Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC shares his perspective on US politics:
Is the Republican Party still Trump's party to lead after the midterm elections?
The biggest news this week, other than Taylor Swift tickets going on presale, is the announcement by former President Donald Trump that he is going to run for president a third time. Trump's role with Republicans is a huge source of discord within the party right now. He remains one of, if not the most popular Republicans, but he is not delivering the electoral results the way he once did. Trump-aligned candidates had some of the worst nights in the midterm elections, in some cases trailing other Republicans from the same state by 20 points or more.
This is a huge dilemma for Republicans who can't win with him, but they also probably can't win without him, as there is a hard core of Trump-supporting voters within the GOP base who helped Trump candidates win their primaries in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. If Trump does win the primary, there are a lot of people in both parties who think he is so toxic, it will give the election to the Democrats in 2024. Of course, depending on the state of the economy. But if he does not win the primary, there are serious questions as to how conciliatory he's willing to be, and if he would help the eventual Republican candidate or just take his base and go home.
And of course, there was a huge question as to who can beat Trump. The former entertainer destroyed the GOP field in 2016, mowing down former two-term governors in what was considered the best Republican slate of candidates in decades. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is getting a lot of buzz as a potential challenger. He's faced three years of intense media scrutiny after charting his own path on the COVID-19 pandemic. And he checks all of the boxes of cultural grievance against big business, the big government and the media that animate conservatives today. Given this, it seems likely he would be able to raise a lot of money very quickly and potentially consolidate the field. And this can make it very hard for other potential challengers like Mike Pompeo or Mike Pence to break through.
But this race is far from even starting to be run, and the first votes won't even be cast for over a year. In January 2007, a front-runner in the Democratic Party announced early, only to be defeated in a very contentious Democratic primary by a fresh face as primary voters looked to move on from the party's past. So the question is, will Donald Trump repeat the fate of Hillary Clinton from that 2008 race she lost against Barack Obama? Or will he defy history and become the first candidate to be nominated by the same party three times since FDR? We don't know, but the race is going to dominate US political news coverage for the next two years, so get ready.