Some sycophants formerly stuck in Trump’s orbit are starting to turn on him, which has some of the never-Trumpers (Lincoln Project, etc.) excited that the tide may be turning against Trump ahead of what looks to be (at this point, anyway) his planned Tuesday announcement about a 2024 presidential candidacy.
However, The Atlantic‘s David A. Graham has a good piece up which says everyone should just cool their jets because Trump will not be out of the game until a substantial portion of his base turns on, or tires of, him. And that has not happened any previous time the GOP mainstream (or what passes for it these days) thought they could push Trump out:
One theory about the Republican Party and Trump is that if enough of its movers and shakers had turned on him simultaneously, they could have cast him out. But going back to the 2016 GOP primary, members of the establishment never liked or wanted him. They worried he couldn’t win, and they worried he didn’t agree with their core beliefs on issues such as trade and foreign policy. The problem was that voters did like Trump—although only a plurality in the primary—and didn’t like his rivals. One reason the establishment couldn’t effectively rally around one of his opponents is that Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, and the rest all had weaknesses that a unified media front couldn’t erase.
They tried, though. The high-water mark was the January 2016 “Against Trump” issue of National Review, the flagship movement magazine, which gathered a host of writers from across the right to try to stall the inevitable. It didn’t work. (Some of the contributors remained Never Trumpers, others embraced him, and a third group settled on anti-anti-Trumpism as a compromise.)
The collective-action theory got another test in October 2016, when The Washington Post published a recording of Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women. Many Republicans and conservative pundits abandoned him, but once it became clear that there was no alternative and that GOP voters were still on board, many of them quietly slunk back too.
This pattern has held over and over. After the white-supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017; after the 2018 Helsinki summit; after the attempted extortion of Ukraine; after Trump lost the 2020 election; and then again after the January 6 insurrection, swaths of conservatives prepared to make a dramatic break and then either changed their mind or held back when they realized that voters were still with Trump. After the election loss, Murdoch’s properties briefly soured on Trump, but when their competitors started to gain market share, Fox and friends had second thoughts.
I’m with the people who think Trump is going to announce he will run because that is the only possible way he has left to try and slow down all the investigations against him, his family and enablers.
Whether enough of his base has tired of him — the only metric that matters — will be a mystery until the first GOP presidential primaries.
Incidentally, Michael Tomasky of The New Republic has a piece up that says many of the same things the Atlantic piece says. You can find it here.