Trump was fresh and new during his 2016 campaign. Did his fame fail?

The failed 'red wave' during the midterm elections marked the beginning of a downward spiral of losses and loss of support

Instead of taking off like a rocket over the past three weeks, Donald Trump's bid to win back the White House appears to have, so far at least, exploded on the launch pad.

The swagger of 2016 has been replaced by the sleepiness of 2022. The polls are dismal. Legal setbacks piled up. A string of poor midterm results, culminating in another Republican loss in Georgia this week, has punctured his aura of invincibility within the party.

And Trump has committed astounding acts of self-sabotage, from feeding on antisemitics to calling for the constitution to be torn apart. He has avoided widely anticipated public rallies, instead remaining out of the public eye.

For any conventional candidate, such a list would be career ending. For Trump, who has long defied political gravity, the impact remains uncertain. But even the most ardent propagandist would be hard pressed to portray it as a good start.

"It couldn't be any worse," said Allan Lichtman, a history professor at the American University in Washington. "And it's not that Donald Trump made a mistake. That's because Donald Trump is Donald Trump.

“He is something new and fresh and exciting in 2016. He has presided over three disastrous election cycles for the Republican Party in 2018, 2020 and 2022 and he is the same Donald Trump, who only cares about himself, wrapped up in his own grievances and his own grievances. self whining. It is no longer in play for Americans.

It wasn't meant to be like this. When Trump first set a date for his campaign launch at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on November 15, it was based on the premise that Republicans would enjoy a "red wave" in the midterm elections, putting the wind in his sails for the months ahead. .

By contrast, the midterms were a nightmare as most of his handpicked candidates, including election deniers, were eliminated in the state. Former American football star Herschel Walker's loss this week by incumbent Raphael Warnock in the Senate election in Georgia appeared to confirm that Trump had become ballot-box poison, prompting a headline on the once-faithful Fox News website: “Herschel Walker just wrote Donald's political letter Trump. obituary".

Unfortunately, one of the biggest winners at the halftime was Ron DeSantis, re-elected governor of Florida by nearly 20 percentage points, cementing his status as Trump's biggest threat. The Yahoo News/YouGov poll conducted from December 1 to 5 found DeSantis leading the former president by five percentage points in the race for the 2024 Republican nomination.

So Trump's Mar-a-Lago speech was widely derided as a wet squib, lacking its usual bombast and brio and even his daughter, Ivanka, has decided to ignore this one. Since then, the campaign has been running on autopilot and little has been seen of the former president hunkered down in Florida, adventuring only to play golf.

Trump's boisterous campaign rallies, which had been expected to provide the initial momentum to his third straight presidential bid, mysteriously failed to materialise. Instead, in June 2015, he declared his candidacy after taking an escalator ride in New York and holding his first rally in Iowa just 10 hours later, moving to New Hampshire a day later.

But Trump still makes a lot of news out of Mar-a-Lago. He had dinner with two antisemites: Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and white supremacist Nick Fuentes (You later expressed his admiration for Adolf Hitler). Still talking about the 2020 election, which he wrongly claims he stole, Trump muses about "stopping" the constitution he once swore to preserve, protect and defend. He also posed for a photo with a reporter supporting the QAnon and "Pizzagate" conspiracy theories.

Such antics had shaken even the faithful. Larry Kudlow, who is Trump's economic advisor in the White House, shared his concerns with former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway during her Fox Business event. "I don't understand what our former boss did," said Kudlow. “I like the guy, but I don't understand Kanye West, hanging out with white nationalists, hanging out with antisemitic people, talking about ending the constitution or suspending the constitution.

He added: "I don't understand, I don't understand why he said it, and if he said it why didn't he apologize for it or correct the notes or something, because he lost support left and right. I hear it everywhere."

Then there are the legal headaches, another departure from the carefree days of 2016. Trump Business this week was found guilty on all 17 counts in a tax fraud case in New York. Trump's organization - which operates hotels, golf courses and other global assets - is facing fines of up to $1.6 million, tarnishing his carefully crafted image as a businessman with a golden touch.

Last month attorney general Merrick Garland appointed special counsel Jack Smith for two of the justice department's investigations. One focused on Trump keeping government records, including some marked secret, after leaving office. On December 1, Trump suffered yet another defeat when an appeals court overturned appointing a judge as an independent arbitrator to examine documents the FBI had seized from Mar-a-Lago, clearing the way for all records to be used in criminal investigations. ex president.

Another concern is the long-term effort to undo Trump's 2020 election loss; Smith this week issued grand jury subpoenas to local election officials in Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin. Separately, a prosecutor in Georgia is pursuing Trump's alleged attempts to influence the state's 2020 election results. And the House of Representatives panel investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol is expected to make a criminal referral to the justice department.

Lichtman added: “The Trump Corporation has been operating as a criminal enterprise. That's now set in court: 17 counts. And of course he could still be indicted on a number of different charges: mishandling classified documents, meddling in the Georgia election, inciting riots, disrupting Congress, tax fraud. There are a number of potential breaches."

Many perceived Trump's initial campaign rollout as a blatant attempt to discourage such prospects. He characterized the investigation as a politically motivated "witch hunt" reminiscent of a Russian collusion "hoax". The stakes are that the justice department will be reluctant to prosecute an active candidate against being accused of meddling in the election.

Kurt Bardella, a Democratic strategist, said: “It doesn't seem like a real campaign, but more of an attempt to use campaign illusions to try and manage his legal situation. Trump's legal strategy is directly linked to Trump's 2024 strategy. They are one and the same.”

Garland's actions so far show that the immunity bid has failed. Trump's attempts to clean up the Republican field, intimidate and drive out potential challengers in 2024, have been equally futile, only to expose his vulnerabilities.

DeSantis, former vice president Mike Pence, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin and Senator Tim Scott have left a trail of clues about their intentions. Rupert Murdoch's big money donor and media empire have indicated they are ready for alternatives.

However, if these candidates split the anti-Trump vote, Maga's shrinking but hardening base could help him win the Republican primary as it did in 2016. Loyalty to the former president runs deep in the county and state parties. Even after his most recent offense, the number of senior Republicans speaking out against Trump has been striking, but so have the number exchanging pleasantries or remaining silent.

Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said: “Show me evidence of where his grip on the party has broken. The only thing we've heard from the party leadership is that there is no place for antisemitism in the Republican party. We haven't heard anyone calling for Donald Trump to be removed as a potential candidate from the party.

“Ron DeSantis didn't say anything about the Mar-a-Lago dinner. He's really quiet, so the idea that he's going to be a leader is a joke because it's a moment to lead and he's shaking in the corner because he's afraid of getting hit by Donald Trump."

He added: “Trump is still an animating and outcome-controlling thing within the Republican party as long as the political leadership allows the tail to wag the dog. If you're afraid of your own shadow, you won't get out much.”

There's no doubt that Trump's political obituaries have been readied a thousand times, only to be torn apart when the Republican party once again caved in. Is there something different in the air this time? Bob Shrum, a Democratic strategist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry, said: “The problem is we've said it many times and it's not true. On the other hand, one day it will come true. This article was written by EDUKASI CAMPUS.  

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