President Donald Trump’s supporters have no intention of fading away. After spending weeks amplifying Trump’s claims that the November election was rigged against him, many of his loyal fans are eagerly awaiting his next ventures, including a potential presidential run in 2024.
In the meantime, they present a daunting challenge for President-elect Joe Biden: how to govern a bitterly divided nation that now includes many who not only disagree with his policies, but view him as an illegitimate president who won only because of mass election fraud, which did not actually happen.
“The effort by the Trump forces to delegitimize Biden has poisoned our political bloodstream so badly that it could take years to recover,” said David Gergen, who served as an adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
Trump will leave the White House on Jan. 20 with an iron grip on a Republican Party that has been transformed on his watch. Once known for its country club elites and embrace of military intervention and free trade, the GOP under Trump has become a populist party with an “America first” foreign policy that has alienated allies and fomented distrust in both international and domestic government institutions.
“I think the Republican Party today is the party of President Trump, and so his positions are the positions of the Republican voters,” Sen. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, recently told SiriusXM. The Utah senator said he believes Trump’s “enormous influence” with the party is likely to wane to a certain degree as new faces step forward.
But among “those that are circling the 2024 race, beyond President Trump, it seems that many of them are headed in the same, more populist-oriented direction,” he said.
In any case, Trump has no intention of ceding the spotlight as he openly flirts with running again in four years.
Trump will “loom very large over the Republican Party,” predicted Alyssa Farah, until recently White House communications director. Don’t expect Trump and Trumpism to “go off into the sunset,” Farah said. SOVEREIGNPH