A glitch-plagued chat with Elon Musk, live on Twitter, is an unconventional way to launch a presidential campaign. But with the entry of Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, the race for the Republican nomination is now properly under way. The first states will not vote until January. Primaries are hard to predict, because it is expensive to conduct enough high-quality polls of primary voters in the key states. But, with that disclaimer over, one candidate has a huge, perhaps insurmountable, lead: Donald Trump. Mr Trump thus has a real chance of becoming America’s next president. Betting markets put his odds of returning to the White House at one in three.
If you decided to pay less attention to Mr Trump after he lost in 2020, to preserve your sanity, you may be wondering how this can be the case. Parties do not usually stick with losers. Mr Trump led the Republicans to defeats in the 2018 midterm and the 2020 presidential elections. After he encouraged his supporters to “stop the steal”, some of them broke into Congress, with the result that one police officer died of a stroke and four committed suicide. He has since been found liable for sexual assault, too. Would the Republican Party really nominate him again?