In 2019 the Never-Trumper Republicans were described as being “on life-support with no possibility of returning to the vitality it displayed in 2016”. Then in 2020, the tables began to turn. Groups such as the Lincoln Project produced endless reams of advertisements and articles which helped raise the Never Trumpers from the ashes and take revenge on the President. Never-Trumpers achieved a shift of 8% of white men from Republican in 2016 to Democrats in 2020 in a bid to convince the GOP to return to the George W Bush era of politics. But, don’t hold your breath; the Never-Trumpers may have won the battle in November, but they have not won the war. President Trump will remain a disruptive and chaotic force within the Republican Party and will prove more dangerous to Never-Trumpers as a campaigning ex-President than he was as President.
In November, Donald Trump won 72 million votes - 9 million more than he did in 2016. Despite four years of sleazy deals, impeachment, alleged sex tapes and levels of idiocy you wouldn’t even find in an episode of the ‘Thick of It’, Trump has kept his undying support from a growing section of the public. This gives the ex-president a stamping ground unseen with other one term presidents like Carter or Bush SR who faded away into the shadows. Rumors of Trump starting his own TV network or news network to replace ‘fake news’ with his “alternative facts” and conspiracy theories which could replace Fox News as the voice for right-wing opinion. His 88.5 million followers on Twitter gives him influence, he can call on his army of supporters to bully, harass and vote out any Republican that strays away from Trumpism. Trump’s following has even forced conservative outlets to delve into Trump’s delusional claim that the election was fraudulent.
Will Trump run in 2024? It depends which Trump is being referred to. Despite rumors, Donald Trump probably won’t run again, he will be seventy-eight and likely making billions of dollars from his TV network and merchandise and will be content with his lifelong platform on which he can rant and rave on everything from Iran to the Emmys. However, we could see a Trump dynasty appear to continue the legacy. It is reported by Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman that Ivanka Trump “has political ambitions, no question about it”, she and her husband have moved away from New York to Florida, otherwise known as MAGA country suggesting she is building a political base for the future, whether that is for senator, governor or even president.
It seems Never-Trumpers still have to fight against Trumpism and should not become complacent when he leaves office on the 20th January. It is obvious now that Trump will continue to scream, shout and stomp his feet in toddler-like tantrums and his supporters will listen. It is the role of Republican politicians to stand their ground against the ex-president and we are starting to see this with Representative Mitchell for Michigan resigning in protest of Trump’s calls of election fraud. But many Republican representatives were elected on the coattails of Trump and will hold allegiance to their leader.
Hopefully this article is incorrect, and we'll see Trump retire to a golf pitch quietly swearing to himself, but I have a feeling we won’t be so lucky.
Haydn studies Politics and History at Loughborough University and is interested in American Politics and political theory. He Tweets @Haydn_mill.
Image credit: (Donald Trump /Shutterstock)