Trump is considered the GOP frontrunner in 2024. Will conservatives support him?

By all accounts, former President Donald Trump is the favorite to nominate the Republican Party in 2024, should he seek it a third time. But since he left the White House, conservative speakers and even longtime MAGA loyalists have been calling for someone more genuinely conservative and less prone to scandal.

Shortly after the FBI uncovered a treasure trove of classified information that Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago, a trio of high-profile conservative commentators said it was time for the party to move on. former president, who had already received what they wanted and, more importantly, would be a requirement in a general election.

“There is a reason the Democrats are eager to put Trump at the center: half of the independents say Trump is a major factor in their vote and are falling 4-1 against the Democrats. Republicans don’t have that game. “He has to play. If they do, they risk hurting themselves,” the conservative influencer wrote. Ben Shapiro In a much-quoted Twitter thread published in late August.

Former President Donald Trump at a recent rally in Wilmington, North Carolina (Chris Seward / AP)

“I mean, the country, I think, is so tired. They are so tired of the fighting, of the constant fighting, that they might think it’s time to move on if we can have someone like that. which has all the Trump policies that are not Trump. Laura Ingraham, a leading Fox News presenter, said in a recent podcast with radio host Lisa Booth. Ann Coulter, a longtime conservative pundit, that sentiment echoed a few weeks later.

Even one of the nation’s best-known conspiracy theorists and frequent Trump supporter Alex Jones said he was dumping for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, though a few days later he quickly backed up this claim. after,

The chatter could be easily canceled as cable talkers and social media influencers make wild calls for attention and a true authority rebellion against Trump is highly unlikely.

But the cracks in the coalition that helped him land at the White House in 2016 were visible from the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol and the Trump attack. he slightly participated in the departure from Washington.

Republican mega-donors were highlighted by potential Trump rivals in 2024. Ed Rollins, a longtime Republican agent, has begun an effort to recruit DeSantis to run for president: some DeSantis camps have distanced themselves, l former Vice President Mike Pence, wiped out as an outcast in the MAGA world, made headlines in influential conservative groups and, more recently, in Utah, for failing to back Trump’s offer to end his 2020 election defeat. hosted a donor retreat. The New York Times report,

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks in Lynchburg, Virginia on September 14. (Steve Halber / AP)

Some veteran Republicans and conservative operatives see a move to a post-Trump world, where his domestic populist style is embraced by other optimists in the White House, but Trump no longer carries that flag. The Republican electoral base’s continued support for DeSantis as a more stable and effective alternative to Trump in 2024 has fueled this. Others have projected Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin as a post-Trump candidate who can pursue “Trumpy” policies without completely alienating liberal voters.

But his support has waned since Trump left office, but he remains the overwhelming favorite to win any battle for the Republican nomination.

In a recent Pennsylvania voter poll conducted by Monmouth University, self-identified “very conservative” and “somewhat conservative” voters overwhelmingly said they would vote for Trump for the presidency in 2024. On the contrary, nearly everyone. self-identified “very liberal” or “somehow” liberal voters claimed they would not support Trump, and nearly two-thirds of self-identified “moderate” voters said they would. . I will not vote for them.

Trump supporters during a rally in Warren, Michigan on Oct.1. (Du-Nalio Cheri / Reuters)

“Some conservative media personalities want to see Trump in the rearview mirror, but as far as the party base is concerned, he still drives the car. Trump’s political future depends on him, “said author Matthew Continetti, senior researcher at” The Right: The Hundred Years’ War for American Conservatism “at the American Enterprise Institute.” If he decides to run for the Republican nomination in 2024 and the Republicans usually name the leader, but not before they humiliate him first.

Self-identified social and cultural conservatives have long been suspicious of Trump, walking down the Trump Tower gold escalator in June 2015. Before becoming one of his top advisers, Steve Bannon oversaw some of the most vicious attacks on Trump such as publisher. Breitbart News, it was only when he was president of Liberty University that Trump gained the support of some of the major Christian blocs. Jerry Falwell Jr. withdrew the support of Texas Senator Ted Cruz and supported Trump. (Falwell’s change in allegiance occurred in the midst of a sex scandal involving Falwell, Falwell’s wife Becky, and her “pool boy”.)

But since Trump was left speechless by the Tea Party conservatives and Cruz supporters at the 2016 Republican convention and kicked out most of the party’s neocons (resulting in a conservative subgroup “Mai Trump”), the GOP and the rights were almost exclusively his property.

This dynamic has long pushed conservative groups to settle down. Six years after launching one of the first attacks on Trump from the right, the conservative campaign Operation The Club for Growth joined him in mid-2022 and helped him select candidates, right to the end. out. Primary of the Ohio Republican Senate,

Texas Senator Ted Cruz stepped off the stage after speaking at the 2016 Republican National Convention. (Mike Seger / Reuters)

other strongholds of the conservative movement, most notably the Heritage Foundation. The group was a major donor to the National Conservatism Conference held in Miami last month, which is changing its operations to include more populist perspectives.

Republican agents have long noted the functionally transactional nature of Trump’s relationship with conservatives. Trump has carved out an image in New York as a ruthless and immoral tycoon – and in some corners he disapproved of conservatives, but in others a talkative crusader, believing in his priorities. We had to continue.

A veteran conservative activist said Trump himself has long been lenient on conservative priorities like banning abortion and noted Trump’s reluctance to overturn the Supreme Court decision. federal protections against abortion despite him being able to take most of the credit for appointing the three judges who sided with the majority.

“He was never a true conservative. It’s always been a transactional relationship between conservative voters and Trump, “said a veteran conservative reporter.” I think they’re really looking for someone who represents his ideology and Christian values ​​more than he does.

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