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2024

First In The South Watch: Donald Trump Looms Large

Will “Republicans” bother to hold a primary this go-round?

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I will never endorse former U.S. president Donald Trump again … for anything. Ever. Seriously, were he to campaign for dogcatcher, I might consider endorsing the dogs. It’s not that I am some reflexive Trump-hater – or that I would ever be part of the droning mainstream media demonization of the man and his movement. I am not – and will not. In fact, the people demonizing Trump are far more frightening to me than those who worship him – and far more dangerous to the future of the American Republic than his MAGA minions, in my estimation.

Honestly, every time I want to recoil at something Trump says or does I am reminded of the chronic, irrational butt-hurt of his many enemies – and the lengths to which they went to install Joe Biden as his successor.

How has that worked out for the country? Oy …

Amidst the din of tribalism, I am strictly issue-based. Policy-based. Outcome-based. Which makes me an agnostic when it comes to Trump, Biden … and any other politician.

Seriously … show me don’t tell me. Oh … and be sure to show your math.


As I noted in a recent piece, when people ask me where I am on Trump I respond with a simple question: “On what issue?”

You tell me the issue and I will tell you what I think of Donald Trump.

I backed Trump in the 2016 “First in the South” presidential primary because he promised to blow up the Republican establishment – which he did. I backed him in the 2016 general election over Hillary Clinton because he vowed to cut middle class taxes and slash deficit spending.

Did he do that? No …

Contrary to his campaign promises, Trump was absolutely terrible on these bread and butter fiscal issues. In fact, he stayed terrible on the fiscal front right up to the bitter end of his administration – which is one reason the pre-Covid economy failed to grow as fast as it could have (and part of the reason we are dealing with runaway inflation).

These fiscal betrayals are the main reason I endorsed libertarian nominee Jo Jorgensen for president in 2020. Not Trump.

“If the American Republic is to have any chance of surviving into the second half of the 21st century, it sure as hell better start electing people who believe what she believes … soon,” I noted in that endorsement.

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Sadly, a country which permits people to identify as toaster ovens (and cancels anyone who criticizes them for it) is likely going to be confronted by another binary political choice in 2024. Amazing, isn’t it? I never thought I’d live to see the day when gender options exceeded our choices at the ballot box … but here we are.

According to reporter Olivia Nuzzi of New York magazine, Trump has already decided he is seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency.

“Look,” Trump told Nuzzi, “I feel very confident that, if I decide to run, I’ll win.”

If?

“In my own mind, I’ve already made that decision, so nothing factors in anymore,” he continued. “In my own mind, I’ve already made that decision.”

“I would say my big decision will be whether I go before or after (the 2022 midterm elections),” Trump added. “You understand what that means? Do I go before or after? That will be my big decision.”

Can anyone beat Trump in a GOP primary? Looking at the latest polling, it certainly seems to fall outside the realm of possibility. The latest Real Clear Politicsaggregate data has the former president at 53 percent among GOP primary voters. That’s a 32.5 percent lead over his nearest potential competitor – Florida governor Ron DeSantis.

Every other would-be candidate – including former vice president Mike Pence – is polling in single digits.


If Trump runs, he might even successfully pressure early-voting states like South Carolina to call off their primaries – which is exactly what happened in 2020. The S.C. Republican Party (SCGOP) canceled its “First in the South” presidential preference election two years ago as an admitted sop to Trump – in clear violation of its own rules (and by extension state law).

This decision was inconceivably upheld by a S.C. circuit court judge – and never credibly challenged beyond the circuit court level. Ultimately, canceling the primary wound up being a grave miscalculation for Trump … especially in light of the stirring comeback victory Biden claimed in the South Carolina Democratic primary.

The former president cleared the field in his primary … but in the process surrendered the narrative to Biden.

Fast-forwarding back to today, there is considerable chatter about Biden’s fitness for office – and whether the 79-year-old chief executive will seek a second term in office. Perhaps he is waiting for his teleprompter to inform him of his plans?

We shall see …

As for the GOP primary, though … South Carolina (like every other state) is Trump’s to lose. But the process by which we get to that outcome (including the plays made by a pair of #NeverTrump former governors and a current governor who is a Trump sycophant) will be incredibly interesting to follow.

Especially in light of the recent proxy wars between Trump and the GOP establishment in this pivotal early-voting state …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Via: FITSNews)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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