Skelton: Trump running in 2024 is a dream for Democrats

Our long national nightmare…continues.

Apologies for the theft and perversion of President Ford’s famous 1974 line about finally ending the Nixon nightmare.

The Trump nightmare still worries us, spewing out the negativism of the egomaniac and haunting us with his division.

But it’s now more the Republican Party’s nightmare than the Democrats’.

For Democrats, the announcement of another presidential nomination by Donald Trump is a dream come true. He could be the weakest candidate the GOP could field in 2024.

And even Republicans are showing signs of being woken from their restless slumber by the midterm election, which fell well short of expectations and left Trump a three-time loser.

The first defeat came in 2018, when Democrats turned the GOP congressional nominees into the unpopular president and retook the US House of Representatives, taking 40 Republican seats nationwide, including seven in California.

The second blow came in 2020, when Trump lost the White House – becoming the first US president to lie ungraciously that the election was stolen. The GOP also lost the Senate.

Then came November 8, when many of the main Trump-backed candidates were rejected by voters, a shocking setback for a party that expected a red wave would put them in solid control of the US House of Representatives and Senate . She only won a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives. Democrats held the Senate.

And that’s despite optimal political conditions for a powerless Republican Party, including terrifying inflation, an uncontrolled border and an unpopular Democratic president.

As I wrote after the election, Democrats have two people to thank: Trump and Samuel A. Alito Jr. The Supreme Court Justice wrote the extreme ruling that killed the national abortion law and motivated millions of Democrats and independents to oppose the GOP agree.

Trump has cast an ugly brand on the GOP and its candidates with his despicable behavior, including whining and lying.

In California, there doesn’t seem to be much support among Republican professionals for another Trump candidacy. No one at California Republican Party headquarters even wanted to talk about him last week.

The party “does not endorse a presidential primary and will remain neutral,” spokeswoman Ellie Hockenbury said in a statement. “We would be fortunate to have one of the pre-eminent Republican leaders who might choose to run.”

Most pros want Trump to get lost on his golf course, but the core worshipers cheer him on and that’s what he craves. He’s addicted to attention.

I called some California Republican pros after Trump’s announcement speech, which lasted more than an hour last week.

Is the party ready to ditch the twice-impeachable president who is mired in legal troubles on multiple fronts?

“The professional class and the establishment is, but I don’t think the grassroots is,” said GOP adviser Mike Madrid, long a never-Trumper.

“The party cannot win with or without him. When he goes, there is a core group of the party that goes with him. He will not go away quietly. Anyone who thinks they’ll lose the nomination and just walk away wasn’t paying attention on January 6th. He’s gonna tear down the party. … They need its constituents.”

Madrid added: “The grassroots voters don’t care about winning. They care about justice.”

Former Republican state leader Ron Nehring, who was national spokesman for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, said, “The party performs best when it reflects positive, forward-looking Reagan optimism.”

“That got lost this year because too many candidates confused running for office with having a Twitter account. A campaign is not about provoking for its own sake. It’s about building a broader coalition.”

He added: “The Reagan formula of combining optimism and dignity with conservative solutions is the winning formula. We must move forward – beyond 2020 and 2022 – and return to the Reagan model.”

But Ronald Reagan’s are extremely rare. And there aren’t any out there that I’ve heard of.

Referring to Trump as the GOP’s frontrunner, Nehring said, “He’s no more guaranteed to be the Republican nominee than Jeb Bush was in 2016. The 2024 race is wide open.”

Republican adviser Rob Stutzman, another Never-Trumper, said: “Two dynamics appear to be creating fresh headwinds for Trump. First, he has proven to be a chronic loser. Republicans are tired of losing.

“Second, in [Florida Gov.] Ron DeSantis, for the first time there is an alternative to Trump that can attract MAGA voters, traditional Republicans and independents. He’s a winner who seems to be the scalpel that can pierce the boil that is Trump.”

Republican Rep. Suzette Valladares of Santa Clarita tweeted after Trump’s announcement: “I’ve seen this show before and it’s NO for me. The ugliness and toxicity must end. On all sides. We need a great unifier. someone young someone with empathy someone new.”

I called her.

“I know families who don’t talk to each other because politics is so ugly,” she said. “People are fed up with it. … It’s not about loving or hating Trump, and not necessarily about his politics. It’s just the people who want to get away from his division.”

Republican strategist Tim Rosales said, “Parties are bigger than a single person and they need to move on. That doesn’t mean anyone has to shed their conservative values. It’s a question of personality. Donald Trump is a negative lightning rod.

“Progress for the party going forward would be much better if he decided to focus on his golf game.”

There he could lie and change grades – and only be the nightmare of his playing partners. Skelton: Trump running in 2024 is a dream for Democrats

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