Former President Trump has been teasing another run at the presidency in 2024 — just one of many reminders for the Republican Party that its future hangs in the "huge, looming shadow" of the 45th president, say Washington Examiner senior political correspondent David Drucker.
In his new book, "In Trump's Shadow," Drucker evaluates the political atmosphere and jockeying for influence within the GOP after Donald Trump's exit from office.
Drucker observes that Mr. Trump is effectively boxing other candidates out of the 2024 presidential race until he announces whether or not he'll seek the presidency for a third time.
"The [Republican] Party now takes its cues from him at high levels when it comes to politics, when it comes to how you campaign, when it comes to the issues set," Drucker told CBS News chief Washington correspondent in this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast. "Let's imagine Trump does not run in 2024. The Republican primary for president is going to be all about Trump in 2024, the way the Republican primary for president was all about Ronald Reagan in 1988, 1992, 1996, and on and on."
In media interviews during the summer and fall, Mr. Trump alluded to another run for office, which Drucker focuses on in his book.
"There is a part of him that wants to do that, especially as the current president seems rather weak politically and Democrats are having all sorts of problems. But I also talk to people inside Trump-world that said they believe it's possible that that Donald Trump may ultimately believe that the trappings of the post-presidency are more appealing than the trappings of the actual presidency," Drucker said.
Drucker also reports on Trump's post-presidency influence on Capitol Hill.
"In some ways, this is where you find Trump least influential," Drucker said, pointing to the Republican members of Congress who voted in favor of the bipartisan infrastructure Law. "One of the things I don't think Donald Trump understood as president was how to deal with members of Congress who plan to be around here for a lot longer than you do as a president."
Virginia's Republican governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, Drucker said, drafted a blueprint for GOP candidates running in competitive races where coalitions can be formed between the Make America Great Again faction of the Republican Party with more traditional GOP voters.
"One of the aspects of that campaign that made Youngkin successful is he was able to meld the traditional wing of the party, those suburban Republicans, soft Republicans, Republicans that weren't all that interested in Donald Trump with the MAGA wing, the populist wing of the party that adores Donald Trump," Drucker said.
If Mr. Trump decides not to run in 2024, Drucker reports that Republicans like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former Vice President Mike Pence have hired political staff to be ready for potential presidential campaigns.
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