Donald Trump’s CPAC sleight of hand

Donald Trump’s entire life has been a series of two-bit sleight of hand card tricks. So now that he’s been ousted from office, his company is being criminally indicted, and he’s desperate to find some shard of relevance to cling to, why should things be any different?

Trump is making headlines today because this a poll conducted at this past week’s far right CPAC conference gives him a 49 point lead over the nearest challenger in the 2024 Republican primary contest for President. Major news outlets are parroting this poll as if it were a legitimate number. But here’s the thing. When CPAC was last held a few months ago, the poll conducted at the conference gave Trump just a 34 point lead.

When you look at Trump’s overall favorability ratings, there is no possible way that he could have suddenly become a whopping fifteen points more popular with right wingers than he was just a few months ago. This tells us that both CPAC polls – from February and July – are bunch of crap.

This doesn’t mean the two CPAC polls were intentionally rigged. It’s just that we’re talking about a small sample size of attendees to begin with. Consider that plenty of people only attended one event and not the other, and you’re comparing apples and oranges. When you throw in the fact that CPAC is being run by a close Trump ally, and that the whole thing is set up as a Trump worship fest these days, the people showing up are largely going to be Trump worshippers anyway.

In other words, CPAC isn’t just skewed by the fact that its audience is on the far right. Its audience is a Trump-worshipping subset of the far right. It’s like holding an event to honor Dan Marino and then asking how many attendees are Miami Dolphins fans.

It’s one thing for CPAC to poll its attendees and release the results. It’s another for the media to pretend that the CPAC polling has anything to do with who might actually be viable in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. Major polling outlets have released polls this year that suggest Trump’s lead over the rest of the 2024 Republican field is currently just three points – a number that will get more than wiped out once the name recognition playing field is inevitably leveled.

The narrative that Donald Trump is some kind of viable 2024 frontrunner is nothing more than sleight of hand, cooked up by his allies, and parroted by major media outlets who are still looking to scare people into tuning back in by pushing the notion of Trump becoming President again in 2024. And again, this is a guy who’s on track to be criminally indicted in New York long before 2024.

It’s not impossible for Trump to win the 2024 election, but it’s damn near impossible. That tiny percentage alone is reason enough to work hard these next few years to finish Trump off. But when the media treats it as some realistic scenario, as if Trump really could end up back in the White House in 2024, it’s not that much more ridiculous than when right wing conspiracy theorists pretend he’ll be back in the White House in August.

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