The Republican base has made it all but impossible to move on from Donald Trump.
As much as many Republicans might want to move on from the twice-impeached ex-president, Fox News resuscitated conspiracy theories around Jan. 6 and Trump has been invited to testify before a New York grand jury, which could be the first but possibly not the last case where he could be indicted, and those developments have centered the 2024 campaign squarely around him, reported Politico.
“Ignore it, deflect it all you want,” said Mike Noble, the chief of research and managing partner at the polling firm OH Predictive Insights. “This is, right now, going to be the Trump show … The oxygen is just going to be sucked out of the room focusing on Trump.”
Trump’s approval ratings are drooping and GOP voters say they’re willing to back another candidate, but some of his would-be challengers — Nikki Haley, Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo — all served in his administration, and even Gov. Ron DeSantis has strong ties to him and is measured in comparison to the former president.
“It’s going to be Trump, or it’s going to be the Trumpiest son-of-a-b*tch out there,” said former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, who unsuccessfully challenged him in 2020. “That is what this base wants.”
GOP strategists dread a rehashing of Jan. 6 on the 2024 campaign trail, but Tucker Carlson’s broadcasts of selectively edited footage from the Capitol riot makes that difficult, and any Trump indictments would shine a spotlight on his alleged misdeeds — and place him squarely in the center of any story.
Trump himself has added to this dynamic by promoting Carlson’s work and hailing the jailed January 6th rioters as “patriots” whom he would pardon should he win a second term.
“The press likes him — he’s the story, he’s conflict,” said longtime GOP strategist Beth Miller. “How do you not continue to write about him, since all of those issues are still at the forefront.”
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