Former President Trump is surging in 2024 nomination polls, thanks to the outrageous and politically motivated targeting by Left-wing District Attorney of Manhattan. Rank-and-file Republican voters are defending the leader of their tribe, in what is a highly tribal time. The right sorts of enemies are valuable political commodities, more than eclipsing accomplishments and policies, and overwhelming any number of vulnerabilities. Polls suggest that most Americans believe that the indictment against Trump may be politically influenced, even though they support it.
— RedWave (@RedWaveBreaking) April 4, 2023
Conservatives of nearly all stripes see this indictment as an abusive weaponization of the criminal justice system for political reasons, and they are right. The spectacle is being used to build anticipation and to create an opportunity for maximum attention. Trump wants a highly visible arraignment, complete with the most dramatic and extended perp walk conceivable. They have choreographed it exceedingly well, with the campaign’s supporters flag-waving and cheering during the motorcade’s arrival.
"A law enforcement official tells Rolling Stone that the former president was offered a chance to surrender quietly and be arraigned over Zoom. Instead, Trump opted for a midday, high-profile booking at the Manhattan courthouse." https://t.co/kPOg9FOyVn via @RollingStone
— Errol Louis (@errollouis) April 3, 2023
Polls done for the White House in recent weeks found Biden in a more favorable position against Trump than he finished in 2020 in all of the closest battleground states. The same polling showed Biden faring less well against Ron DeSantis.
— Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein) April 1, 2023
Dem PAC launching an opposition project aimed exclusively at DeSantis to try to boost Trump and recommending reporters use it for their stories, which you can confidently assume they will. https://t.co/HM4okzJsSq
— AG (@AGHamilton29) April 3, 2023
This is also going to be updated in real time by my team! If you’re a reporter, I’d definitely bookmark this site:https://t.co/EXjwOsyHRr
— Julie Alderman Boudreau (@juliealdermanb) April 3, 2023
🚨Ron DeSantis says there is no substitute for victory: “The winners make policy, the losers go home” pic.twitter.com/CevukjHoxS
— West Coast Politics (@Coast_Politics) April 1, 2023
If Donald Trump wants to win the presidential nomination again, his first step is to turn the proposition of supporting him into a fundamental test of tribal loyalty. Pay no heed to the litany of electability weaknesses, the variety of baggage concerns, or the desire of the opposition to see him fail. If the Trump campaign can establish this as the central decision-making criterion for center-right voters, he will be the undeniable frontrunner. If they succeed, then they will fight another day and convince the still skeptical general electorate that he deserves a second term, having been shown the door in 2020. While it is an uphill battle, there is a genuine, if slim, probability that he could win the White House again.
However, many Republican-leaning voters are not convinced that Trump gives his political coalition the best chance to do so. There appear to be an emerging view and strategy from the Democratic party that they fear Ron DeSantis more than Trump. This is despite the fact that many media outlets eagerly indulge in the target practice of DeSantis due to Democratic encouragement to do so. Whether GOP voters will buy into what DeSantis is selling, particularly in contrast to Trump, remains to be seen.
In the end, the key message from DeSantis is that there is simply no substitute for victory, and this will likely be the central theme of his campaign. However, whether or not his message resonates with GOP voters is uncertain. The choice before the American people is how to navigate this highly tribal time and choose the candidate that can best lead them to success.