Former President Donald Trump recently announced his third presidential campaign for the 2024 election, leaving many voters unsettled.
Although it’s unsurprising for Democrats to be wary of another potential Trump campaign and potential presidency, even Republican voters are faced with a difficult decision as they are tasked with choosing between the divisiveness of another Trump Republican nomination or the uncertainty of a new candidate rising to the forefront of the party.
“Trumpism” is a term that has been used to describe the rise of right to far-right political ideologies advocated by Donald Trump.
Since his first presidential campaign in 2016, Trump has accumulated a strong group of supporters despite his divisive and often controversial rhetoric.
In 2020, Trump’s campaign for reelection ignited a new wave of support as he won 11 million more votes than in his first election. Despite losing the 2020 Presidential election by approximately seven million votes, Trump claimed that the election had been rigged and that he was the true winner.
This rhetoric ultimately led to the infamous Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol, in which Trump supporters believed they would overturn the 2020 election, showing the extent to which Trump loyalists will go to secure a Trump presidency and support his ideologies.
However, not everyone in the Republican Party shares this loyalty to Trump, and many advocate for the end of Trump-era Republicanism.
United States Congresswoman Liz Cheney has been at the forefront of anti-Trumpism, leading the Jan. 6 committee in investigating Trump’s involvement with the insurrection. Several other prominent Republicans have spoken out against Trump’s 2024 presidential candidacy including former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI.), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA.), Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AK.), Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD.), and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL.).
Just a day after Donald Trump announced his third presidential campaign, former Vice President Mike Pence stated in an interview with the Associated Press, “… I think they want to see their national leader start to reflect that same, that same compassion and generosity of spirit. And I think, so in the days ahead, I think there will be better choices.”
One of these “better choices” Pence may have been referring to is Florida Governor and rising star of the Republican Party Ron DeSantis, who has enhanced his reputation in the Republican Party and gained popularity throughout the country after Florida’s response during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While he shares the same populist-right causes as Trump, his rhetoric is seen as calmer, therefore appealing to many less-extreme Republican voters as well as independents.
During the recent 2022 midterm elections, Republicans were met with less success than expected, especially among candidates endorsed by Trump. Moreover, according to a new poll commissioned by the Republican Party of Texas, Republican voters in Texas support DeSantis as the Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election over Trump by more than 10 percentage points.
The poll reveals a shift in support for the former president, who was the clear favorite among Texas Republicans in an October poll.
According to Politico.com, a Republican strategist close to Trump reveals that Trump’s selling points will be, “I did this, I fixed the economy, I gave you the Abraham Accords, I kept peace, I fixed the border with no help from the Washington politicians.”
Although many Republicans are distancing themselves from Trump, the fact that he’s the only Republican candidate to have experience in the White House gives him a clear advantage.
According to Politico.com, Tom Tancredo, a former Republican Congressman, stated, “There’s a significant number of people out there who really are opposed to him, and I don’t think will change their minds over the course of the next two years.”
Nonetheless, although Republicans have concerns about his electability, Trump still remains the dominant candidate in the Republican presidential nomination and the only Republican to launch their presidential campaign thus far.
A junior at Monmouth University studying marine and environmental biology and policy (MEBP) and geographic information systems (GIS) said, “I think that the Republican Party is going to divide. There are so many people that like Trump and so many people that hate him to the point of it being extreme but also if the other Republican candidate is not that favored Trump has a better chance of winning the Republican Party. If Trump wins the Republican Party and runs against a Democratic candidate, then I think there’s going to be some interesting results.”
A junior homeland security and criminal justice student stated, “There is a clear struggle within the Republican party to determine who will be the 2024 nominee. If they do not come together, it will result in a fractioned party making it difficult to win the election. In order to have a chance at winning in 2024, the Republicans need to come together to support whoever wins the GOP nomination- whether it is Trump or not.”