It is a line that former President Trump repeats at every one of his political rallies.
“In 2024, most importantly, we are going to take back our magnificent White House,” the former president proclaims.
On Tuesday night, Trump took a major step towards that goal when he announced his 2024 presidential campaign at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am announcing tonight my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said.
Trump, nearly two years since his 2020 presidential election defeat at the hands of President Biden, remains the most popular and influential politician in the GOP, the most ferocious grassroots fundraiser, and was the overwhelming leader in early 2024 GOP nomination polling.
However, his 2024 announcement, according to a host of Republican leaders and strategists, is not expected to clear the field of potential contenders for the GOP nomination. Additionally, it is no sure bet that Trump could defeat Biden if the two face-off in a 2024 rematch for the presidency.
Voices of discontent are growing inside the Republican Party as more insiders blame Trump for setbacks in the 2018 midterms (when the GOP lost the House majority), the 2020 election (when Republicans lost the White House and the Senate majority) and the 2022 midterms (when an expected red wave failed to materialize). Moreover, Trump’s standing among party leaders appears to be at its weakest point since the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
However, Trump has survived rocky times before and proved those who counted him down wrong. The latest public opinion polling indicates Trump remains the front-runner for the GOP nomination, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on the rise, and everyone else in the potential field of contenders — including former Vice President Mike Pence — in the single digits.
Private polling from the Club for Growth — a big spending conservative group once allied with Trump that appears to be cozying up to DeSantis — on the eve of the former president’s announcement suggested Trump trailing the popular conservative governor in hypothetical matchups in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to vote in the GOP presidential nominating calendar. Two other new partisan surveys, which also do not meet Fox News polling standards, indicate DeSantis ahead of Trump in possible primary showdowns.
Trump’s announcement comes as Republicans lick their wounds suffered in last week’s midterm election, as the Democrats performed better than expected and bucked historical headwinds that usually decimate the party in power. Biden, who enjoyed a slight political boost coming out of last week’s elections, has held off on making any formal 2024 declarations, but has said he intends to seek a second term in the White House.
“I have not made that formal decision, but it’s my intention. My intention to run again. And we have time to make that decision,” the president emphasized in an MSNBC interview last month.
Biden likes to tout that he is the only person who has beaten Trump, and aides say he remains confident that he is the Democrat best equipped to take down the former president once again.
However, public polling suggests a very close contest.
A Wall Street Journal poll conducted late last month indicated the president and former president tied at 46% in a 2024 showdown. An average of all the latest polling in a hypothetical Biden-Trump 2024 rematch, also conducted ahead of the midterms compiled by Real Clear Politics, shows a race that is basically deadlocked.
Public polling also indicates that both Biden and Trump remain unpopular with most Americans, and that a majority of the public does not want either of them to run in 2024.
“I’m not sure voters want a Trump-Biden rematch, and that goes for Republicans and Democrats,” veteran Republican pollster Neil Newhouse told Fox News. “I’m not convinced Republicans see Trump as their best candidate to win, and I think the same thing goes for the Democrats in terms of whether Biden is the best person to win.”
Newhouse, who was the lead pollster on presidential campaigns of 2008 GOP nominee John McCain and 2012 standard-bearer Mitt Romney, added that “I don’t think you should be treating this as a rejection of Trump because it’s not. It’s simply a sense that people are ready to move on. I don’t think an anti-Trump Republican can win the presidential primary.”
The pollster, along with others, suggests that a Biden-Trump rematch could spur a credible third-party campaign.
“I think that’s the recipe for a third-party run,” he argued. “If it’s a double negative election in 2024, if a strong third party candidate came through, you could see that person playing a disruptive force in the election.”