There has never been a more auspicious moment to bet on Donald Trump winning the next presidential election. Contrary to conventional wisdom, he is the most likely victor in 2024, and his odds will shorten as his recapturing the White House becomes more readily apparent.
The bipartisan political establishment's self-serving narrative is Trump's chances of recapturing the presidency are dwindling. Three reasons are posited. First, he hurts the Republican brand, as allegedly demonstrated in the midterms. Second, there are better options among other would-be Republican candidates. Third, given his polarising persona, Trump would have difficulty winning a rematch with President Biden or another Democratic candidate.
Each one is wrong. The evidence drawn from election results and reliable polling data tell a very different story.
Many midterm post-mortems make explicit reference to Trump leading the Republicans to a “loss” last week. This is nonsense. The Republicans won the national popular vote by around five percent, as the final Democracy Institute/Express.co.uk poll predicted.
This is a massive eight point Republican swing since the 2020 election. Furthermore, the Republicans are clearly favoured on the issues most important to voters – inflation, the economy, crime, immigration, and education – that will dominate the next presidential election.
A huge improvement in the party’s national support level should be viewed as a very encouraging development heading into that campaign.
A historically unprecedented outcome in terms of House seats merits serious internal Republican campaign introspection rather than the assignment of blame to the party’s most popular politician.
Unnoticed across the swing states is the fact Trump consistently polled higher than each of the individual Republican Senate and House candidates, whether the latter were Trump-endorsed or not. The Republican party is a drag on Trump’s popularity, not the other way around.
The assertion that the Republicans have better options than Trump is short-hand for promoting Ron DeSantis, the successful and very popular Florida governor, to be the party’s next candidate.
DeSantis is a savvy and assertive politician, and a very capable, policy-oriented governor who is probably electable nationally. There is little about him to criticise and much to praise.
Yet, he currently lacks Trump’s unique strengths. DeSantis is not an especially effective communicator, while Trump belongs with Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan in the presidential pantheon of political marketers.
Trump’s strong connection with, and deep popularity among, working class Americans is unparalleled among Republican politicians, including DeSantis. Without overwhelming working class support, no Republican can win the next presidential election.
There is no evidence that another candidate can match Trump’s twice-demonstrated ability to expand the national Republican electorate to include most working class voters and increasing shares of the Hispanic and Black vote.
Only Trump owns the T-shirt emblazoned: “The Presidency? Been there. Done that. Did a great job!” Trump has been a successful president; everyone else is auditioning for the role. Others can promise peace and prosperity. Trump, alone, has already delivered on them. Now, that is an incredibly powerful selling point with voters.
In our polling, Trump consistently defeats Biden by four to five points in a hypothetical 2024 matchup.
Trump beats other potential opponents, such as Kamala Harris, by much larger margins. He also polls stronger against these Democrats than do other potential Republican candidates.
The narrative that Trump’s declared candidacy is bad news for the Republicans is without empirical foundation. But the anti-Trump narrative is unconcerned with evidence.
It is designed, choreographed, enabled, and facilitated by politicians and media alike with the singular goal of weakening Trump’s image among Republicans.
Ask yourself, if Trump is such an obvious loser, should his critics not want him as the next Republican standard bearer? They do not, however, because they know he is not an obvious loser. Trump is actually the most likely winner of the next election.
To that end, my synthesis [https://twitter.com/UKMallard/status/1549346743690690560] of Democracy Institute polling data since 2016 found the presidential profile (demographics, background, policy positions) preferred by most voters overlaps with Trump’s profile to a remarkable degree.
Democrats are simply terrified of facing Trump again. On this particular question, at least, they have divined the correct answer.
They are right to be scared because Trump will be the Republicans’ strongest challenger.