The former president’s announcement comes amid headwinds due to his endorsed candidates’ poor performance in the midterms.
By Isaac Dektor, Editor-in-Chief
Former President Donald J. Trump announced his 2024 presidential campaign on Tuesday evening following an unexpectedly strong performance by democrats around the country.
Trump’s announcement comes on the heels of a mixed-bag of results for republicans. While some candidates endorsed by the former president did well, such as J.D. Vance in Ohio, others did poorly in red-leaning states, notably Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Hershel Walker in Georgia. Prominent conservative media figures such as Candace Owens, formerly friendly to Trump, distanced themselves as hopes for a red wave began to fizzle. The 45th president of the U.S. made his announcement at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
“In order to make America great and glorious again I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” said Trump.
As Trump-backed candidates fall to democrats in red-leaning states, analysts have speculated that Florida Governor Ron Desantis might challenge the former president in the GOP primary, which is just over a year away.
“In the aftermath of this, you've had a lot of what I would call the Republican classic; the old school Republican voices, turning around and saying let's turn the corner here away from this Trump period,” said Anthony O’Reagan, professor of political science at Valley College. “I think the question there for the Republican Party is, where do they go? Clearly Desantis is one of the big winners of the night last Tuesday. Clearly, he's got his eyes on, minimally, the nomination.”
The culturally combative Florida governor won Miami-Dade county, a democratic bastion within the state that has turned definitively red, with over 55 percent of the vote. Desantis lost the same county to then-democratic hopeful Andrew Gillum by 20 points in 2018.
Having been elected by an overwhelming margin, the 44-year-old governor has wind in his sails to potentially launch a 2024 presidential campaign. On the other hand, he might be hesitant to jump into the ring with Trump, who has already dubbed the young politician “Ron De-sanctimonious.”
“Typically you get one bite at the apple,” said O’Reagan. “Desantis could get hurt.”
Despite the risks associated with mounting a challenge against the man who, while standing next to Jeb Bush on live tv, said the former governor of Florida “needed his mommy to help him,” the GOP leadership roles are ripe for the picking. Many in the party, including Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, have stated that they are open to new candidates.
“A lot of the people who I think enabled him, they're gonna have to question if it was a very transactional relationship,” said O’Reagan. “The question now is, whenever you have a transactional relationship, what happens if that bargain is not so beneficial anymore.”