A Bunch Of Republicans Are (Quietly) Running Against Donald Trump

by | Nov 23, 2022 | Politics

The midterm elections are barely behind us, but Republicans are already looking ahead two years: To the next presidential election when they’ll have the opportunity to retake the White House from Joe Biden.So far, only Donald Trump has made his candidacy official, while nearly a dozen other Republicans are expected to announce their plans in the coming weeks and months. Primary season kicked off in earnest last weekend at the Republican Jewish Coalition leadership convention, a showcase for those who are weighing still-unconfirmed challenges to Trump for the GOP nomination.AdvertisementFar from clearing the field, a slew of Republicans who once embraced the former president are now sharpening their pitches against him, something that seemed unthinkable as recently as a few weeks ago, before Trump-backed candidates were fully shellacked in the midterms. The better-then-expected result for Democrats was seen as a rejection of the hard-line MAGA movement and an opening for a new GOP standard-bearer.But having too many candidates in the mix might backfire on Republicans by simulating a repeat of the 2016 primary when a large GOP field splintered the vote and handed Trump the nomination.As the presidential election draws nearer (a mere 713 days away!), here are the Republicans most likely to bring the Republican “shadow primary” out into the open:This man is running for president again.Andrew Harnik/Associated PressAdvertisementDonald Trump: Actually Running There’s no uncertainty here since Trump made his third White House run official last week. Substitute Trump Tower’s golden escalator for a banquet hall at his Florida estate, and it was practically 2015 all over again: the same rhetoric, minus some of the energy. For a leader who cost the party control of the White House and Senate, polls indicate that Trump remains stubbornly well-liked among Republicans.The 45th president didn’t present a fresh vision for what he might accomplish in a non-consecutive second term beyond calling for drug dealers to receive the death penalty. “Our country is a laughingstock right now,” said Trump, who faced two impeachments and used conspiracies to justify his election loss. “The blood-soaked streets of our once great cities are cesspools of violent crime.”Instead of scaring off potential opponents, Trump’s announcement gives them space to define themselves against his less popular qualities and midterm election losses. Being first out of the gate also gives Trump’s candidacy more time to fizzle out over the course of a very long campaign season.This man might as well be running.John Locher/Associated PressRon DeSantis: Basically RunningFlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis has not yet announced his widely anticipated presidential bid yet. But he strongly hinted at his plans to eager masses of donors, party elites and reporters at the first major 2024 cattle call for the GOP, the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) gathering in Las Vegas. “We’ve got a lot more to do, and I have only begun to fight,” DeSantis said during his keynote address.AdvertisementDeSantis, who won reelection by nearly 20 percentage points, has everything he needs to rival Trump: a deep network of donors, allies in the right-leaning media, and a sterling reputation as a conservative culture warrior. He’s basically Trump minus the baggage.To some, DeSantis, the most popular Trump alternative, is also Trump minus the charisma — the quality that endeared Trump to his supporters despite all the hair-raising tweets and attempts at overthrowing a free and fair election.This man would like to run, it seems.John Locher/Associated PressMike Pence: Sure Looks Like He’ll RunMore than his words in recent months, the former vice president’s actions speak volumes about his presid …

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