milestones in terms of foreign policy. The former president managed to bring the relationship with North Korea to its lowest point of tension in years, at an extremely delicate moment media-wise, and the Islamic State lost its territorial “caliphate”. He also took down terrorist leaders Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Qasem Soleimani. And, lest we forget, he didn’t start a war for four years.

Trump’s accomplishments, leaving the complicated 2020 aside, are not few. In addition, conservatives highly value his pro-life and educational crusade, perhaps the cultural battle is a spearhead that the former president should exploit in the 2024 campaign, following the good examples of Governors DeSantis in Florida, and Youngkin in Virginia.

Another important factor is the candidate that the Democrats will choose. If Biden decides to seek re-election or if Kamala is the nominee, then everything becomes much easier for Trump, as he is going to be campaigning against the current administration. If the Democrats seek a nomination from someone not in the Biden administration, then the campaign will follow a different dynamic.

Criminal Investigations Against Trump

Any Trump nomination for the Presidency will also depend on whether the Justice Department or the FBI initiated legal proceedings against him as a result of the Mar-a-Lago raid. If no legal proceedings are initiated against the former President, then we can expect Trump to announce his candidacy soon and begin an extensive campaign to unify the GOP and prepare for a return bid to the White House.

However, if the DOJ initiates legal proceedings against Trump (either for J6 or for a violation of the Presidential Records Act) then the outlook becomes a bit more complicated for him. While the legal process will likely solidify his standing with a good portion of the Republican Party, the proceedings will take a lot of the former president’s time and some may even seek to have him, if found guilty, disqualified from running for office in 2024.

This scenario still seems uncertain, the DOJ has  made the search warrant public but the affidavits used to justify the raid remain sealed. Also, even if the federal judiciary decides to prosecute Trump for taking federal documents, which in theory would cause political disqualification, there are questions about the constitutionality of such a ban, which will probably end up in the Supreme Court.

Donald Trump in Phoenix, Arizona, on the campaign trail for the 2016 election. (EFE)

According to Alfonso Aguilar, the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago, far from hurting, is benefiting Trump, who is receiving practically unanimous backing from the conservative world.

“The issue that he could be invalidated through this process I see as highly unlikely. I think that’s the intent. Democrats have even spoken publicly about this,” Aguilar said. “Hillary Clinton’s former lawyer said that under the Presidential Records Act they could disqualify him, because if they find him guilty of taking classified documents there is a clause that says it disqualifies him from running for political office. I don’t know if that is constitutional. Even if they try to take him out of the game by that means, I don’t see it very possible”, he added.

An Annoucement Before or After the Midterms?

With a clear path to his nomination, Donald Trump has yet to make a final decision: when to announce his candidacy.

In the present time, the FBI raid on his house seems to favor him in the public eye, but there is also the dilemma of having the midterms just around the corner: would an announcement of his candidacy be positive or negative?

In Aguilar’s opinion, although announcing the candidacy before the midterms would not be the “end of the world”, it would be much more convenient and impressive to do so after the elections, with a Republican victory in tow.

“I think President Trump intends to announce his candidacy and I think he will be the Republican nominee, that’s what I think. The question is when he announces it,” Aguilar told El American. “I think this raid leads him to seriously consider announcing it even before the midterm elections. I think it’s not a good idea, I think it’s better that the midterm elections have their own narrative and that his candidacy doesn’t become the political narrative of the November elections.”

“It’s better to have the midterm elections, and announce it afterwards,” Aguilar continued. “That said, I think he’s going to announce much earlier than usual, remember that candidates start running in January, February or March in the year before the general election. Last time it was pretty late; they started like March or April. He will, I think, do it earlier. He might even do it on the night after we know the results of the midterm elections, to take advantage of that momentum and the energy of a victory in the House, and maybe in the Senate, and say, ‘Look, I’m the candidate.”


Note: The quotes featured in this article were translated from Spanish to English and edited for publication.

Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.

Contacto: [email protected]

Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.

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