Concerns that the former president may eventually leave the Republicans and run as an independent candidate where he would appeal to his voters.
Increasingly, the idea of Trumpism without Donald Trump at the helm seems a real and worrisome possibility in the Republican Party.
There are more and more reports of Republicans who are ideologically opposed to the tycoon or who are in open competition with him for their own ambitions, or simply what the U.S. press defines as “fatigue,” if not being fed up, with Trump.
Some are beginning to see him as a “loser” whose leadership has had a negative impact on his party.
“Although many still strongly approve of most of Trump’s policies from his four years in the White House, they have grown increasingly tired of his perceived juvenile antics and insults. Worse for Trump, many now blame him for the GOP losing the chance to take control of the Senate — not only in the November midterms, when he forced marginal candidates on the party with his endorsements, but also back in 2021, when he suppressed GOP voter turnout with negative comments and attacks in Georgia’s runoff election.”
The analysis by Douglas MacKinnon, a veteran Republican political consultant, reflects the current sentiment of a party committed to many of the former president’s proposals, but also supporters for whom Trump’s personal style has twice led to losing victories that seemed certain.
However, at the same time, it is not certain that they will be able to attract the voters that Trump was able to “tie” with the Republicans: an electoral mass composed above all of whites from rural areas and with limited education.
It is in this area that some Republican hopefuls are now trying to overtake the former president from the right.
According to political scientist Bill Schneider, “Republicans used to be called ‘the stupid party’ because of their anti-intellectualism. Today, radical right conservatives express resentment of being governed by an ‘educated elite’ with liberal or ‘woke’ values.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the apparent favorite of Trumpists opposed to Trump. By his own admission, the Florida he governs is “the state where woke goes to die.”
But if Trump’s personality is a factor, there doesn’t seem to be much analysis of his policies, and in fact DeSantis bases his popularity as much on hardline positions against immigrants and asylum seekers as on his opposition to vaccinations and the use of masks during the pandemic.
At the same time, there is concern about another possibility: that Trump may eventually leave the Republicans and run as an independent candidate or as the head of a third party where he would try to appeal to his voters.
Normally that would imply a split of the right-wing vote and a Republican defeat.