“I am more pissed off and committed than ever,” Donald Trump told his critics, this Saturday in Salem (New Hampshire), during the first act of his campaign for the 2024 presidential primaries. The former president is at his lowest point of his political career: he has chained three disappointing electoral cycles, his leadership is being openly questioned within the Republican Party, domestic competitors have emerged and the numerous open court cases are beginning to take their toll on him. However, that did not stop his outrage at running again – for the third time – to occupy the Oval Office.
“We need a leader who can take on the left, the media and the deep state. Someone who stands up against the globalists and China, and who defends America”, he said during his second speech of the day, in the city of Columbia, (South Carolina), and before only about 500 people, far from the thousands of followers that he used to gather in this southern state. On his return to the electoral arena, and in his first public appearance in two months away from his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Trump has recovered the radical, populist and frontist discourse that brought him to power in 2016, and which he had moderated in the last few months after the poor electoral results in the mid-term elections.RELATED
Against “gender ideology” and the “Deep State”
In a shorter appearance than usual, the former president has brought out his entire discursive arsenal against Joe Biden and the Democratic party. “We will end the left-wing perverts, who are indoctrinating our youth. We will get your Marxist hands off our children. We will defeat the dogma of gender ideology and reaffirm that God created two genders, called man and woman. We will not allow men to participate in women’s sports, and with this, we will save the dignity of women and women’s sports. We will dethrone the censorship regime and restore freedom of expression. We will find the deep state actors, sold out to the government, and escort them out of the federal buildings. We will stop the instrumentalization of justice as a political weapon, ”he said during the speech at Columbia, summarizing the ultra-conservative mantras that have taken hold of many Republican voters.
He has also referred to the classified documents that Biden’s lawyers found in November at his office in Washington, and in recent weeks, at his Delaware residence. In an unwinnable comparison, Trump has referred to the thousands of government documents, hundreds of them classified, that the FBI found at Mar-a-Lago. He has said that, unlike the Biden case, he had the documents “locked up and reinforced with another key,” and yet the FBI “burgled” his private residence. However, he has said that those who found Biden must have been “wet and dirty”, since they were found in his garage.
In this comparison, Trump has ignored two key differences between the two cases: first, the number of documents found is not comparable, differing by thousands; Second, Trump refused to hand over the documents when the courts asked him to, which is why the FBI entered his house after a court order, while in the case of Biden, it was his own legal team who handed them over to the court. Justice Department.
In addition, during his speech this Saturday, Trump has insisted on the falsehoods and generalizations that he is used to launching on immigration matters. “There is an invasion on the southern border. They come from prisons and mental institutions and a lot of other bad places, and we have to stop that: we have to drive out all the bad people, the sooner the better. We cannot allow them to continue sending murderers, rapists and terrorists”.
Trump loses support
More and more Republicans are daring to publicly question Trump’s leadership. And not for ideological reasons, but strategic ones: they don’t believe he has enough political capital to win the general elections, in the hypothetical case that he wins the Republican primaries. “I supported Trump in 2016 and 2020, but it is time to turn the page,” Oscar Brock, a member of the Republican National Committee, wrote in a mass email to members of his party, “I know many of you feel the same way. ”. Another critical voice, Republican John Hammond, declared that the party “would have to abandon the cult of personality” if it wants to regain the country’s presidency.
With barely a year to go before the primaries begin (Iowa on January 22 and New Hampshire on January 30), Trump remains the only official candidate of his party and, among the names that appear to confront him, he is the best positioned. But this does not mean that there are no strong alternatives, such as the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, or three former members of the Trump Administration: Nicki Haley, Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo.
According to a recent Emerson College survey, Trump has the support of 55% of voters to win the primaries, roughly double that of his main competitor, DeSantis. During his appearance, Trump has referred to the possibility of the governor running as his rival for the presidential elections, stating that it would be “a great act of disloyalty.” None of the names that sound to face Trump have yet taken the final step. In part, with a strategic sense: waiting for another candidate to present himself and become the target of the Trumpist media apparatus; but also, for fear of not being able to economically sustain a campaign against Trump for so long. This has been stated by several Republican strategists to the American political mediumwhich provide for the presentation of new candidates starting in the spring.
In addition to his popularity, the financial support to finance the Trump campaign is also on the decline. In recent weeks it has become known that two large Republican donors, Bernie Marcus, founder of Hombre Depot, and Miriam Adelson, a doctor and philanthropist, and widow of Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate, have withdrawn their commitment to Trump, according to what they have published. various American media.