DemDaily: Trump Back On The Ballot
November 16, 2022
Former President Donald Trump announced his bid for a second presidential term last night, to the dismay of many in his own party.
Before a modest crowd gathered at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Trump declared, “In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”
The surprisingly subdued, almost listless speech came just one week after the 2022 midterms in which his party experienced historic setbacks -- in no small part due to the twice-impeached former President's interference in an attempt to remain in the spotlight.
Despite the economic woes, albeit inherited, of an unpopular current president, voters chose instead to reject the Trump/MAGA brand and its associated division and political violence. According to exit polls, 58% of voters held an unfavorable view of Trump, likely disrupting what should have been a Republican red-wave victory.
Trump made more than 250 primary endorsements, uplifting the candidacy of extremist, anti-abortion candidates who failed miserably in battleground races, costing the GOP control of the US Senate. Of the 37 general election Senate, House, and gubernatorial endorsements Trump made in battleground contests, only 14 prevailed on November 8 -- a dismal 38% success rate.
Trump's declaration also comes amid numerous ongoing investigations of his actions in and out of office, as well as that of his family and company. That includes the Justice Department's inquiry into the findings of the January 6th Committee, which has served as a public indictment of Trump's leading role in the violent insurrection of the attack on the US Capitol.
Trump's hour-long speech was also rife with outright falsehoods, from his repeated lies about the stolen election of 2020 to railing against the tyranny of "Green New Deal" legislation -- which was never passed in Congress -- to decrying the nonexistent teaching of critical race theory in public elementary schools.
At one point in the diatribe, which was covered only in part by major media outlets, Trump blamed his party’s midterm performance on voters not yet realizing “the total effect of the suffering” after two years of Democratic control in Washington.
While the timing of Trump's first-out-of-the gate strategy appears to be based on fending off potential primary rivals, it is expected to do little to deter at least one major opponent - Ron DeSantis. The Florida Governor, who just won a 19-point reelection victory, is the leading choice among primary voters.
In a post-election YouGov poll, 42% of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters said they would prefer to see DeSantis as the nominee, compared with 35% saying they would prefer the former president. Among "strong Republicans," however, Trump was favored 45% to 43% for DeSantis.
The poll did not measure other potential contenders, which include former Vice President Mike Pence, outgoing Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
Trump's announcement also comes as Republicans scramble to devote all available resources to the December 6 Senate runoff election in Georgia, causing consternation among many GOP leaders who fear the decision could polarize the state's electorate in what is already a razor-thin contest.
DemList will keep you informed.
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Sources: CNN, Politico, NPR, Axios