Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. View more opinion on ScoonTV.
Former President Donald Trump may take the world by storm and be the star Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election. If history repeats itself, he will once again capture the hearts and minds of the Republican constituency this time around. This is because, by all measurements, his support has not significantly waned even after all of the legal and political hurdles that have been thrown his way since he won the presidency in 2016. Historically, there are several instances in which a scandal was thrown Trump’s way and his support has stayed the same or even increased.
At the start of his presidency, Trump was accused of colluding with Russia to secure his job as president. A long investigation ensued that resulted in him not being in collusion with Russia. But even if there was collusion, nothing would change. In 2017, a poll found that the majority of Trump voters would still support him even if the allegations of him colluding with Russia were true.
Trump’s polling numbers have also survived two impeachments, the most for a United States president in history. In 2019, Trump was impeached after a formal House investigation allegedly showed that Trump had requested Russian involvement in the 2020 U.S. presidential election to support his reelection effort. Afterwards, he then allegedly obstructed the investigation itself by ordering his administration staff to disregard subpoenas for documents and testimony. Nevertheless, Teflon Don wriggled out of impeachment. He was eventually acquitted by the Senate on February 5, 2020. During this time, polls found that although support for his impeachment was growing, Republicans remained “unanimously” against removing the president from office. One report even suggested that the impeachment was helping him in some battleground states and that it was unpopular in key election states.
During and after the tallying of votes for the 2020 election that went in favor of Joe Biden, Trump sowed doubt about the legitimacy of the election. In 2021, Trump was impeached again after being accused of inciting an insurrection leading to the attacks on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. He was once again acquitted in February 2021. Following the impeachment and acquittal, polls showed that the majority of Republican voters would support him running for president again in 2024.
That brings us to now. In April, Trump became the first president charged with criminal activity post-presidency. He was accused of paying adult film star Stormy Daniels hush money in an attempt to influence the 2016 election.
Some polls have found that these charges have recharged his 2024 presidential campaign. This same article forewarned that further charges would bear a grim outcome for Trump.
He was indicted again this month. A more recent report suggests that Trump’s support is declining due to the latest indictment. In that article, however, CNN acknowledged, “Still, there’s little sign that Republican-aligned voters who aren’t backing Trump are consolidating behind any one of his rivals. Nor are they unified around wanting Trump out of the race entirely, or in feeling that his primary opponents ought to call him out for his alleged actions in this case.”
It seems that despite their best efforts, Trump’s political opponents have not been able to chip away the loyalty of his supporters. This may be because the continued harassment of him long after he has left office has added to the narrative Trump expresses about the establishment politically persecuting him. And simply put, there is little Trump could do wrong to hemorrhage off the remaining support that he has.
By contrast, ever since President Joe Biden has been in office his support has incrementally slipped. Polls were in favor of him at the start of his presidency. But now the polls are so low that even his former most fervent supporters do not want him running as the 2024 Democratic presidential nominee. According to polls, even many Democratic lawmakers have declined to endorse him and are reluctant with their support.
But while Biden has no competitive challengers to the Democratic nomination, the same can’t be said for Trump. The former President will be 78 at the time of possible reelection and his most fierce competition, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, will be 46. DeSantis has a pretty clean rap sheet as well, especially in comparison to Trump at this time. Despite that, he is trailing behind Trump in early polling. According to a May Quinnipiac poll, Trump has a double-digits lead over DeSantis in the 2024 GOP primary race. There is a lot to say about GOP voters passing over a healthy, young, scandal-free candidate in favor of one riddled with a checkered history (and present).
It is safe to say that there is no getting away from Trump at this point. The unwavering support for him has emboldened the hold he has on Republican voters. It is an interesting phenomenon. Whatever the case may be, Trump and his supporters are not going anywhere anytime soon. I don’t think we’ve seen a party show this much loyalty to one particular candidate in decades, and we probably never will again.
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