Two months ago he seemed to find himself on the road back to the White House, with fearful opposition both inside and outside the party.
For the past two years, Donald Trump seemed to be the defining face of the American right and, for the Republican Party in particular, its ultimate, undisputed leader. Today, however, there are a growing number of people inside and outside the Republican Party who are wondering whether this is a story in its final stages.
So much so, say the usually well-informed gossips, that the Democrats themselves would like the Republican presidential candidate to be Trump. Until two months ago, he seemed to be on the road back to the White House, with fearful opposition both inside and outside the party; and an evidently vulnerable President Biden facing an economy troubled by inflation, high gasoline prices, and simultaneous crises in several parts of the world, especially in Ukraine and Taiwan. Biden, now in his 80s, looked weak and tired, doomed to be seen simply as a good man who had outgrown his job.
Trump had the chance, and he took it, to impose candidates to his liking for elected positions such as congressional representatives and senators. And there, it can be said, began his downfall. For in their desire to be pleasing to the new chieftain, Trump’s chosen aspirants turned out to be more extreme and strident than he himself, both in their denunciations of the honesty of the 2020 election, and in their positions on issues such as abortion. Indeed, they went too far and became irritating. The outcome of the last Nov. 8 elections was like a fulfilled prediction from the famous novel The Leopard (Il Gattopardo) by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
In other words, changes were made to keep everything the same: Instead of an overwhelming victory, the Republicans achieved a rickety majority in the House and, at best, a tie in the Senate, as in the previous two years. It was an electoral semi-failure, but politically it was a brutal defeat, which opened the door to a torrent of accusations against Trump, who had already been denounced for meddling in the Republican electoral process and stealing attention from the candidates by going ahead and launching his own candidacy with a speech considered to be the apathetic oratory of an old and tired candidate.
Trump seems to enjoy complicating things, having recently had dinner at his home with Nick Fuentes, a far-right figure known for his Nazi and racist sympathies, and rapper Ye (formerly Kanye West), author of controversial anti-Jewish statements.
At the same time, aspirants who until a few weeks ago were on the lookout for opportunity now feel that there is space for them in the competition for the Republican presidential candidacy. Worse still, financiers and former collaborators are abandoning Trump in search of new faces that, without the personal complications of the former president, would arouse less antipathy.