By Myra Adams – RealClearPolitics contributor

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from RealClearPolitics – Sept 25, 2021

If the 2022 midterm elections had an official soundtrack, it would be the ominous music from the 1975 movie “Jaws.”  

Although the election is 13 months away, mounting intensity feels like great white sharks are circling our national boat with a convergence of two powerful, never-before-seen political forces. Both forces are hangovers from the 2020 election with the potential to make the 2022 midterms the most tumultuous in modern American history.

The first force is the growing lack of voter confidence in our election system. Second, is the looming presence of Donald J. Trump, a one-term, twice-impeached human lightning rod who is still the de facto leader of the Republican Party. No former president in history has ever injected himself into the midterms to this degree, and certainly not in the primary process.

Curious about Matt Schlapp’s take on these two forces, I reached out to the high-profile chairman of the American Conservative Union. An ardent Trump supporter, Schlapp is one of the nation’s most influential non-office-holding Republicans and, as host of CPAC, he leads a mighty MAGA army.

It’s clear that he, like the titular head of that army, has not really accepted the 2020 voting results.

“Having a big question mark over a presidential election is bad for democracy,” Schlapp said. “We should know who won. And one of the ways we will know is if we all follow the same rules. We have to get back to voting the way we did in 2016. Will the Democrats try to pull the same shenanigans next year? I do know this: The American people are outraged over the Democratic agenda, and if we vote fairly, they are going to get shellacked.”

There is a history of new presidents getting “shellacked” in their first midterm election, with their party losing control of the House, Senate, or both. In 2010, President Obama used “shellacking” to describe his first, monumental midterm defeat when Republicans won control of the House with a net gain of 63 seats — a number not achieved since 1948. Surely, then-Vice President Joe Biden remembers that repudiation.

Perhaps the most stunning midterm defeat was Bill Clinton’s in 1994. Forty-two years had elapsed since Republicans had won complete control of Capitol Hill. The architect of that remarkable victory netting the GOP 54 House and eight Senate seats was Newt Gingrich, who ascended to speaker of the House.

I emailed Gingrich, asking if 2022 had the makings of a GOP victory on par with 1994.

“If Republicans can discipline themselves to consistently describe Democrats as ‘big government socialists’ and the $3.5 trillion spending and $3 trillion tax increase as big government socialist bills — it is, after all, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ bill — I think we can win a massive victory in both the House and Senate next year,” Gingrich answered.

I also asked Schlapp to weigh in on the prospects of a 1994-scale victory. He happily took the bait.

“Guaranteed!” said. “Unless we don’t have the courage to stand up against the cheating. If not, then it will be more mixed. If the left understands that we are going to go to the barricades to make sure that the cheating is exposed, then I think their agenda will be rejected.”

Then, after outlining Biden’s liberal-left agenda, Schlapp declared, “When people understand the policies of socialism, they reject it in this country.”

Regarding Trump, the former president’s engagement in the midterms is a force to be reckoned with for both parties. I asked Schlapp if Trump’s involvement was a winning  strategy for the GOP.

“I think President Trump is doing the right thing to spend his time and money making sure that we win as many Senate and congressional seats as possible, and I applaud him for doing that,” he replied. “In the past, he has been accused of not spending as much time on these midterm races. Now he is committed to doing so, and he will help us win lots of seats with those efforts.”

Then I asked Schlapp, “If the Republicans do well in 2022, will Trump take credit? And if they don’t, will Trump say it’s because his name was not on the ballot? With either outcome, is he going to see it his way?” Schlapp parried that point.

“If the Republicans, with so much promise, end up doing poorly in the midterms, I think it would probably have a negative impact on President Trump’s thinking about running [in 2024],” he said. “The Democrats have never embraced this type of radical policy agenda. And if that turns out to be popular with the American people, I think it’s going to be very discouraging for Republicans. I don’t think the chances of that are very high, but I am willing to entertain the premise.”

However, if the 2022 midterms go well for the GOP and Trump decides to run, I asked Schlapp if he thought Trump would have primary opposition or be crowned the nominee without a fight. He told me:

“I think Trump will have primary opponents, a lane of never-Trump, and don’t know how many there will be. President Trump should want these opponents because he is much better in the ring when competing against somebody. I don’t know if I can see him just getting coronated. I don’t know how he would react to that — he is so used to fighting! But Trump will be a better candidate if he has to take someone on immediately. I believe primaries can be a good thing.”

Then Schlapp proclaimed, “If Trump runs again, he is essentially the incumbent.”

In the meantime, cue the ominous shark-circling-in-the-water music. With voter’s lack of trust in our election system, Trump at center stage, Democrats in disarray, redistricting court battles looming, Biden failing fast, and all the collective pandemic, economic, and cultural angst in our nation, I’m reminded of the most famous line from “Jaws” as the 2022 midterm approaches: “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”


By Myra Adams – RealClearPolitics contributor

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from RealClearPolitics – Sept. 10, 2021

No incumbent or former U.S. president had ever inspired fan clubs until Donald J. Trump came along. Faithful MAGA voters motivated by a combination of the former president’s policies, his in-your-face attitude, and personal magnetism banded together in his name and formed numerous “Trump clubs”— most notably in Florida.

“Trump brought with him new energy and new people — many completely distrusted the established Republican hierarchy,” explains early Trump associate and supporter Roger Stone. “That distrust led to the birth of Trump clubs from the Georgia state line to the tip of Key West. And currently, in virtually every Florida county, the Trump club is larger, more inclusive, active, and more enthusiastic than the local Republican Party.”

Sprinkled across the nation and known by various names, Trump clubs operate independently and are not affiliated with the GOP. However, the vast majority of participants are Republicans. The nation’s largest and most influential Trump club — officially named “Club 45 USA” — is based in Florida’s Palm Beach County, home of the 45th president, who resides at the Mar-a-Lago Club.

Club 45’s website boasts of “meeting attendance often exceeding 2,000 people.” The group was founded in 2018 by Joe Budd, who also serves as president. Budd’s four-member board includes three top-tier Palm Beach County Republican Party power brokers who, in either 2016 or 2020, were county chairs or co-chairs for the Trump campaign.

Budd himself holds an elected GOP title as Palm Beach County state committeeman and is on the board of the Republican Party of Florida. Thus, although not directly affiliated, Club 45 and the GOP are closely aligned. Via email, when I asked Budd if his flourishing organization has tapped into a movement and, if so, what is that movement, he replied, “The Trump agenda of Making and Keeping America Great!”

Tangential to that answer is Budd’s relationship with the former president. I inquired if he knows what Trump thinks of the club. Via email, Budd replied: “The President called me and personally congratulated me for the success of the club. I’ve spoken to him about it a couple of times.”

I expected Budd’s answer, having seen Facebook postings by his board members for the past four years. Whenever Air Force One landed at Palm Beach airport, Budd’s high command greeted the president “on the tarmac and drove in the motorcade,” he confirmed.  When I asked if he considers Club 45 USA “a Trump fan club,” he said, simply, “Yes.”

A political insider who has attended club meetings but asked to remain anonymous shared his impressions: “I got a sense that attendees felt they were in a safe space having so many like-minded people around them. They reminded me of fans at a sports event rallying around the home team. No matter what anyone said from the lectern was followed by applause and cheers.”

And now, Club 45 USA’s fall season begins. This week I received an email touting the speakers at the next three events — all of whom are Fox News Channel regulars. The Sept. 13 gathering features Bernie Kerik, the New York City police commissioner when the 9/11 attacks occurred. October brings the “King of CPAC” Matt Schlapp and wife Mercedes, who was a Trump campaign official and former White House director of strategic communications. November’s guest is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (who told me, “I do not know anything about them except they seem to draw a nice crowd”).

Testifying to the club’s clout are past speakers, The roster includes A-list Trump World stars such as Rep. Jim Jordan, Corey Lewandowski, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, and Fox News’ Dan Bongino, whose appearance “sold out in 15 minutes,” exclaimed Budd. His list continued with David Bossie, Roger Stone (three times), Sebastian Gorka, James O’Keefe, Florida Reps. Michael Waltz and Byron Donalds. When Ron DeSantis was a gubernatorial candidate in 2018, he addressed the group. 

Speaking of the Florida governor, his name was mentioned when I posed this question to Budd: “Is the club set up to continue after Trump leaves the political scene? In other words, will Trumpism outlast Trump?” He replied, “Yes, currently, our mission is the [2022] re-election of Gov. DeSantis.”

Then, Budd’s comments got immensely interesting. First, I inquired if his regular attendees want Trump to run again in 2024. He answered, “I think a lot of our attendees would love to see President Trump run again.” No surprise there, based on polling. Then I asked, “Do you think Trump and DeSantis might clash for the GOP nomination in 2024?” – and I was shocked by Budd’s honest, unfiltered answer:

“No. I personally don’t think the President will run again. I believe the President will be satisfied with his role as kingmaker and throw his full support behind Governor DeSantis. If it weren’t for President Trump, DeSantis would have had a very hard time defeating Adam Putnam [in the gubernatorial primary]. The polls completely flipped in DeSantis’s favor when the endorsement came out. President Trump knows by experience who the swamp people are, and he knows Governor DeSantis isn’t one of them. The President can rest comfortably knowing DeSantis will fully represent the Trump agenda.”

Budd’s answer came the day after this Politico headline appeared: “Trump builds ‘turnkey’ campaign operation for 2024.” The report elaborated that the former president “is signaling a heightened interest in a rematch with Joe Biden — and laying the necessary groundwork.”

Some intense future conversations may be in store between Budd and the former president, who the club leader thinks will speak to his club “this winter season” since “his advance team has scouted our venue at least twice.” 

Surely that meeting will sell out instantly, beating Bongino’s 15-minute record. However, Budd’s belief that “Trump will be satisfied with his role as kingmaker” contradicts Trump’s well-established nature of never taking a backseat to anyone.

But if DeSantis ascends, the club logo would likely have to change. Trump’s face appears within a shield framed by a flag motif with “Club 45 USA” underneath and “MAGA” at the bottom. Budd’s updated logo might read “Club 47 USA.”

In the leader’s opinion, DeSantis may “fully represent the Trump agenda,” but the Trump club’s banner-waving, red-hat-wearing fans who attend each month to hoop and holler in a “safe space” with “like-minded people” know there is only one true MAGA-man.


By Myra Adams – The Hill contributor

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from The Hill – Sept. 1, 2021

As the Biden administration falters, it is prime time for former President Trump  to rally the MAGA-faithful contrasting Biden’s “weakness” with Trump’s “strength.” The Hill reported that Trump is planning rallies in Georgia and Iowa. Both events will offer Trump a boisterous platform to repeat his nearly daily calls for Biden to resign, prompted by the Afghanistan debacle.

Symbolically a Trump rally in Iowa – where the nation’s first 2024 nominating contest is held – helps dispel the notion that the former president is only flirting with a second attempt to win his second term in order to stay relevant. More evidence: Trump’s Save America PAC recently hired two Iowa-based political consultants. 

But is Trump being realistic about 2024? The answer is yes, based on what an elderly Trump supporter told me last week that could be a representative feeling: “I have never feared for my country more than I do now. Bring back Trump!”

Undoubtedly his rallies will reinforce the current Republican Party branding message repeated hourly in the  conservative media bubble: Biden is in mental decline. He can’t handle multiple crises and has lost situational control. Opinion is truth for loyal viewers and readers who feed off that circular media diet, where distinguishing truth from spin is nearly impossible. (A statement that applies equally to the left.)

Although the former president appears ready to lead the Republican Party to a 2024 victory, he lacks a majority of base support and could tear the party apart. Let’s examine some recent polling data supporting that fear.

In July, Tony Fabrizio (Trump’s 2016 campaign pollster) surveyed 800 registered Republicans, asking who they would vote for if the GOP presidential primary were held today. The results of this normally meaningless way-to-early question provided a revealing snapshot of future party leadership.

As expected, two names thoroughly dominated: Trump won 47 percent, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis earned 19 percent. Interestingly, the 13 percent who were “undecided” exceeded the 8 percent who chose former Vice President Mike Pence and the paltry 3 percent supporting Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) attracted just 2 percent, but double the 1 percent earned by Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)

With Trump stealing much of the thunder from DeSantis, the poll does not reflect base voters’ high expectations and enthusiasm for the 43-year-old governor, a rising national star.

Never in my decades of Republican Party involvement have I seen an officeholder so early in the presidential cycle elicit such unified hope for the party’s future. DeSantis’s “it factor” reminds me of the early hope and change that young Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) inspired among Democrats.

Fabrizio’s poll captures some of DeSantis’s popularity. Without Trump on the list, he wins 39 percent of GOP voters, walloping Pence at 15 percent, who is eclipsed by 20 percent “undecided.”

Most significant is how the Fox News Channel seems to have anointed DeSantis as Trump’s heir apparent while reducing the former president’s screentime.

Given the combined 66 percent of GOP voters who chose either Trump or DeSantis in Fabrizio’s poll, there is a strong assumption that one of these two Florida men will win the Republican presidential nomination. Then again, 2024 is three years away and might as well be three centuries away because anything can happen to change the political landscape. DeSantis in particular runs the risk of peaking too early.

That said, from a GOP base perspective, even if DeSantis lost his 2022 gubernatorial reelection, he might not lose much 2024 national momentum. That’s because DeSantis would have more time to spend on the presidential primary and general election trails without concurrently having to run the pesky, unruly state of Florida.

Such a loss assessment is plausible after a recent poll showed DeSantis in a statistical deadheat with Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), a former Republican governor who first must win his Democratic primary.

Ultimately, DeSantis has the fighting personality and tough-guy image that Republican voters love about Trump. A slogan on his 2022 campaign merchandise reads, “DeSantis — “Keep Florida Free.” For 2024 that could change to “DeSantis — Keep America Free.” 

But America, DeSantis and the Republican Party are not free of Trump. A loyal GOP Trump voter from Georgia recently told me, “I wish Trump would get out of the way for DeSantis.”

More than half of GOP base voters believe that sentiment reflects the party’s past, present and future.

Myra Adams writes about politics and religion for numerous publications. She is a RealClearPolitics contributor and served on the creative team of two GOP presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams


By Myra Adams – The Hill contributor

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from The Hill – Aug. 20, 2021

Team Trump never rests because they know money never sleeps, even at 3:59 p.m. on a lazy Saturday in mid-August — not exactly primetime for fundraising email blasts.

Nonetheless, that was when I received an urgent appeal from Donald Trump Jr. under the official “Save America — President Donald J. Trump” logo. My political antenna says Trump uses this logo subliminally so ardent followers will think they can wish back President Trump’s “rightful” title stolen by Democrats.

But now, all Junior wants is cash. He wrote, “YOU were identified as one of my father’s TOP supporters” and “Having enough cash on hand is essential to SAVING AMERICA from Joe Biden and his liberal cronies, which is why I’ve convinced my father to EXTEND your PERSONAL 400%-IMPACT OFFER FOR 1 MORE HOUR.”

For the record, I have never donated to Trump and publicly “renounced” my long-time Republican Party membership after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Then on Sunday at 3:00 p.m., the former president invaded my inbox with the faux president title logo. Trump complained how “partners in the Fake News media and Big Tech companies are working overtime to SILENCE me. Your support could not be more important, so I’ve decided to REACTIVATE your PERSONAL 400%-IMPACT OFFER.”

One minute later, on Sunday at 3:01 p.m., an email arrived with a critical subject-line question: “Do you remember when we caught the Democrats, red-handed, spying on my campaign?” The question demanded a “yes” or “no” answer and warned, “I’ll look for your response in 5 MINUTES.” At the bottom was a stern-looking photo titled “Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States.” Seriously, Trump’s demanding tone could scare seniors into donating.

Weekend over, Trump’s Monday afternoon email proclaimed, “I’ve activated a 300%-IMPACT on ALL gifts made towards the Official Trump Rally Fund.” 

His message was the perfect opportunity to support more COVID super-spreader events with their “300%- IMPACT” on local hospitals.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Save America emails made history with Trump the first former president to call for his successor’s resignation in a fundraising blast, which read: “What Joe Biden has done with Afghanistan will go down as one of the greatest defeats in history. HE MUST RESIGN.”

And what do all these “Save America” email blasts have in common? The absence of two words — “former president.” Although the former presidents’ club is more exclusive than Mar-a-Lago, “former” signifies the past and sounds final. Thus, the word is damaging to Trump’s psyche. Worse, “former” is detrimental to fundraising hinged on future hopes that “President Donald J. Trump” can “Save America” by running and winning in 2024 — or by being reinstated.

The latter is not a joke. According to a QAnon conspiracy theory, reinstatement, believed by 30 percent of Republican voters according to one poll, was supposed to have happened on Aug.13 with the Dept. of Homeland Security on high alert.

Undoubtedly, Trump’s emails are too frequent and corny with gimmicks promoting worthless Trump credit cards resembling American Express. Still, the former president deserves credit for his effective, perpetual money machine.

How effective? On July 31, a headline in The Hill read, “Trump helps raise $56 million in first six months of 2021.”  

Money is also raised from DonaldJTrump.com with the headline, “Together, we are rebuilding our nation.” The words appear over a somber “don’t-mess-with-me” Trump face, and fans can support rebuilding by purchasing MAGA/Trump merchandise. But the meat on the site are Trump’s daily news statements.

After banishment from Twitter and Facebook, the former president’s often outrageous outbursts are tweeted by journalists and sometimes widely reported.

Trump utilizes his statement content to test the waters for future fundraising blasts, such as last Sunday night when he first issued his statement advocating that Biden “resign in disgrace.” Then, in typical Trumpian fashion, he concluded: “It [resigning] shouldn’t be a big deal, because he [Biden] wasn’t elected legitimately in the first place!”

There are two kinds of Trump messages. First, ICYMI (in case you missed it), when he links to favorable news reports or op-eds about him. Second, are statements described by four R-words:

Reacting: To a news event with the overtone, “If I were president, that would not have happened” or outright stating that sentiment as a fact.  

Revenge: Trump endorses a candidate running against an officeholder who did not support the “Big Lie” or stand with him after Jan. 6 or who voted for impeachment. With Trump, an elected official is either with him or against him; there is never any middle ground.

Railing: Against some aspect of the government, be it an officeholder, committee, legislation, Cabinet department, agency, policy or entire branch of government. Then it repeats “If I were president….” either outright or inferred.

Reminders: He won the election, but it was stolen. Trump can’t stop reminding everyone of this “fact.” For example, on Aug.16, after railing against the events in Afghanistan, he announced: “The corrupt Presidential Election of 2020 got us here. Never would have happened if I were President!” And again, on Aug. 17, he wrote that Biden was “illegitimately elected and brought great shame, in many ways, to our Country!”

The overarching analysis is that Donald Trump has no specific responsibility and is not beholden to anyone. Therefore, he is free to “lead” Republicans, flirt with 2024, raise millions and repeat “If I were president…” from the backbench without any repercussions.

Trump’s Aug.13  statement, issued on what was supposed to be “reinstatement day,” did not mention the word, but read: “Tragic mess in Afghanistan, a completely open and broken Border, Crime at record levels, oil prices through the roof, inflation rising, and taken advantage of by the entire world—DO YOU MISS ME YET?”

But how can we miss you if you won’t go away?

Myra Adams writes about politics and religion for numerous publications. She is a RealClearPolitics contributor and served on the creative team of GOP presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams.


By Myra Adams – RealClearPolitics Contributor

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from RealClearPolitics -Aug. 5, 2021

File this discussion under “Zany 40-second political ad/opposition mind-games.” That is an apt description of a web ad recently reported by Axios under the headline “ ‘Ron’s coming for you’: New ad pits DeSantis against Trump for donor dollars.”

The ad’s snarky female narrator scoffs at and demeans the former president. He is called a “loser,” “old news,” “weak,” and “pathetic” as the narrator asserts that Donald Trump is declining while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is rising — and taking Trump’s donors in the process.

Indeed, DeSantis is widely considered a GOP rising star. Republicans believe he will cruise to reelection in 2022 and is a top-tier contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. But, accusations that the governor is “taking” Trump’s donors are false, since both men have recently reported robust fundraising.

And while it is plausible that this taunting ad might incite a Trump tirade behind closed doors, its main objective is “to end Ron DeSantis’s political career” — according to Daniel Uhlfelder, the man behind the spot in a call this week with RealClearPolitics.

Uhlfelder is the controversial Florida attorney who founded Remove Ron, the political committee that financed the ad. Uhlfelder is controversial because in the spring of 2020, he made national headlines costumed as the “Grim Reaper” amid the first COVID-19 surge (more on that below).

Uhlfelder stated that since his organization started in February, “we have received $250,000 in donations from over 7,000 small contributors who keep giving.” He also said that Remove Ron has raised approximately $11,000 since its new ad was released on July 28, an amount that is “increasing daily.” The ad has nearly 67,000 views on Twitter with the message, “Donald Trump can’t stand this ad, so retweet it and ruin his day.”

Here is the provocative script:

“We tried to warn you  DON-ALD.

Ron’s coming for you  and now he’s taking your donors.

They’ve given millions more to Ron than you  DON-ALD

It’s because they know you are weak, old news, pathetic. It’s clear they don’t want to give to losers like you  DON-ALD.

How will you compete with Ron in 2024 if he wins in 2022?

He has your supporters, your merch, and your donors.

You’d better stop Ron   DON-ALD    before he stops you.”

When Uhlfelder and I discussed the strategy behind the ad, he asked, “Who is the one person on the planet who can take down DeSantis?” Uhlfelder believes the answer is Trump, who “got Ron where he is, and now Ron appears to be eclipsing Trump.” Uhlfelder explained the “ad’s purpose is clear” — to facilitate a growing divide between the two, hoping that both will implode since “either of them will damage the country.”

It’s no surprise that the Remove Ron donation platform is ActBlue  — the Democrats’ comprehensive grass-roots donor site. (The success of ActBlue prompted the Republican National Committee to launch “WinRed” in 2019.)

With the 2022 gubernatorial election centuries away in political time, Uhlfelder says his organization is “building infrastructure for its message” He adds that “our approach is both traditional and creative” — emphasis on “creative” given Uhlfelder’s flair for theatrics. As alluded to earlier, he donned a black-hooded Grim Reaper costume and walked Florida beaches when Gov. DeSantis refused to close them during the initial pandemic outbreak. Several national broadcast networks gave him publicity that he later parlayed into Remove Ron.

(Over a year later, Uhlfelder is dealing with “Grim Reaper” legal repercussions. A June Tallahassee Democrat headline read: “Judge tries to untangle case of ‘Grim Reaper’ lawyer accused of ‘unprofessional conduct.’ ”)

In February, Uhlfelder goaded the 2021 CPAC gathering in Orlando by paying for an airplane banner message proclaiming, “Welcome Insurrectionists!” (as reported by Mediaite). And in May, local television news reported that Uhlfelder again hired a plane to fly a banner, this time over an Orlando federal courthouse with the message “Tick Tock Matt Gaetz” — insinuating that the congressman would soon be charged with sex trafficking of a minor. As of this writing, Gaetz has not been charged.

With Uhlfelder’s “Grim Reaper” days behind him, his Trump/DeSantis ad campaign is keeping him and Remove Ron in the news. Four ads are linked to on the organization’s website, including the one referenced above and another released on July 1 when Trump held a rally in Sarasota.

Uhlfelder proudly said that “in only six months, the success of Remove Ron shows there is a movement of interested and concerned voters around the country” because “the Florida gubernatorial race will be the premier election of 2022, not just for Florida, but for the future of the nation.” 

Uhlfelder is convinced that DeSantis will lose, especially with his recent COVID response amid rising case numbers. He notes that “Trump winning Florida in 2020 does not mean that DeSantis will win in 2022.” Later, Uhlfelder sent me a new poll showing DeSantis’s reelection prospects could be in trouble given declining job approval ratings.

Uhlfelder circled back to Trump and predicted a clash: “Trump is motivated by power and money. DeSantis infringes upon both, and Trump has no loyalty to DeSantis.”

I asked Roger Stone to weigh in on Uhlfelder’s efforts since Stone is an expert on Trump and politics in Florida — his adopted home state. Stone replied:

“Donald Trump’s dominance of the Republican Party at the grassroots level is both overwhelming and complete. This ham-handed effort to foment turmoil between former President Trump and Gov. DeSantis is both obvious and transparent. In truth, DeSantis cannot succeed in moving to a national leadership position in the party without the support of President Trump. And I believe that he is smart enough to know that. President Trump has raised over $100 million since leaving the White House. I seriously doubt if he is concerned about DeSantis encroaching on his fundraising capability. The bottom line on the ad: too clever by half.”

Finally, with COVID raging in Florida and DeSantis resisting mask mandates in his commitment “to keep Florida free,” I asked Uhlfelder if he is itching to don his Grim Reaper costume in the Florida summer heat to keep the “heat” on DeSantis.

“I can’t because the costume is hanging at the History Miami Museum,” he said. “They called and asked if I would donate it, so I did.”

Uhlfelder’s efforts may not impact the results of Florida’s gubernatorial election next year or who wins the GOP nomination in 2024. However, he represents today’s grassroots “anything goes” politics-as-entertainment, playing on a vast Florida stage and capturing the attention of local and national media.

Myra Adams is a media producer and writer with numerous national credits.


By Myra Adams – The Hill contributor

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from The Hill on July 29, 2021

Conventional wisdom among Florida Republicans (and party loyalists across the nation) holds that Gov. Ron DeSantis will cruise to reelection on Nov. 8, 2022. Then with mission accomplished, he will ascend to the virtual 2024 presidential nomination podium a step below former President Trump, the GOP’s strongman and undisputed leader.

More conventional wisdom has Trump running again “provided he is in good health,” reportedly what he told associates back in May. If Trump bows out, DeSantis will be positioned to win the GOP’s “gold medal.”

But conventional wisdom 16 months before Election Day is often proven wrong. Even more so in a volatile swing state such as Florida, where anything can and does happen. Although it is unlikely that DeSantis will lose reelection, it is well within the realm of plausibility. Moreover, it is not hyperbole to state that there has never been a modern gubernatorial reelection with such far-reaching national consequences.

Therefore, let’s explore some variables, circumstances, election data, prevailing political winds, wild cards and unique “category five” Florida factors that could derail the current trajectory of this 42-year-old rising star often called “America’s governor” by Republicans across the land.

Mirroring Trump, DeSantis’s high national media profile among the GOP base was cultivated by frequent primetime appearances on Fox News’s most popular shows. Those appearances are also why a blinking neon target is glued to the governor’s back. Thus, when the need arose to chronicle and respond to attacks, a “DeSantis Derangement Syndrome”-named Twitter account was started and reported by Fox News.

DeSantis syndrome is expected and somewhat relished by the always-fighting governor, representing the future post-Trump Republican Party whenever Trump is dethroned, willingly steps down or passes away.

Well-established as a Trump acolyte in GOP circles, DeSantis is “Trump without the baggage.” With their futures linked together, Trump recently boasted that in 2018 when DeSantis “came out as a congressman” — running for governor while unknown statewide — “I was the first one to endorse him.”

Trump is also teasing DeSantis as a possible running mate, resulting in Trump-DeSantis 2024 merchandise delighting the MAGA base. DeSantis’s reelection, win or lose, would signal smooth sailing or rough seas for both men. Still, no credible political analyst believes DeSantis will join Trump’s 2024 ticket, even if he loses reelection.

Presidentially, and especially for the GOP, Florida is the must-win mother of all swing states, boasting 30 electoral votes after the 2020 census. As with all states, the governor’s party can help impact whether those votes land in the red or blue column. In 2020 Trump credited DeSantis with helping him win Florida, and losing the governor’s office could be devastating for 2024.

With so much at stake, Democrats are aching to defeat DeSantis. But who can do the deed? Currently, Rep. Charlie Crist, the former one-term Florida Republican governor, serving between 2007 and 2011, is emerging as the strongest in a field of weak Democratic primary candidates.

Crist is striking at the heart of DeSantis’s identity — COVID leadership. And given that DeSantis rose to fame as a COVID contrarian, the Delta variant could be his strongest opponent. This week, a spate of unfavorable national headlines, such as “Florida Leads U.S. in Covid-19 Cases as Hospitalizations Surge,” will test DeSantis’s 2020 reputation as the governor who “kept Florida open for business.”

But when early voting begins next fall, COVID might be contained. Then DeSantis could potentially win reelection with the messages merchandised at his campaign store: “Keep Florida Free” and “Don’t Fauci My Florida.” Most notable are can-coolers quoting the famous DeSant-ism: “How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?”

COVID may fade, but DeSantis’s 2024 presidential aura grows stronger, providing fodder for Democrats. During a campaign rally last week, Crist said, “This current governor is running for president. He’s treating Florida like she’s a stepping stone.”

Echoing Crist is Thomas Kennedy, a Democratic National Committee member from Florida, who said DeSantis is “running for president, not for governor. He’s much more interested in fundraising and shallow and destructive appeals to the MAGA base.”

How DeSantis’s White House ambition and national reputation will impact his reelection prospects could be the issue to watch.

Despite constant downplaying, DeSantis acts like a presidential candidate. He traipses around the nation attending high-profile fundraising events with his PAC, which has raised $36.7 million thus far in 2021 ($17 million from out-of-state donors), a presidentially encouraging amount.

Appealing to his national base, DeSantis recently toured the Texas border after deploying Florida law enforcement members to help patrol. Always on Fox News, DeSantis walks a tightrope between 2022 and 2024. He could risk falling since he was barely elected in 2018, winning by only 0.4 percent — mandating a machine recount.

Here is why Florida is the definition of a purple toss-up state:

As of September 2020, Florida had 13.5 million registered voters. Democrats accounted for 36.8 percent, Republicans 35.2 percent, unaffiliated with 26.9 percent and minority party 1.1 percent. Hence, DeSantis’s reelection hinges on appealing to a wide swath of voters while he increasingly panders to his GOP base, signing court-contested voting restrictions and anti-riot laws.

DeSantis’s response to disasters, such as the recent Surfside condo collapse, hurricanes and tragic events that always seem to befall Florida, will either help or hurt him. All are wild cards, but Donald Trump is the most unpredictable. How much the former president will impact and participate in DeSantis’s reelection is unknown. And if Trump were to help the governor win big, DeSantis could still emerge more formidable.

My only prediction is that DeSantis will have a brutal campaign since outside the GOP, he is considered to be a polarizing Trump stand-in, yet feared by Democrats who must take him out before he becomes a 2024 contender.

The governor will have untold millions in campaign money, continuously appear in the media and be tested like a presidential candidate since Florida in 2022 is a 2024 Republican harbinger, putting Trumpism to another test.

Myra Adams writes about politics and religion for numerous publications. She is a RealClearPolitics contributor and served on the creative team of two GOP presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams.


Credit: AP Photo/Steve Helbe

By Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from RealClearPolitics – June 30, 2021

Data from a recent poll and an economic report open a troubling window on  the perceptions and behaviors of the American people, particularly those under age 24. Although unrelated to each other, the poll and the report point to a downward spiral in economic attitudes that is well beyond the capacity of a president, government, or political party to fix.

Let’s begin with the economic report from The Center for Economic and Policy Research — a think tank that bills itself as promoting “democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives.”

CEPR’s findings were so harrowing that for two days, the Drudge Report linked to the study’s headline: “One in Five Young Adults Is Neither Working Nor Studying in U.S.”

The report focused on a “NEET rate,” meaning those “not in employment, education or training,” a category in which “3.8 million Americans age 20 to 24” languished during the first three months of 2021. Pandemic-related or not, this is an economically devastating statistic with countless adverse ripple effects.

Daily there are news reports about a worker shortage across most economic sectors, including many critical ones, and at the lower end of the pay scale with jobs that traditionally attract low-skilled younger workers. At this time, the bottom line is anyone who wants to work can find employment; the same holds true for schooling or training of various kinds.

Reporting about the CEPT study, Bloomberg/Quint wrote: “Inactive youth is a worrying sign for the future of the economy, as they don’t gain critical job skills to help realize their future earnings potential. Further, high NEET rates may foster environments that are fertile for social unrest.”

Ah, “social unrest” — an exciting opportunity to join a street mob, protest or support a cause with the potential for an awesome after-party.

What stands out from the recent Jan.-March 2021 NEET rates is the comparison to the same time period in 2020, before the pandemic shut down America. That 2020 baseline number indicates the “inactive youth” problem existed pre-pandemic but has accelerated.

Shown below is CEPT’s demographic breakdown of the 3.8 million idle 20-to-24-year-olds with each group’s percentage increase from 2020:

Asians: 14.3% — an increase of 3.9%
White: 15.9% — 3.1%
Hispanic: 19.7% — 3.5%
Black: 24.8% — 3.9%
Other: 31.7% — 11.2%

(Note that the percentages add up to 106.4. CEPR offers no explanation for this total.)

The CEPT study concludes: “The American Rescue Plan [passed in March] will help improve the employment and educational prospects for young adults. But current and ongoing recovery efforts need to do more to ensure that young adults in today’s diverse working class can improve their long-term prospects in the labor market and prosper in the years ahead.”

But is the idle-youth problem in our capitalist market economy more an issue of self-motivation than the government’s “need to do more to ensure” that they will prosper?

The answer — or some clues to it — might be connected to the findings of a recent poll by Axios/Momentive, which indicate a disturbing trend in favorable attitudes toward socialism at the expense of capitalism.

Overall, 57% of Americans expressed a positive view of capitalism, with 36% negative. The same poll in 2019 showed 61% positive with 36% negative. A four-percentage-point positivity decline is a worrisome signal for the health of American capitalism.

More alarming is the attitude about our free market system among those aged 18 to 24. Only 42% have a positive view of capitalism, with 54% expressing negativity.

Worse is that 51% of these young adults view socialism positively. The general public’s perception of socialism as positive registers at 41%, with only 52% holding negative views. The 10-point difference between young adults’ favorable view and that of Americans overall significantly impacts our national future — especially considering last week’s screaming headline “One in Five Young Adults Is Neither Working Nor Studying in U.S.” 

What are the future expectations of those 51% of young adults? Are they confusing the economic system that traditionally means “government controls the means of production” with social media? Do they expect the government to support them in the coming decades? And how many of the 3.8 million not in school or working are employed by the underground economy, or involved in illegal activity?

Also troubling is that among Black Americans, socialism is viewed positively by 60%. And remember that nearly 25% of the 3.8 million 20-to-24-year-olds not working or in school were African American. 

When trying to “Save America,” as our former president’s new slogan implores, how will the hot-button issue of wealth inequality ever be resolved when just over half of young adults don’t positively view the capitalistic system that made America great?  A market economy relies on individual responsibility, motivation, hard work, skills, dedication, ingenuity, risk, financing, technology creativity, etc.   

Yes, only the American people can save America, and the future looks bleak when half of young adults apparently look askance at those qualities. Perhaps our government should institute mandatory reeducation camps to teach the difference between the two systems. (With no smartphones, Netflix, Tic-Tok, or social media for 30 days!) Afterward, the skill-less of all ages would be rounded up and sent to another camp to learn a trade — all for the greater good of the motherland.  

I joke, but our nation can only remain a superpower when every citizen knows what is expected of him or her and understands that capitalism depends on the fundamental personal will to succeed — and to keep trying if at first you don’t.

That is why our nation has survived to celebrate its 245th birthday. And now, the next generation must learn that saving America means the government cannot save them.


Credit: AP

BY MYRA ADAMS, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR – THE HILL

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from The Hill – June 23, 2021

Six months have passed since I declared myself “politically homeless” after 46 years as a loyal Republican, but still I am deluged with piles of GOP junk mail.

Recently catching my eye was a slick, oversized envelope from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with that distinct look of a fundraising appeal one would receive from a potential 2024 presidential candidate. In bold underline, the envelope screamed:

“The power-hungry Democrats, Big Tech Billionaires, and liberal media want to SILENCE conservatives like us. If you’ve seen me on TV, you know I’m fighting back and won’t back down! But I need your immediate help!”

Most intriguing was that the governor’s plea did not mention Florida or his 2022 reelection.

Coincidentally, moments before opening the mailer, I saw the Drudge Report headline “DeSantis Wins Straw Poll.” The poll had only 371 participants who were encouraged to vote multiple times among the 500 people who attended last weekend’s Western Conservative Summit in Denver. And they only voted for “approval,” of which DeSantis garnered 74 percent, edging out President Trump’s 71 percent.

The poll is junk, except for the fact that the outcome was widely reported — feeding the continuing narrative that Trump had better “watch out” for DeSantis in 2024. Undoubtedly, both men are on a collision course.

Given such high stakes, let’s “decode” what DeSantis wrote in the mailer. But honestly, no decoding is needed since the governor’s message is clear, bold, repeated several times, yet brilliantly subtle.  

DeSantis begins the four-page letter with a zinger title, “Future of GOP At Stake.” Is that a dog-whistle warning directed at the former president who, by all accounts, is still the undisputed leader of the Republican Party? Then DeSantis goes on offense with a positioning statement as his first sentence:  

“Dear Fellow Conservative, I’m writing you today because the direction of the Republican Party is totally up for grabs.”

How could the party’s “direction” be “totally up for grabs” when Trump and MAGA Trumpism is the GPS of the GOP and Trump rules with an iron fist? DeSantis knows repetition is an essential part of messaging, and why four short paragraphs later, he wrote:

“That’s why I’m personally asking you to help me set the right direction for our party and America over the next four years.”

The “help” DeSantis “asked for” was how the GOP “must not turn back to the old establishment apologists” (that means Mitt RomneyLiz Cheney and Paul Ryan). And why “we need to continue to pursue a conservative agenda like President Trump did and put hardworking American taxpayers first.”

Notice how DeSantis wrote in the past tense, “President Trump did,” instead of President Trump “does.”

The Florida governor, channeling Trump-like strength while positioning himself to be the national party leader, wrote, “I firmly believe Republican-led states like Florida must lead the way and help save America from the far-left socialist agenda that threatens our liberty and that of future generations.”

But “far-left socialists” were not among those who attacked national liberty and democracy in progress at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Therefore, let’s take a quick break from the governor’s leadership plan for a TV reality check that occurred on June 7 during Trump’s interview on Fox Business Network’s “Varney and Co.”  

Trump, who must always be on top, is the master of the political put down, especially when feeling threatened. And the former president’s blood pressure must spike when he hears the popular GOP catchphrase, “DeSantis is Trump without the baggage.”

Thus, Trump told host Stuart Varney, “I was at the beginning of Ron. I was the first one to endorse him when he came out as a congressman that a lot of people didn’t know. My endorsement helped him tremendously.”

That statement followed Trump asserting his dominance over DeSantis when first asked by Varney if he would consider DeSantis as his 2024 running mate. Trump answered: “Sure, I would. But there are numerous people who are great. I would certainly consider Ron.”

Reporting on the Varney-Trump interview was FloridaPolitics with the headline, “Did Trump create DeSantis? He certainly likes to take credit.”

A “yes” answer requires only 30 seconds of watching DeSantis’s most famous and embarrassing 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary commercial. The ad proves DeSantis — then virtually unknown in Florida — allowed himself to be created in Trump’s image.

One could argue that Trump did “create” DeSantis. However, there was reciprocity. In 2020 DeSantis helped deliver Florida to Trump by 371,686 votes, which he mentioned in the mailing, illustrating how the governor likes to placate Trump.

Moreover, DeSantis wrote that “Florida did one of the best jobs counting votes in the entire country. And you could never say that before the 2020 elections!” And he brags, “The ‘Trump Florida Firewall’ project I set up for the Republican Party of Florida was a huge success.”

That statement raises the question of why in May did DeSantis sign an election restriction bill currently being challenged with three federal lawsuits?

It is interesting that besides the photo of DeSantis on the envelope, the only inside photo is of Trump and the governor on the donate page. There, after three long pages of DeSantis touting his accomplishments from a national perspective and only once mentioning his reelection, does the reader learn that this is a fundraising letter for the Republican Party of Florida.

The mailer proves that DeSantis is a brilliant player, positioning himself as the GOP’s future while only lightly kissing the ring of his “creator.” Above all, DeSantis knows the creator must never lose or be overtly defeated because he will turn against the man he created.

Myra Adams writes about politics and religion for numerous publications. She is a RealClearPolitics contributor. She served on the creative team of two GOP presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams.


MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from RealClearPolitics – June 10, 2021

By Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

Remember the 2012 Republican National Convention? Back then, the national debt problem was so fundamental to the GOP’s platform that the convention’s set design showcased a debt clock ticking away in real-time, edging closer to $16 trillion.

Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, a conservative tax and budget expert, championed policies that slowed the debt’s alarming rate of acceleration toward what he deemed a dangerous fiscal cliff, which was not a priority for his opponent. When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the debt was $10 trillion. After fighting the Great Recession, it nearly doubled to $19.5 trillion by the end of his second term.

But the next Republican president didn’t do much better. At the end of 2020, the debt was $26.9 trillion. Today, according to the U.S. Debt Clock, it is $28.3 trillion. 

Most problematic is how gross domestic product has failed to grow commensurate with the debt. There has been a school of thought that downplayed the growing red ink, instead touting the debt-to-GDP ratio as more relevant. A brief history of that ratio demonstrates why that “school” has closed.

In December 1969, when the government spent billions fighting the Vietnam War, the ratio was 35.47%.

Interestingly, the ratio dipped to 30.86%, the 1970s lowest level, during the month when Richard Nixon resigned as president, August 1974.

By the end of that decade, the number rose slightly to 31.03%.

The 1980s ended with it jumping to 51.38%

The 20th century closed with a debt-to-GDP figure of 58.35%. 

Then came the 9/11 attacks. As a result, the government’s price tag to fight the war on terror, including in Afghanistan and Iraq, caused a substantial increase in the ratio, which rose to 92.02% by the end of 2010.

In 2020 the COVID pandemic crashed the U.S. economy. By October, the government had spent $4 trillion in various economic bailouts, increasing the ratio to 129.09% by year’s end.

According to today’s Debt Clock, the number stands at 127.99%, a slight decrease from Dec. 31 but still precarious.

Is the government projecting that, when the economy surges back to “normal,” this unsustainable ratio will decrease?

Unfortunately, no, according to two U.S. government agencies.

The Congressional Budget Office, providing economic and budget data to lawmakers, projects that by 2025 the figure will be 124.56%. Even more daunting is the Office of Management and Budget projection. The agency within the executive branch foresees the 2025 ratio increasing to 138.69% — 10.7 percentage points higher than today! That is your government at work.

But more eye-popping is the non-governmental U.S. Debt Clock’s 2025 projections, based on current rates of growth. It shows the national debt hitting $50.1 trillion, the GDP at $26.7 trillion, and the debt-to-GDP ratio at a whopping 187.86%.

What ramifications do all these numbers have for the average American? The cost of living and anything you want to finance could cost more. In March 2021, the CBO issued a report titled “The 2021 Long-Term Budget Outlook,” which said:

“Debt that is high and rising as a percentage of GDP boosts federal and private borrowing costs, slows the growth of economic output, and increases interest payments abroad. A growing debt burden could increase the risk of a fiscal crisis and higher inflation as well as undermine confidence in the U.S. dollar, making it more costly to finance public and private activity in international markets.”

And what are the overarching reasons why the U.S government is spending itself into an ever-deepening fiscal crisis? The simple answer is our government is trying to maintain its status as the world’s superpower in a competitive 21st century global economy while modernizing infrastructure and providing for the needs of its people.

But, the hard truth is that our economy does not generate enough revenue to pay for what is required to do all three. For example, today the U.S. Debt Clock shows federal tax revenue at $3.4 trillion. That is a fraction of what the government owes just in unfunded liabilities of $149.2 trillion – payments promised to the American people.

Our nation can’t continue down this path forever because, at some point, there will be forced entitlement cuts and, worse, national instability.

National needs outpacing revenue also dramatically applies to infrastructure. President Biden proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure bill with much fanfare, widening the term’s traditional definition. And if the bill manages to pass, it will substantially increase the national debt. The need is there, but the funds are not. Everyone sees crumbling roads, bridges, and now the daunting task of fortifying cyber systems that operate critical infrastructure. The Colonial Pipeline hack showcased our national vulnerabilities — to the delight of our enemies.

Moreover, Biden’s new $6 trillion budget proposal looks like the Debt Clock’s projection of a $50 trillion national debt by 2025 could be on track.

But the most severe crisis facing our nation is denying the debt crisis. Instead, our weak-kneed leaders are afraid to level with the American people about the implications of rising debt while the government spends at rates that far exceed tax revenue and GDP. When was the last time you heard the president or leaders of either party speak out about this painful issue? Yet, any solution starts with recognizing the problem. The Republican Party used to lead on the debt problem and should again.

Therefore, I recommend that the GOP dust off its national debt clock from the 2012 convention and hang it above the floor of Congress. At least then, our national fiscal doomsday crisis will be impossible to deny as it stares leaders in the face.


MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from MEDIUM on May 27, 2021

Every American knows the date of Donald Trump’s last rally in Washington, D.C. The political fallout continues with the aftermath seared into our collective memory when the president’s most ardent supporters marched from the rally and violently breached the Capitol.

In the seven days following the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” when shocking video was horrifying the nation, nobody could have predicted that the soon-to-be-former president — impeached for a second time in record time — would resume hosting his now-infamous rallies only six months later.

In America, anything is possible, and Trump proved that axiom last week. While appearing on the Trump-loving, One America News network, the former president announced his rally plans saying, “We’ll be doing one in Florida, we’re going to do one in Ohio, we’re going to do one in North Carolina,” with details released, “relatively soon.” However, Trump could be indicted, which may or may not alter his rally plans.

Aside from that minor detail, imagine how much bashing, trashing, venting, and bragging will spew from the former president’s mouth — a fact-checkers feast. But, before speculating about the rally’s theme, content and objectives, two overarching issues could become problematic for Trump and nullify any political benefits.

Security Costs

A potentially thorny issue about who will pay for what is sure to be supersized security. Of course, the Secret Service is responsible for Trump, and recently he was accused of profiting from the benefit of their protection.

But the intriguing question is whether taxpayers will foot the entire bill for all the post-Jan. 6 rallies. New ground will be broken since no former president has engaged in a sustained political come back tour on the scale that Trump is teasing.

I say “teasing” since recently, on his DonaldJTrump.com mouthpiece, he boasted about his “beautiful Boeing 757 that became so iconic during the Trump rallies.” The plane is currently being “updated” and “prior to the end of the year,” he says, “it will be better than ever, and again used at upcoming rallies!”

This year and into the 2022 midterm election campaign, his rally security costs could morph into a passionate political hot button. The negative press will emphasize that Trump is a billionaire, and his Save America PAC began the second quarter with $85 million in cash. Hence, the PAC and not taxpayers should shoulder a healthy percentage of the security costs at his highly partisan, self-serving political rallies.

Moreover, Trump uses these rallies as income generators. He collects attendee data for future fundraising solicitations while earning millions of dollars in free advertising through media coverage.

Along with increased costs incurred by the Secret Service, rallies impact the budget of local law enforcement. When Trump left office, it was reported that ten cities were owed “at least $850,000” in unpaid invoices. Recently, Albuquerque turned over a $211,000 debt to a collection agency stemming from Trump’s Sept. 2019 rally.

With that track record, will local jurisdictions demand upfront security payments before granting rally permits to the former president?

Super-Spreader Events 2.0

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Trump rallies were widely thought to be super-spreader events — proven true by a Stanford University study. As national COVID rates are rapidly decreasing with half the population vaccinated, surveys show that Trump voters tend to have lower vaccination rates.

Therefore, Trump’s 2021 and 2022 rallies could again turn into super-spreaders (and now easier to trace back), resulting in the villainization of Trump and his supporters.

Conversely, Trump has an extraordinary opportunity to generate good news at his rallies by encouraging attendees to get vaccinated or, better yet, “make vaccinations great again” and available on site.

All the Political Considerations

As mentioned earlier, Trump’s post-Jan. 6 rallies will showcase his penchant for bashing, trashing, venting, boasting — and don’t forget his signature name-calling. But let’s highlight the former president’s number one objective for holding rallies: To remove “former” from his current title. Therefore, at every rally, expect him to flirt with the audience asking, “Should I run in 2024?” The answer will be cheers of “four more years” with Trump 2024 banners waving — repeatedly shown on Trump-friendly media outlets.

The former president aims to clear the 2024 field, canceling the need for a GOP primary. And, he might be successful since a mid-May Morning Consult poll found that 50 percent of GOP primary voters support Trump, with his former VP Mike Pence a distant second at 13 percent.

But mixed signals for Trump are seen in a new Quinnipiac University poll finding 66 percent of Republicans want him to run in 2024, but 66 percent of Americans do not.

Trump’s second rally objective is revenge upon any GOP officeholder who dared not support his “Big Lie” or voted for impeachment. You know their names, and Trump will call them out for booing. The flip side is his support for candidates who can defeat any officeholder not 1000% loyal to Trump, rewarding them with an on-stage appearance.

Theoretically, Trump rallies are to support the Republican Party’s attempts to win back the House and the Senate — convenient cover for his number one objective. Rallies solidify Trump’s standing as the supreme Republican leader, branding the party’s present and future in his name. Candidates and incumbents are either with Trump or against him. There is no middle ground.

Attending Trump rallies will be his adoring base — the 53 percent of Republicans who believe Trump remains the “true president” and the 61 percent who say the election was stolen — according to a new Ipsos/Reuters poll.

Embracing those beliefs is Trump’s main schtick while recanting all the reasons why attendees know he is the greatest president. But alas, he was cheated and victimized by mail-in voting, election officials, courts, the FBI, voting machines, high-tech, corrupt media, social media — but still managed to win more votes than any incumbent president. That list is what they came to hear with a potential indictment only another Trump victim card to be played.

The fact that Trump’s old stage act is reopening to the same loyal audience six months after the Jan. 6 rally is not just a feat of savvy showmanship but a miraculous political resurrection.