Donald Trump’s favorability rating is down to 32% in new NBC polling. This helps confirm other recent polling showing Trump bottoming out. It means he’s completely non-viable. You can’t win a national election with just your base; they’re always too small. Trump has little left but his base. It’s why lost badly in 2020, and why he isn’t a serious consideration for 2024.
A lot of moderates and conservatives gave Trump a chance in 2016, but once they saw his ineptness in office, they were done with him by 2020. Those same folks are done with him forever. And his base simply isn’t large enough to be relevant. His base was never remotely relevant.
The big concern for 2024 isn’t Trump. It’s the next right wing bullshitter who has a Trump-like message but not the baggage of proven ineptitude. And no it won’t be Ron DeSantis. His baggage of ineptitude in office in Florida is already on full national display.
I have no idea who the biggest Republican threat will be in 2024 – but it’ll most likely be someone whose name is not at all in the conversation right now. To succeed as a bullshitter, you have to arrive on the scene late, so there isn’t time for the media to expose your ineptitude before voting.
Trump was always a public figure but he’d never held or run for office prior to 2016. So the political media had to start from square one in terms of getting him. That took forever, so the message never properly sunk in for the average voter about his scandals.
When someone who’s never held office abruptly enters the 2024 republican race out of nowhere, will the media do a better job of vetting and exposing that person? One can only hope. But I know I’ll be ready to pounce on whoever it is.
Anyway, Trump would need to boost his favorability rating by perhaps 15 points to be viable in 2024. Unless you think 15% of Americans who are against Trump now, will somehow be for him in a few years – which is laughably unrealistic – he’s toast.
Numerous 2024 GOP presidential candidates will try to win over Trump’s base. But behaving that way requires alienating the entire rest of the country. So if the republican nominee ends up being a staunch pro-Trumper, Biden’s reelection odds go way up.
Trump is completely toast for 2024. This is a fact. But it’s not necessarily good news. If Trump were the 2024 nominee, we’d beat him by millions of votes again, because he’s widely despised. If someone new is the nominee, and if they’re smart enough to distance from Trump, then we have a bigger problem.
Of course while an anti-Trump Republican candidate in 2024 would be viable in the general election, such a candidate would have a very hard time winning the nomination to begin with. But once Trump settles into prison, his hold on the party will obviously slip more.
None of this is to say that Trump won’t operate a brief imaginary “2024 campaign” in 2021 or 2022. Why wouldn’t he? The donations from his remaining base would be free money he can use to fund his legal defense at his criminal trials. His “2024 campaign” would fold by 2022, but why would he care?
So if Trump does soon pretend to enter the 2024 race, it’s crucial to understand he’s not actually running. Even if he’s delusionally senile enough to think it’s an actual campaign, his babysitters know it’s just performance art for short term cash.
The real takeaway is that despite the media’s ratings-based obsession with it, Trump’s too-small base was never remotely relevant at any point. They’re not why he won in 2016. They couldn’t help him in 2020. The fact that they’re all he has left is why he’s completely washed up.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report