Could Trump Win Again?

'Wall Street Journal' editorial page says no, but not everybody is counting him out
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2021 9:50 AM CST
So Now What for Trump?
Former President Trump, in a 2019 photo.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Impeachment acquittal No. 2 is in the books, and former President Trump says his movement has just begun to fight. But what does that mean in practical terms for Trump himself? A look at some of the opinions in circulation:

  • The conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal thinks Trump is done as an elected official. Trump "may run again, but he won't win another national election," write the editors. He did, after all, lose the election before the events of Jan. 6, and his job approval rating never went above 50%. "He may go on a revenge campaign tour, or run as a third-party candidate, but all he will accomplish is to divide the center-right and elect Democrats." The country is moving on from Trump, say the editors, and they urge the GOP to do the same.

  • Yes, Trump will never be able to erase the "taint" of the riot and the second impeachment, writes Niall Stanage at the Hill. And for a normal politician, this would be a political death knell. "But Trump has never been a normal politician," he writes. "For all the abhorrence he sparks in his critics, he also speaks to parts of conservative America that other Republicans cannot reach. He can still channel the id of his base like no one else." The Trump base is very much alive and well, "and the former president is its standard-bearer for as long as he wants to be."
  • In the Washington Post, liberal columnist EJ Dionne sees the "end of Trumpism" in the weekend vote. "It's a sign of how far and how fast the ex-president has fallen that opponents of impeachment rationalized their votes by saying, as [Mitch] McConnell did, that Trump must still confront the 'criminal justice system' and 'civil litigation,'" he writes. "You're in trouble when your would-be friends are saying you should be prosecuted rather than impeached."
  • It's true that McConnell lashed out at Trump, but Charlie Sykes at the Bulwark agrees with Lindsey Graham that McConnell is an "outlier" in the GOP on that, as proven by the acquittal. "The institutional GOP is anxious to move on, but once again it lacks the will to actually do what it takes to stop Trump, while the party's base shows every sign of sticking with him."
  • As noted by Dionne, Trump does indeed have legal challenges ahead, and CNN rounds them up. They include his business dealings in New York, an investigation by Georgia officials into his pressure to overturn the state's results, and even possible criminal repercussions related to the Jan. 6 riot, if federal prosecutors conclude he played a role in inciting violence.
(More Donald Trump stories.)

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