Republicans are stunned that Trump has effectively killed enthusiasm for the 2024 presidential race in the early states.
Politico reported on the decline in grassroots retail politics in the 2024 Republican presidential campaign:
The decline of retail in 2024 is the product of several factors, all of them accelerated by Trump. First, rival candidates waited for months to see if the former president would run and then, once he did, if he would implode on his own. When they eventually did get in the race, they were confronted by a tightened calendar, reducing their time on the trail.
Meanwhile, to qualify for a summer debate, lower-polling rivals were forced to focus more heavily on national TV appearances, social media and small-dollar fundraising to meet polling and donor thresholds.
There are other factors. The Republican presidential field is a complete dud. Trump has distanced himself from the rest of the field by not doing debates and there is zero enthusiasm for any of the other Republicans who are running for the party’s nomination, but as Politico noted, the non-Trump GOP candidates are not taking advantage of Trump’s refusal to campaign.
The primary campaign is where the foundations of grassroots get-out-the-vote operations are put into place. Trump’s unwillingness to invest in the grassroots in 2020 cost his party in that election, and the situation could be even more dire for Republicans in 2024.
President Biden is already grassroots organizing swing states, while Republicans aren’t doing the same.
A third round of Trump doesn’t have Republicans excited. However, Donald Trump has shown himself to be a terrific motivator for Democratic turnout, as many Democrats would walk on fire to get to the polls if it meant keeping Donald Trump from returning to the White House.
Republicans have a problem, and the lack of excitement and grassroots motivation are factors that are worth watching as we head into 2024.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association