The EconomistThe Economist

Will Donald Trump Run Again?

18 Aug 2022 · 4 min read

This Economist analysis addresses a question that many people have been asking—especially as the former president’s grip on the Republican Party appears to have strengthened in recent weeks.

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They are the questions hanging over America and, thus, the West. Will the man who tried to overturn the results of the presidential election in 2020, threatened to disband the world’s most powerful military alliance and played footsie with Vladimir Putin, decide that he wants to run again? If so, can he be stopped? It may seem premature to ask. But the first primary of 2024 is closer in time than the last general election, 94 weeks ago. And, despite his poor record in office and his unconscionable behaviour after America’s voters kicked him out, Donald Trump’s grip on the Republican Party has strengthened.

The thumping defeat of Liz Cheney in her Wyoming primary this week matters, because it robs Congress of a brave, principled conservative, and because it fits a pattern. Not all the candidates endorsed by Mr Trump have won their primaries. But most of them have done so. Perhaps a greater sign of his influence is that many of the losing candidates sought his endorsement, too. These contests have not been over different flavours of conservatism, but over which contender is the most maga. Of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach the president for what he did on January 6th 2021, eight are either retiring or have been retired by primary voters. At the same time, the party’s nominees for key positions in some states’ administration of elections are people who support Mr Trump’s dangerous claim that the vote in 2020 was stolen.

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