Donald Trump has announced his candidacy to lead the Republican Party in the 2024 presidential election. The announcement didn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Anyone could have predicted it. He has made it known that he intended to run in a third bid for the presidency. When he intervened on Election Tuesday saying that a week later he would make "an important announcement," he knew he was bringing his decision forward.
The goal of making his intentions clear on November 8 was to stand out among the extraordinary election results that the Republicans were expected to have. In reality, he didn't need to do it for attention. 92% of the candidates he endorsed in the primaries were elected. His influence in the Republican Party is unrivaled. This election was his more than anyone else's, within the Republican Party.
Donald Trump throughout the election
The results did not go as expected. The Democratic Party maintains control of the Senate, and could even extend it if Raphael Warnock defeats Herschel Walker on December 6 in Georgia. On the other hand, the Party has regained three governors. One of those states that was in Republican hands and has since crossed political parties is Arizona, where its candidate, Kari Lake, lost in a tight and contested election.
In his message announcing his candidacy, he bragged by saying that the 218th victory, Kevin Kiley, was one one of his candidates, giving his party a majority in the House of Representatives. Kiley's only merit in this regard is that he won an election whose recount took longer than others.
If you go election by election, Donald Trump's nominees have not done well. The Washington Post (certainly not a newspaper that shows any sympathy toward Donald Trump) made the following calculation, based on data collected by The Cook Political Report:
In these 114 districts, candidates bearing Trump endorsements underperformed their baseline by a whopping five points, while Republicans who were without Trump’s blessing overperformed their baseline by 2.2 points — a remarkable difference of more than seven points.
These disappointing results are not really due to the Republican brand. This can be seen based on the fact that according to The Cook Political Report, the GOP leads the Democratic Party by 6.1 points; double what the polls were saying.
The results are not in his favor
Taking all this into account, and because he took center stage in the midterm elections, the results have been detrimental to the candidacy he just announced.
Although these results have not been entirely good for the Republican Party, they have been extraordinary for some of the candidates who could possibly run for the presidency in two years. One of them, of course, is Ron DeSantis.
Ron DeSantis has managed to pull ahead of Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist by nearly 20 points. He has done so in a swing state, one that can make or break a presidential election. As DeSantis said on the day of his election victory, "we have changed the political map" of the United States. Turning a purple state into a red state is an accomplishment his fellow party members hold in high regard.
On top of that, Ron DeSantis has gained support among a group that everyone has their eyes on: Hispanics. On the one hand, they are a minority that will one day become a majority in America. On the other hand, support for Democrats has been cut in half over the past ten years, and that trend is expected to continue in the coming years. Both pieces of news point to the future of the Republican Party.
Ron DeSantis has stood out for three aspects of his management. On the one hand, he is the governor who has been known for his fight against the woke ideology. He has not always been consistent with conservatism in that struggle. He has gone so far as to threaten the autonomy of private companies. The courts have had to intervene in this aspect of his policies.
The second part of his political action has been focused around his commitment to freedom, especially when the pandemic became the main excuse to interfere with people’s rights: confinements, mandatory masks and school closures, among others. The third and definitive aspect has been his leadership throughout the Hurricane Ian crisis.
DeSantis is Donald Trump's main rival, but not the only one. Trump's case shows that there are no definitive candidates, and that those who start as clear favorites can fail down the road at the Republican convention. In 2016, Jeb Bush's candidacy was taken for granted, and it was Trump precisely who ruined it.
Another of the Republican candidates is the man who stood by Trump’s side during his presidency: Mike Pence. Pence was governor of Indiana. Pence is a conservative economically and morally, and that helped Donald Trump win the support of the Republican Party. He served as a counterweight to a candidate with a lot of personalities and little ideology.
The two collided at a crucial moment: the Electoral College vote that would give the presidency to Joe Biden. While Donald Trump lectured the masses against an election he considered illegitimate, Pence defended the normal functioning of the institution. While this doesn’t seem to be a sufficient argument to make him a candidate, he continues to appear in the polls.
Abbott, Rubio, Haley
Another potential candidate is Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He has several qualities that are necessary for a good president. He has solid principles, which he combines with boldness. He was the first to send illegal immigrants to states governed by Democratic politicians.
There are candidates who could be promising . Some of them we already know from other presidential primaries, as is the case of Marco Rubio, who won another term as senator for Florida. Other senators who could potentially run are Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rick Scott, the other senator from Florida. Mike Pompeo let it slip that he intends to run but has not officially made an official announcement.
Two other names can be added to this list. Nikki Haley, a diplomat and former governor of South Carolina, has every chance of making a good run. Kari Lake lost to a Democratic challenger (and vote counter) Katie Hobbs. Despite this, Lake has proven to be an effective leader and could be a strong candidate for 2024, not as a rival to Donald Trump, but as his companion on the Republican ticket to the presidential election.