November 16, 2022

Donald Trump

“On Tuesday [former president Donald Trump] launched a bid to regain the presidency in 2024, aiming to pre-empt potential Republican rivals… In a speech lasting little more than an hour, Trump spoke to hundreds of supporters in a ballroom decorated with chandeliers and lined with American flags. ‘In order to make America great again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,’ Trump said.” Reuters

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From the Left

The left is critical of Trump’s candidacy.

“[Trump] gave an extraordinarily tedious and droning address announcing his new presidential campaign. ‘This is one of the most low-energy, uninspiring speeches I’ve ever heard from Trump,’ tweeted Sarah Matthews, his former deputy White House press secretary. ‘Even the crowd seems bored.’ CNN cut away 20 minutes in. Fox News lasted about 40 minutes…

“Still, as I listened to Trump speak about ‘cesspools of blood’ and sadistic knife-wielding gangsters, it was hard not to feel a sickening sense of déjà vu. Somehow, seven long years after he descended his golden escalator, we’re back to a place where most conservative elites are again united against him, waiting for a Florida Republican to take him out, even as his fanatical base remains committed… [Trump has] clearly lost a step — ‘Ron DeSanctimonious’ is a lot less catchy than ‘Lyin’ Ted’ — but no one should assume he’s finished.”

Michelle Goldberg, New York Times

“Trump and his allies are still embroiled in a legal mess, under several subpoena orders with regards to efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Republicans flopped in the midterms. Kevin McCarthy is barely hanging onto a House majority. Mitch McConnell’s leadership is being threatened. And Trump, who has never won the popular vote, has now entered the race for president for a third time. Good luck, Republicans.”

Prem Thakker, New Republic

“Should Trump win, it would be a mistake to assume a second Trump term would roughly resemble the first. In that first term, Trump heavily relied for his appointments on the ‘Republican establishment,’ including many officials who did try at least somewhat to rein in his most extreme or corrupt impulses. Since, he’s become more reliant on extreme advisers who have little interest in the norms of liberal democracy. That means a second-term Trump could well be far more successful at actually doing the corrupt things he always wanted to do…

“For example, during Trump’s first term he wanted the Justice Department to prosecute his political opponents, but the department refused. He wanted to withdraw from NATO but didn’t follow through on it. And as far as Trump did go in trying to overturn Biden’s win, he considered going even further — discussing, for instance, imposing martial law and commandeering the DOJ in his election-stealing effort — but was convinced to back down…

“People close to Trump are reportedly exploring proposals to fire tens of thousands of civil servants in the federal government, replacing them with loyalists… A second Trump term would be far more tumultuous than the first.”

Andrew Prokop, Vox

“Mr. Trump gravely damaged American democracy, but there are promising signs that the wounds are beginning to heal. Nearly without exception, the losing candidates in the recent midterm elections have conceded with grace — even some of those who had attacked the integrity of the election system during their campaigns…

The return of Mr. Trump’s dark circus threatens that progress. He will once again tempt Americans with misinformation and outright lies, veiled threats and outright calls for violence, insults and provocations. By rejecting his bid for a political revival, Americans can put Mr. Trump in the past, and get back to the hard but necessary work of self-government.”

Editorial Board, New York Times

From the Right

The right is divided over Trump’s candidacy.

The right is divided over Trump’s candidacy.

Supporters argue, “Trump addressed a slew of issues, including the migrant crisis, energy dependence, China, and the Green New Deal, promising to provide solutions for each of these issues if he became president again. He also promised to rescind the Biden administration’s COVID policies and rehire every member of the military who was fired due to the restrictions…

The former president did precisely what he needed to do in this speech. He brought attention to the many flaws of the Biden administration while explaining what he would do to rectify the problems it has created. But what was most notable was what Trump did not say. At no point in his speech did he bring up the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, an issue the left has seized on to attack him and other Republicans who question the fairness of the race. Perhaps it is a sign that he realizes this is not a winning issue for him for folks outside of his base.”

Jeff Charles, RedState

“As usual, the reports of Trump’s demise have been greatly exaggerated… The reality is that even though there was anger and skepticism over another Trump term, his base heard his speech Tuesday night and looked on with the same optimism they had in 2016. He said what even the Republican Party would not say with vigor ahead of what should have been a sweep in the 2022 midterm elections. They tried to coast into victory, but Trump still wants to fight. ​​‘This campaign will be about issues, vision, and success’

“‘We will again put America first,’ he said. ‘This won’t be my campaign. This will be our campaign.’”

Amber Athey, Spectator World

Critics argue, “GOP voters should give up on the idea that Trump is a winner. After securing the GOP nomination with plurality support in 2016, Trump didn’t exceed 47 percent in either of his campaigns, winning in 2016 with 46.1 percent and losing in 2020 with 46.8. This is, to say the least, a very narrow electoral path, and one must assume that with all that’s transpired since 2020, Trump is weaker than in his first two races. The party’s position has significantly eroded under his hegemony…

“A lesson of the midterms was that association with Trump and ‘stop the steal’ were liabilities, and no one is more associated with both of those things than Donald Trump himself. Democrats helped choose MAGA candidates that were eminently defeatable in GOP primaries this year, and nominating Trump — whom Democrats are pining to run against again — in 2024 would replicate this experience on a much larger scale… It’s too early to know what the rest of the field will look like, except it will offer much better alternatives than Trump.”

The Editors, National Review

“The Georgia result is particularly instructive because Trump spent more money ($4.4 million) trying to defeat Kemp, the Republican governor, than he did on any one of his Republican Senate candidates. The former president spent only $3.7 million in Arizona, $2 million in Nevada, and $3.5 million in Pennsylvania on Senate candidates, all of whom lost…

“Look at Trump's record. He won just once, six years ago, against Hillary Clinton, the worst and least likable politician in modern history. Ever since that one moment, all Trump has done in elections is lose… Republican voters want someone they can trust, who shares their values, and who can win.”

Editorial Board, Washington Examiner

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