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Trump 2024? Some supporters are quietly hoping he won’t show up.

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In modern times, presidents defeated for one term have generally retired to a life of quiet public service. No one has claimed his party’s nomination since Herbert Hoover in 1940. The only US president to serve non-consecutive terms was Grover Cleveland in the 1800s.

Former President Donald Trump, still the dominant figure in the Republican Party, has strongly hinted that he plans to mount another campaign. And polls show most Republican voters want Mr. Trump to run again.

Why we wrote this

Although Republican voters strongly endorse Donald Trump, that doesn’t mean they’re all in favor of a Trump 2024 campaign. Some fans would prefer a new face to take up the mantle from Mr. Trump in the future.

But not all do, including some Trump fans. A Marquette University Law School poll in November found that only 60% of Republicans wanted Mr. Trump to run for the White House again, although 73% had a favorable opinion of the former president.

At a Republican rally in Weston, Florida, party activists all voice their strong support for Mr. Trump. But many have reservations about a Trump 2024 campaign. All of this suggests a Trump-GOP relationship that is perhaps more complicated than conventional wisdom would have it.

I really don’t think it’s trump time anymore, says Peggy Brown, a Republican and Trump supporter who currently serves in the nonpartisan role of mayor of Weston.

Weston, Florida.

It’s a Tuesday night at Wings in Weston, a chicken joint in a tony suburb of Fort Lauderdale, and the Weston Republican Club is holding its monthly meeting. Some 40 people gathered to hear the candidates for the municipal commission and have a bite to eat.

Images of Donald Trump dominate a makeshift scene along one wall. To the left is a cardboard cutout of the smiling former president. Another cutout of her face shines from the center. Below, a banner proclaims: Don’t blame me, I voted for Trump.

Which makes it all the more surprising that when asked about a possible Trump campaign in 2024, many here are particularly unenthusiastic.

Why we wrote this

Although Republican voters strongly endorse Donald Trump, that doesn’t mean they’re all in favor of a Trump 2024 campaign. Some fans would prefer a new face to take up the mantle from Mr. Trump in the future.

I want Trump policies without Trump, a man says. If he doesn’t run, another proposes, it would take away a big argument from Democrats.

I really don’t think it’s trump time anymore, says Peggy Brown, a Republican who currently serves in the nonpartisan role of mayor of Weston. She would rather see Mr Trump become an older statesman. He could be a mentor to anyone who comes in.

Make no mistake: these Republican activists all still love the former president. And if he wins the nomination in 2024, they say they would move mountains to send him back to the White House. Without a doubt, said Mayor Brown. I am shameless.

But on the question of whether he should intervene, many have reservations. Some worry that Mr. Trump is too controversial, too polarizing. That perhaps his time has come and gone. At least one attendee is expressing dissatisfaction with former presidents’ unqualified endorsement of COVID-19 vaccines. Some note that the party has a host of potentially strong alternatives waiting in the wings, including their own Governor, Floridas Ron DeSantis, who leads the polls of potential 2024 GOP nominees if Mr. Trump does not run.

Granted, it’s still early in the 2024 election cycle. Most voters, even activists, still have a lot to focus on the upcoming presidential race. Although Mr Trump has strongly hinted that he plans to mount another campaign, he said he would not reveal his decision until after the November midterms.

Nationally, polls show most Republican voters want Mr. Trump to run again. A Quinnipiac poll released this week found that 69% of GOP voters favor another Trump run. Still, that was down from 78% in October.

A Marquette University Law School poll in November found that only 60% of Republicans wanted Mr. Trump to run again, while 40% did not. The same poll showed that 73% of Republicans had a favorable opinion of Mr. Trump.

That 13 percentage point gap between those who view Mr. Trump favorably and those who want him to run again is an interesting shift, says Marquette Poll Director Charles Franklin. Give it time, and see what happens.

All of this suggests a Trump-GOP relationship that is perhaps more complicated than conventional wisdom would have it. Last November’s election of Republican Glenn Youngkin as governor of Virginia, a state that voted for President Biden by 10 percentage points, demonstrated that the GOP can be competitive in seemingly blue states when Mr. Trump doesn’t. is not on the ballot. Notably, Mr. Trump did not clash with Mr. Youngkin during the race.

The next Grover Cleveland?

In modern times, presidents defeated for one term have generally retired to a life of quiet public service. No one has claimed his party’s nomination since Herbert Hoover in 1940. The only US president to serve non-consecutive terms was Grover Cleveland in the 1800s.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/File

Former President Donald Trump attends his first post-presidential campaign rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio on June 26, 2021.

Yet Mr. Trump clearly remains the dominant Republican in the country today. Even the elected Republicans who openly opposed it concede it.

There is no other option right now in the Republican Party, said Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan last month, one of 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted to impeach the president. Trump during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol on NBC Meet the Press.

Republican views on the role of former presidents in the future, however, are nuanced. A Pew Research Center poll last September found that two-thirds of Republican voters, including Republican-leaning independents, want Mr. Trump to remain a major national figure for many years to come. But that group was split into two camps: 44% who want him to run again in 2024 and 22% who would prefer him to back another presidential candidate who shares his views.

The bottom line is that the Republican base is still very supportive of Donald Trump, says Carroll Doherty, director of policy research at Pew. But some people say, let’s wait and see what happens.

Lately, Mr. Trump has been focused on bolstering his kingmaker role, issuing around 100 press releases endorsing GOP primary candidates for the House, Senate, governor and other key offices. .

He is particularly targeting two high-profile GOP incumbents. One is Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who has publicly condemned Mr. Trump for what she sees as his role in inciting the Capitol riot.

The other is Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who angered Mr Trump by refusing to help him overturn the result of Georgia’s 2020 election. The former president recruited former senator David Perdue to mount a main challenge against Governor Kemp.

In the coming weeks, Mr. Trump plans to travel the country, campaigning for his supporters and holding rallies. Next up is Jan. 15 in Arizona, a battleground state where Mr. Trump has claimed without evidence that the election was stolen from him. He had scheduled a press conference for Jan. 6 at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate, intending to talk about the stolen election. But two days earlier he had called it off amid reported concerns from advisers and prominent Republicans that it would be a distraction.

The change in schedule served as a reminder that the former president, who often welcomes controversy, can be persuaded to avoid it when it could hurt his cause.

A Trumpist, anyway

David Strom, a GOP consultant from Minneapolis, had reservations about Mr. Trump in 2016 and did not vote for him. But given the president’s record on the economy, judicial appointments and foreign policy, he has backed him wholeheartedly in 2020.

Looking ahead, however, Mr Strom lists two main concerns about the former president mounting another campaign: his age (he will be 78 in 2024) and his rough edges. He thinks the GOP would be better off with a new face at the top.

There are just an awful lot of people whose revulsion toward Trump was tied to their judgment of his character, he says.

He adds that whether or not the former president runs again, his political legacy is already deep.

The labor coalition Trump has built is the new face of the Republican Party, Strom says. Even if Mr. Trump is not the 2024 nominee, he predicts that the winner will almost certainly be a Trumpist from this wing of the party.

Of course, many Trump supporters say they will be with him all the way. One is Maciek Niedzwiecki, a Polish immigrant who lives in Reno, Nevada. During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump inspired him to become an American citizen, and while Mr. Niedzwiecki missed the election by a month, he happily pulled the lever for Mr. Trump in 2020 and wants that he will run again in 2024.

He doesn’t mind Mr. Trump’s personal style, he says, because the president’s job is not to be a spiritual or moral leader. It’s about the issues: a strong border, energy independence, trade deals that put America first, the fight against socialism.

I think of the chairman more as a CEO, says Mr. Niedzwiecki, a father of two in his 40s who works for a biofuels company. He doesn’t take any hits from people, and [hes] standing her ground.

Back in Weston, Fla., at the local party meeting, at least some attendees are equally enthusiastic.

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Yeah, I think he should [run]says Lenny Heda, who owns a tech support business. I am not a sycophant, he adds. His position on the promotion of vaccines, I do not agree.

But in a Trump 2024 campaign, he would be all-out. I would take a bullet for the guy.

Sources

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2/ https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2022/0114/Trump-2024-Some-supporters-quietly-hope-he-won-t-run

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