Questions for Trump, the GOP and America

This article represents the views of the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board.

Donald Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that he will seek a third bid for the presidency showed how far he and the nation have come since his first run in 2015. Florida Beach Club, various events that hold on to Trump, the Republican Party and the American electorate going into 2024.

For Trump. As the first major candidate to formally declare for the presidency, Trump took this opportunity to garner early media attention and prevent other Republicans from mounting a primary challenge. With a 30-point lead over potential Republican contenders in recent polls, this was a smart move for Trump’s position among his base, and enabled Trump to distance himself from former president twice indicted who has faced serious legal battles to become a tried and tested candidate for punishment. President Joe Biden in 2024. But how does Trump keep the joy of the movie we have already seen, especially the one that ended badly because of the blood in the Capitol? His speech on Tuesday contained the usual litany of propaganda — about sea level rise, a border wall, even the price of next week’s Thanksgiving turkey. But there was no passion along with the usual doom and gloom. Trump wants to win the presidency again, but is he willing to work for it? Can he renew his schedule or will it be important things about Hunter’s laptop and Hillary’s emails?

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For the party. Among Republicans, Trump’s question should be simple: What have you done for me lately? Answer: Not much. Opponents of the election who hit their stride on Trump lost key Senate and gubernatorial races in key battleground states in Nov. 8, thwarting the expected Republican midterm surge, keeping the Senate in Democratic hands and leaving House Republicans on the brink of a majority. Where does this leave the GOP in terms of setting the agenda between now and 2024? Are Republican leaders risking the anger of Trump voters by seeking a strong candidate behind the scenes? Or do they cave to Trump (as they always do) when it comes time to count? Are young Republicans, evangelicals, and the main losers in the MAGA movement rallying around a weakling who is using their power? What would Trump’s election mean for the control of races in Congress and the statehouse? And how could he put on a party as America diverged in the years to come?

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For Americans. This country’s elected officials from the White House to local school boards are battling the wildfires that Trump’s culture war has unleashed. The unwarranted claims of election fraud that Trump and his supporters have made have diminished America’s standing as a beacon of democracy and strengthened our foreign enemies. What is the effect on our national fabric by combining now with another statement by Trump, especially in this time of global economic pain, when differences are growing, doubts are still are spreading and Americans can’t agree on simple facts or the rule of law? Trump’s four years in office have shown how unique the presidency is in building public faith in government and public institutions. Do Americans feel safer, stronger, more united than since Trump came to the scene? Were tax policy wins or congressional votes out of reach for some Republicans? What could prevent him from continuing to enter politics in the military or the Department of Justice? Or from invalid options you lose?

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Trump’s announcement Tuesday is just the first step in America’s long road to choosing its next president. But it should make people – not the candidate himself – think about the implications of another season of this reality show, because we are still far from paying the price of the first bad events.

Articles is the official voice of the Tampa Bay Times. Members of the Editorial Board are Editor-in-Chief Graham Brink, Sherri Day, Sebastian Dortch, John Hill, Jim Verhulst and Chairman and CEO Conan Gallaty. Follow up @TBTimes_Opinions on Twitter for more opinionated content.


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