It probably goes without saying if you think about it. But it’s worth saying it out loud in any case. Aside from Trump, all of the people running for President in the GOP primary, with the semi-exception of Ron DeSantis, aren’t actually running for President. Normally, long shot entrants at least think they have some chance or they have some plan for career advancement by making a solid showing. But in this race, every candidate is in that category. And not just random mayors or people who’ve been out of politics for years. But senators, big-state governors and more. The thinking seems to be: “I’ll have some name recognition for 2028. And who knows? He might die and then I’ll have a campaign already in place! Why not?”
That’s not just a laugh line. That’s clearly the thinking. The faux Republican presidential candidates almost have the tenor of those “allied” parties who were allowed to exist and even nominally contest elections in the old Soviet Union. They’re running, sort of. But they’re not saying anything out of line with Trump and they’re definitely not criticizing Trump. Ferreting out the implicit critiques amounts almost to a latter-day variant of Kremlinology.
(The People’s Republic of China has a comparable set-up with eight non-CCP legal political parties supervised by the CCP’s United Front Work Department.)
Some people think indictments or big legal revelations may be tantamount to political death for Trump. But I doubt it. I doubt anyone immersed in the current GOP thinks otherwise.
All the potential charges we know about or expect seem entirely priced into the current poll numbers. The only thing that might conceivably change the equation would be direct and incontrovertible proof of conspiring with a foreign power, selling some of those classified documents to the Saudis or North Korea. I doubt either thing happened, for what it’s worth, because there’s no need. And in any case, who am I kidding? Trump was caught red-handed demanding that a foreign government open an investigation into his presidential political rival or he wouldn’t send them weapons. Needless to say, none of it mattered.