Donald Trump says he has made a decision about running for president again in 2024 and that this announcement will come at a later date. The big question, of course, is when that announcement will come.
In an interview with New York Magazine, Trump revealed that the “big decision” is whether he will make his big announcement before or after November’s midterm elections.
“Well, in my own mind, I’ve already made that decision, so nothing factors in anymore. In my own mind, I’ve already made that decision … Do I go before or after? That will be my big decision.”
This really isn’t new, as last summer Trump told Sean Hannity that he had already made up his mind about running in 2024, and his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, revealed that Trump had met with “cabinet members” at his Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey to discuss his future in politics. Then, in November, he told Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business that “you are going to be very happy” about his decision about 2024, but that, due to campaign finance laws, he couldn’t officially announce yet and he “probably” wouldn’t announce until after the 2022 midterm elections.
So, why is he entertaining the notion of announcing before the midterm elections now? Well, he pretty much told us.
“I just think that there are certain assets to before,” he explained. “Let people know. I think a lot of people would not even run if I did that because, if you look at the polls, they don’t even register. Most of these people. And I think that you would actually have a backlash against them if they ran. People want me to run.”
In short, the only reason to announce before the 2022 midterm elections is to preempt other Republicans who might jump in—in particular, a popular governor from the state of Florida, Ron DeSantis.
While recent polls have shown Trump with a comfortable lead amongst potential GOP presidential candidates, Ron DeSantis’s stock is undoubtedly rising, and he has now beaten Trump in two 2024 straw polls. In May, he edged out Trump in the 2024 straw poll at the Wisconsin GOP convention, 38% to 32%, and he also beat Trump in the multiple-choice 2024 straw poll at the Western Conservative Summit. Again, DeSantis and Trump were the far-away favorites, with DeSantis getting 74% of the vote and Trump getting 71%. The next closest candidate was Sen. Ted Cruz, with 43%.
Based on all the evidence we have, a 2024 GOP primary would come down to Trump and DeSantis, and frankly, the latter has given us plenty of reason to feel more comfortable supporting him. That said, it’s hard to say if DeSantis would launch a presidential campaign if Trump was already a candidate. In many respects, if Trump wants the nomination in 2024, all he has to to officially announce he’s running.
“Unless there’s something coming out of left field I don’t see coming, it’s his nomination if he wants it,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in December. “The Republican base appreciated him. We don’t appreciate all the things he does sometimes. But from a policy point of view, he was the most successful president from a conservative’s point of view since Ronald Reagan.”
There was, however, a small caveat. Graham conceded that Trump would win in 2024 “if he runs a disciplined campaign.”
That said, Graham said this week he’d pick Trump over DeSantis. “I like Ron DeSantis, but I know what I’m getting with Trump. The good and the bad and everything in between. Trump sounds pretty good to me right now.”
It’s unlikely that anyone would announce a 2024 campaign before the midterm elections, and hopefully, Trump will wait until afterward. An announcement before would be a distraction from all the issues that are working to the GOP’s advantage right now.