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Inside politics

Don’t write off Trump just yet

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The narrative in the American media is set, says Damon Linker in his Substack newsletter: Donald Trump is toast, Ron DeSantis will be the Republican presidential nominee in 2024. Sorry, but I don’t buy it. When Trump first led the polls back in 2015, I made the simple argument that he would win the nomination as long as he remained ahead. That provoked “derision” among other pundits, but obviously turned out to be correct. The same applies today. Yes, some state polls have DeSantis ahead. But the most recent national poll of Republican voters has Trump at 47%, 14 points ahead of his rival. Until that changes, he is the clear frontrunner.

Of course, commentators remain convinced Trump’s support will “collapse” any moment now. But why? There’s no evidence yet that Republican voters blame him for the party’s poor performance in the midterms. If he gets indicted, it’ll probably “supercharge his populist appeal”. And those mean editorials and cartoons in The Wall Street Journal and New York Post won’t move the dial one bit. Equally delusional is the idea that Trump would struggle to win the presidential election. People forget that he actually increased his vote tally by 11 million between 2016 and 2020, coming within 45,000 votes (scattered across Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin) of staying in the White House. “That’s not a portrait of a guy who’s a sure loser in 2024. It’s the portrait of a guy who could well pull off another narrow win.” Count him out at your peril.