The Irish Times view on Donald Trump’s decision to run again

Calls are growing for a post-Trump Republican party, but the race for the party’s nomination is only getting under way

The widely predicted early declaration for 2024 from Donald Trump came as no surprise and was heralded, as the New York Times put it, “with the same ugliness, lies and chaos as the last”. Trump’s move was inspired, by all accounts, as much by a desire to shield himself from the onslaught of legal cases and inquiries he faces – from mishandling classified documents, to insurrection, and tax fraud – for which he needs a lot of money and political coverage.

Trump has cultivated an aura of personal invincibility, of being a winner, and the idea that he is vital to his party’s chances of success. It plays well with his Republican base, but is largely mythical.

He is one of only 10 presidents who unsuccessfully sought a second term, joining the ranks of William Howard Taft, Martin Van Buren and George HW Bush. His descent was far worse than Taft’s in that he took his party down with him, losing the presidency, the House and the Senate all in a four-year period.

And Trump did not win a majority in either of his presidential elections, even the one he won; he was never anywhere close to 50 per cent in the RealClearPolitics polling averages in either of his races, and his average job approval rating during his presidency never approached 50 per cent, either. His support in the midterm elections appears to have scuppered a number of candidates.


A few months ago it was presumed that the party nomination was his for the taking. Not so any more. Calls for a “post-Trump” Republican Party have come from all sides of the party and right-wing media, including Rupert Murdoch’s titles, for days now. His former vice president Mike Pence is determined to run, as is erstwhile supporter, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, and his former secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

The polls suggest Trump is already in trouble. But it is early days yet. If he does make it through the primaries to the national vote that will become a vote on the future of American democracy itself. One that will be watched anxiously across the world.