Trump's 2024 outlook: more vulnerable after Jan 6 hearings
Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Happy Monday. And a Quick Take for you to get your week started off. Wanted to talk a little bit about a topic I haven't discussed very much and that is the implications of the January 6th commission and where we are heading for US elections.
It's pretty clear to me that Trump is still the most popular in the Republican Party. And if you want to make a bet, you would certainly still say that he gets the nomination. I think it's virtually a hundred percent that he's going to announce his candidacy. Closest people around him certainly believe that in relatively short order. But he is more vulnerable than he was just a few months ago. And some of this is obvious. I mean, he's not president anymore and so he doesn't have the platform that he had when he was president. Of course, he's going to lose a significant amount of attention, impact as a consequence of that. He's been banned from Twitter. He's banned from Facebook. And his new Truth Social is not doing very much to speak of, at least to date. Doesn't seem to have any real management. And a couple times I've taken a look at it, doesn't seem to have a lot going on in terms of the space. He's not attracting the same crowds he used to when he gives speeches.
Now, the January 6th committee, which has been an anti-Trump effort... There's no question that the decision by Kevin McCarthy to pull those that he had appointed to serve on it and make sure that it was basically only Republicans that were strongly anti-Trump, in this case, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, would participate, meant that it was going to be perceived as a more partisan affair than it would have if there had been full participation from across the political spectrum. No question about that. But it has still had impact. And I think one of the reasons it's had impact is because so many of the people that have participated are hardly Democrats. And in fact, many of them are people that were strong pro-Trump characters until January 6th; a bunch of former staffers, the deputy press secretary, Sarah Matthews, the deputy national security advisor, someone I know pretty well, actually, Matt Pottinger, members of Pence's team, others. I mean, these were all people that had been strongly loyal to Trump for the entirety of his first term.
Now, I want to be clear, the rank and file of the Republican party still think that this whole thing is a nothing burger. There's only a small minority of the Republican party that believed on January 6th that he was responsible for it in any way. And that number has basically not moved. It's within a margin of error. But independents have shifted against Trump. And by the way, so has Rupert Murdoch. And I think it's very interesting that over the last few days, you see opinion editorials from the editorial board, from both the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal saying that Trump is unfit to run again for the presidency, shouldn't be president in 2025. These are press outfits that were all in for Trump in 2020 and they're not anymore.
Now, the Wall Street Journal is an elite newspaper. It has a lot of Democrat and establishment Republican readers, few that would be considered ultra-MAGA. That's not true of the New York Post. Though, of course, New York itself is a heavily blue voting urban area, but they're going to lose a lot of subscribers in Staten Island, certainly on the basis of taking that perspective. But even Fox News itself... I mean, you watch Hannity, you watch Tucker Carlson, they're a hundred percent still for Trump. But the daily coverage that you see that has been much more straight up news over the last couple of years has also covered a lot more. They haven't been covering the January 6th commission, but they have not been promoting Trump and they've not been trying in any way to whitewash him or actively cheerlead for him in a way that Newsmax, for example, has consistently no matter what time of the day that you watch it.
So I think at the very least we can now say that we're going to have a lot of alternative candidates for 2024. I think it's increasingly likely that Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, is going to run against Trump. I think there will be a number of others as well. Again, you wouldn't bet against him at this point, but you wouldn't think it's going to be easy. And I think that's important. By the way, that's of course also true of Biden in the sense that Biden is at his most unpopular of his entire presidency right now. He's polling in the mid to high thirties. He's got big problems, particularly with the economy, particularly with inflation. He's vulnerable on COVID issues as well. And he also is looking increasingly slow, and his age is a factor, by the way, as is Trump's. And that fact is something that's going to make a lot of people much more interested in having anyone but Biden run in 2024 in the Democratic side and anyone but Trump run on the Republican side.
But this matters more about Trump because frankly, if you get Biden or if you get someone else, there's not a lot of impact in terms of the ultimate trajectory of US political institutions, the role of democracy, the kind of policies that you get in the way that the United States is perceived globally, where if it's Trump vis-à-vis another more mainstream Republican, it matters a lot, precisely because of Trump's unfitness, his willingness to call elections illegitimate and do everything he can to undermine them, certainly something you'd expect to do again, as well as his indifference to rule of law. So I do believe the fact that both Trump and Biden are increasingly vulnerable to significant challenges is a much greater impact and import when you look at the Republican side. Now, again, if you make me bet right now, I would still say that Trump gets the nomination and that it's close to a conflict for 2024. But again, overall, the likelihood Trump becomes president a second term has gone down significantly.
Now, one danger I'd like to raise. I really think we need to call out those Democrats that are spending money and channeling money in a number of races to try to get pro-Trump stop the steal election deniers to win in Republican primaries, because they believe that those pro-Trump candidates are going to be easier to defeat in a general election. Now, first of all, a lot of Democrats felt that way about Trump himself in 2020 and look what happened as a consequence, but I'll go further than that. This is a very dangerous game they're playing, and they should stop.
One more Marjorie Taylor Greene, in the House is too many. One is too many. It leads to violence. It leads to lunacy. It leads to disinformation. She's a self-avowed Christian nationalist. She's doing everything she can from a weak position to try to undermine the American political system and the values that it's built upon. And if you end up with five or 10 of them in the House, a couple of them in the Senate, a couple of them as governors, you do a lot more to deeply undermine the structural integrity and stability of the American political system. So the Democrats should stop playing that game right away.
Finally, I want to make a shout-out to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, two people on the Republican Party. Kinzinger voted for Trump, was full-throated about it. Cheney votes with Trump over 90% of the time in the House. They have basically given up their political careers. Liz Cheney lost her role in the leadership of the House and is almost certainly going to lose her upcoming race for re-election. Kinzinger has already had to step down. In both cases, these are people that are standing by democracy and rule of law in the country above their narrow political preference. There are not many people in the country that are leading by example right now. And if by doing it, that means you have to lose your job, well, they're showing us what a leader really is and I tip my cap to them. That's it for me. I'll talk to you soon.
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