Donald Trump He will return this Saturday to his favorite setting: the crowd bath. Seven months after his electoral defeat in the 2020 presidential elections to Joe Biden, Trump will be the highlight of the North Carolina Republican Party convention, his return to the electoral caravan.
The tradition is that former presidents move away from political discourse after handing over the keys to the White House and dedicate themselves to defining their presidential library, to getting involved in social initiatives or to being authorized figures of their party. But Trump was an unconventional candidate, he was an unconventional president and He is already an unconventional former president. His goal is to control the party, define next year’s legislative elections and, perhaps, embark on the adventure of a second presidential candidacy.
The first is a fact. Trump has imposed on his party the false account – not supported by the courts, nor by his own Department of Justice – that the election was stolen because he convinced the voters of it. According to a recent Reuters / Ipsos poll, 63% of the Republican electorate believe that Biden was not the rightful winner.
His ascendancy over the party was seen almost immediately after the assault on the Capitol on January 6, when a ‘Trumpist’ mob tried to prevent Biden from being certified as president, a tragic and embarrassing episode for American democracy. Many Republicans criticized the still president, who had encouraged his followers to fight against the certification of results. But, in the face of Trump’s strength among Republicans, almost everyone made their way back and backed the leader in one way or another. Support among Republican legislators for Trump’s impeachment was minimal and support for the purge of the few Trump opponents – such as Congresswoman Liz Cheney, expelled from her leadership position in the House of Representatives -, the majority.
In the first months out of the White House, Trump has remained the great leader of the party. Now he needs to cement that position for next year’s legislative elections. On Saturday, on the Greenville stage, he will don his campaign uniform – dark suit, bright red tie – at the first of several rallies that will take him across the country to invest – or undress – Republican candidates. He is expected to travel, among other places, to Ohio, Georgia o Alabama to have a leading role in the primaries.
Trump also needs the rallies because he has been left without a speaker. The Twitter and Facebook veto after the assault on the Capitol has silenced their messages. He shares his messages on his email distribution list, with much less impact than those platforms (his attempt to replace them with a blog on his website was a failure, and this week it has stopped working). Without being a candidate or president, his proposals and attacks they have much less relevance in the media. Trump needs to have more presence in the news cycle and direct contact with the public will give him more visibility.
The former president has already proven himself as a visible force in the Republican primaries. He attacks candidates who are not of his rope and drives the most loyal ones. But the 2021 legislatures will be the touchstone of Trump’s political power in the future: they are a magnificent opportunity for Republicans to win back the House of Representatives -they lost it in 2018- and if they get it with a leading role for Trump in the campaign, the former president will be shot to the 2024 elections.
Only one president has lost a reelection and then returned to win back the White House: Grover Cleveland, in 1892. That will be the ultimate proof that Trump is different.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism