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Op-Ed: The 2024 Republican campaign that isn’t — Cliches from Trump and that’s all.

Trump will be old and unwanted news soon enough

Former US President Donald Trump attends his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs
Former US President Donald Trump attends his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs — © AFP PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA
Former US President Donald Trump attends his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs — © AFP PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA

If you compare 2024 to any election since Obama, this one is downright weird. It’s all about the seemingly endless stream of court cases against Trump. Nothing else apparently matters. It’s a one-dimensional campaign at best.

Trump’s general negativity is now focusing on him. He’s said nothing new. He’s simply become more threatening. His speeches contain no specifics about America. It’s a lot of “we’re gonna do something” and “they’re destroying the country” and nothing else.

This lack of specifics might be self-serving. On any given topic, Trump seems to default to his rhetoric rather than address the subject. There’s not a lot of substance.

To be fair, the Republican votes for Hayley indicate that a significant number of Republicans don’t buy Trump. If he’s lost that many Republicans, this election is over. Those numbers are terrible.

All of which leads to a question – Where’s the campaign? Campaign funding for Republicans isn’t looking anything like good. For the GOP, funding from major donors equates to peanuts. The smaller donors are said to be pulling back.

Let’s leave the issue of campaign funds paying for legal costs out of the equation for the time being. Appalling as it seems, there may be serious bottom line issues involved. Maybe there is some rationale beyond saving someone’s tail from the fires.

The point here is that the donor money isn’t going to the campaign. Biden’s campaign is getting plenty of funding. You might even dare to say that having a candidate who can’t handle his own legal fees isn’t a good idea.

As good PR image-building, this is the exact opposite. The strongman isn’t a strongman. The big business guy is in big trouble for his business. He sleeps in court. He’s being accused of severe flatulence. A lot of the matters raised about the NYC case are pure sleaze about sordid deals and hush money, not politics.

This is an image for a presidential candidate? What about for a president?

You’d think that any sector as obsessively superficial as American politics would at least try to undo the damage. That’s not happening either. Why not? Surely someone could at least post a refreshingly new PR load of drivel like, “He’s tired”, or “We can’t discuss medical issues”, or some other unconvincing claptrap. They haven’t even bothered to do that.

There’s one view of this stunning inactivity which I find at least slightly persuasive. This view is that the GOP has given up on 2024. They can let the wheels fall off, blame him, and move on.

It may not be the prettiest picture, but it’d work. MAGA can’t sustain itself any more than QAnon could. They were both paid advertising campaigns, never legitimate movements. The GOP doesn’t even have to acknowledge their existence, particularly if MAGA candidates tank in the election. They can’t be a factor in future politics so they can be allowed to die off, much like the Tea Party and America First in the 1940s. That makes far more sense than a picture of a totally lost GOP which refuses to campaign.

It’s also a matter of opinion whether Trump could ever run again. His legal issues and cashflow problems seem serious enough. He’s running out of money and time.

Regardless of SCOTUS or anything else, he’s on an end run in his political career. The sheer lack of ideas in his current rhetoric indicates that he’s also out of issues. The campaign is now effectively about him and how he handles his own issues.

Trump will be old and unwanted news soon enough. It’s about a quarter to midnight for his political life. America doesn’t stand still for that long. He’s out of time.


The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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