With “MAGA forces” apparently assembling around the country, will Trump change the timeline on his 2024 presidential announcement?
Following the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, some reports indicated that Trump’s 2024 timeline had sped up significantly. Better to strike while the iron’s hot, was the thinking. On the other hand, an announcement too early risks getting swallowed by the upcoming midterms. It’s a give and take which is something that Trump enjoys as he keeps voters and the media trying to figure it out.
New reporting now indicates that the most likely time frame for a Trump presidential announcement will come after the midterm elections, not the Labor Day timeframe as was previously speculated:
Donald Trump is considering waiting until after the November midterms to launch a third presidential campaign as he navigates a widening array of legal troubles and mounting concerns that some of his hand-picked Senate candidates may be weaker than he once thought, sources familiar with his thinking tell CNN.
After months of eyeing Labor Day weekend as the target launch date for a 2024 campaign, Trump has spent the past few weeks backing away from that timeline following the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate and an increased panic among Republicans that the party may not be in for the red wave it has long anticipated this November.
While his timeline could shift again between now and November, the onslaught of political and legal concerns has the former President feeling nervous about prematurely diving into the 2024 primary, according to nine former and current Trump aides and allies who requested anonymity to discuss internal matters.
Other than the ability to raise money officially for a campaign, there’s little benefit to announcing this early on the calendar. No other potential GOP rival seems ready to make the plunge considering most of them are waiting to see what Trump’s doing.
Waiting until right after the midterms or even in January seems like the most plausible time frame. The question is how early is too early after the November elections?
There’s clearly a desire among Trump’s inner circle to declare a candidacy, start setting the GOP primary field and begin raising money in a campaign capacity. However, there are pitfalls as the focus for Democrats and voters will then become Trump rather than Biden’s numerous failures.
For his part, Joe Biden is trying his best to make the midterms about Donald Trump rather than his own abysmal record. If voters are talking about Trump then they’re not talking about Biden’s economy.
This playbook was tried last year in Virginia when Democrat Terry McAuliffe uttered the word “Trump” every five seconds in an effort to tie Republican Glenn Youngkin to the former president. It didn’t work, notably, in a state where Biden bested Trump by 10 points in 2020.
For some reason, Democrats are under the impression that it can work in 2022 if they keep repeating “Trump” as often as possible and declare war on anyone who voted for him.
Perhaps the ultimate decider on Trump’s timeframe though would be the appearance of weakness if it was perceived that he had to announce sooner than later to clear the field:
Another Trump adviser who had previously pushed for a pre-November campaign announcement has since recanted, joining those who believe that waiting until after the midterms is a more prudent approach.
“There’s no urgency because he’s not going to be outshined by someone else,” said former Trump campaign aide Bryan Lanza, pointing to the crowd of potential 2024 rivals who rushed to Trump’s defense — or lobbed sharp criticism at the Justice Department — after learning that federal investigators had executed a search warrant at his home.
“I personally feel like it’s a sign of weakness if he announces before the midterm,” said Matt Schlapp, a top Trump ally who chairs the American Conservative Union. Trump had previously considered a pre-midterm announcement as one way to clear the field of prospective challengers, something that Schlapp and others now say he no longer needs to worry about.
After the midterm elections on November 8, anything is fair game. If Republicans win the House and/or the Senate, Trump will have an argument, either way, to jump into the presidential fray.
After the midterms, the presidential race will come into immediate focus.