Should Trump Really Run in 2024? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Should Trump Really Run in 2024?
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Ron DeSantis, then a congressman, addresses a crowd while President Donald Trump watches at a rally in Tampa, Florida, on July 31, 2018. (Shutterstock/jctabb)

Tuesday at the American Thinker, Steve McCann — one of the regulars at that site — put forth the proposition that Donald Trump should hang up his cleats rather than run in the 2024 presidential race.

McCann, mind you, is not a Trump critic. He’s not arguing against Trump or his four-term term as president from 2017-21. Quite the contrary

His place in the pantheon of American presidents is secure as he was the right president at the right time and will go down in history as among the nation’s indispensable presidents.  In the upcoming no-holds-barred war for the soul and future of America, it is time for the mantle to be passed on to others he has effectively mentored and who have shown a resolute willingness to follow in his footsteps.

Trump’s accomplishments are legion and among the most important are not only awakening the citizenry to the potentially irretrievable headfirst dash into a permanent one-party-socialist oligarchy, but doing so by doggedly battling these ideological elites and exposing their duplicity, extrajudicial procedures, megalomania, and premeditated election fraud and manipulation.

He showed a nation stuck in a 28-year morass of political mediocrity and collectivism that fearlessness, determination, an implacable devotion to the principles of the nation’s founding, together with a genuine empathy for the America people, would defeat a radical left-wing Democrat party and a feckless Republican establishment.

Donald Trump’s inclusion on the list of indispensable presidents derives not only from his political, judicial and legislative accomplishments but the dramatically positive impact he had on the psyche of a hitherto despondent Middle America.  They are now keenly aware of who the ruling elites and their bedmates in the radical left are and that they are not invincible.

By renewing and recasting many of the economic policies of Ronald Reagan and initiating an America First foreign policy, Trump not only reversed the downward trend of the nation but with these overwhelmingly effective policies showed the American people that there were viable alternatives that worked.

Further, Trump’s determined effort to recast the Republican Party as the party of all income groups, races, creeds, and ethnicities and the Democrats as the party of the elites and left-wing radicals is succeeding at an overwhelming and accelerating pace.

Thanks to Donald Trump, most Republican candidates running for office at all levels of government now espouse and campaign on energy independence, school choice, a secure border, bringing jobs back to the United States, curtailing the power of the bureaucracy, reduced government regulations, deterrence against China, America First foreign policy, and, most importantly, recapturing the nation’s cultural and educational institutions.

McCann points out that the Republican Party doesn’t need Trump atop the ticket to win in 2024; he says Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, or perhaps others like Sens. Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, or Ted Cruz, could beat whatever Walking Dead character the Democrats inflict on the body politic. And he worries that at 78, Trump might just be too old. He also thinks four more years of the abuse Trump and his family have taken from those people on the other side and even from the “conservative” establishment is too much to ask.

It might be that our former first lady, who was an actual fashion model and spent four years banned from the covers of ladies’ magazines while walking disasters like Michelle Obama and — ahem — Dr. Jill Biden graced covers galore, would heartily agree.

McCann’s piece is worth a read in full. Hopefully it can be read in the spirit McCann offers it — namely that it’s no indictment of Trump’s presidency if the sense is the baton should be passed.

I myself am agnostic on the question. I don’t think it’s immaterial, obviously — the 2024 election will be a potential last stand for America as a constitutional republic, and so getting these things right on the Republican side is absolutely crucial to the future of the country. But as our readers know, my focus is more on the movement which must be built in order to revive the greatness of America and less on who sits atop that movement.

I’m happy with it being Trump. I’m ecstatic with it being DeSantis. And if I have a preference for the Florida governor, it isn’t so much for his substance (substantially, I don’t think there’s much difference between the two) as it is two things: DeSantis is of my generation and not a Baby boomer, and I’m of the opinion that America needs a new generation of leaders willing to embrace the dawn of a new political era, and secondly that DeSantis is a significantly smoother and less combative communicator without sacrificing a drop of principle.

Those are stylistic matters, of course. And I certainly won’t stupefy our readers by making the assertion that the media would treat Ron DeSantis any better than they treated Trump. They won’t. But what we’ve seen is their attempts to slander him to date have resulted in utter disaster, so much so that it seems like DeSantis’ press conferences in Florida have grown somewhat tamer of late. Nobody likes having their head handed to them repeatedly.

But perhaps McCann’s most important point is that Trump has changed the Republican Party and it isn’t going back to that 28-year engine of failure and decline that he tore down and replaced. His chasing the Bush Republican mob out of the GOP mainstream is decidedly the most substantial contribution to the American revival, and whatever great things he might do in a belated second term won’t have the long-term effect that his party reforms have. This fall’s midterm elections are already shaping up to feature a much different, much more populist, and more aggressive slate of Republican House and Senate candidates than we’ve seen before, and that signifies a major shift away from the “low-energy” style of GOP politics.

This topic is of special interest to your author, because in two weeks (June 21), my first political book, The Revivalist Manifesto, is due for release. Much of the book is spent discussing the fact that the brand of conservatism Team Biden, in its resounding idiocy, has dubbed “ultra-MAGA” in an effort to tie it to Trump and savage it as a cult of personality around him, has been around a lot longer than Trump has and is, in fact, bigger than Trump.

It was the Reagan Revolution. Then it was the army that conquered the House with Newt Gingrich at the helm in 1994. Then it was the Tea Party. Then MAGA with Trump. I’m calling it the revivalist movement going forward because while it picks up much from the old conservative agenda it does not seek to conserve what is already lost but rather to revive it.

It goes on offense, as Trump did, but it goes further. And it will continue beyond the presidential term that follows the 2024 election.

If Donald Trump wants to run in 2024, he’s earned the right to carry the party’s standard and, wiser to the ways of the Swamp, he would be a formidable president for his second term. Trump is the guy who was finally able to connect the GOP’s grassroots revivalists with the resources and fighting spirit to run and win, and that means a great deal.

But the future of America won’t be secure without a long string of revivalist presidencies — a generation’s worth. So whether Trump begins that string or it’s someone else is less important than building the movement which dominates this next era to come.

Because if there is no revivalist era in American politics just over the horizon, in the long run, it might not matter who comes in 2024, 2028, or beyond.

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics. He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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