Former President Donald Trump is running for president. The only question that remains is whether he formally announces his 2024 campaign sometime in the next seven days or waits to announce after the midterms.
Mr. Trump’s Boeing 757 — affectionately known as “Trump Force One” during his 2016 campaign — is back in the air and last week made its maiden voyage after being mothballed for Mr. Trump’s term in the White House, followed by maintenance, repairs and a new paint job.
“TRUMP” is still painted in gold letters down the fuselage. At a political rally last week in Texas, Mr. Trump made a dramatic flyover for the unwavering, delighted supporters gathered below.
Trump Force One is once again fueled up and ready for takeoff.
Mr. Trump has also begun assembling a new campaign team. In vintage Trump fashion, Mr. Trump quizzes his divided staff about whether he should announce his 2024 campaign before or after the midterms.
The argument in favor of announcing this week is that it would be the Trumpiest move possible: Go all in at the very moment the stakes are the highest and the bright lights are the brightest. Also, enrage just about everybody involved.
One of Mr. Trump’s most appealing political characteristics is his joyful willingness to spend political capital in high-risk situations to actually accomplish important things. Most politicians spend political capital only in situations guaranteed to help them politically.
Not so Donald Trump.
Announcing today would cut both ways. Sure, it would help Democrats who are desperate to find an issue — any issue! — that they can run on. Abortion does not appear to have worked out for them. Their record of governance certainly is not working for them.
So, the Orange Monster under the bed rattling his chains this Halloween just days before an election would finally give Democrats something to talk about.
But the gamble would pay off for Mr. Trump come next Wednesday morning as Republicans enjoy what may be the biggest routing in their party’s history — despite Democrats’ desperate efforts to make it all about the Orange Monster under the bed.
The flip side of this argument is that Mr. Trump wins equally either way, so why not just wait and announce under the klieg lights of victory? This strategy allows Mr. Trump to bask in the revelry and take credit for the epic GOP victories.
This, of course, will drive the haters crazy, even among establishment Republicans. Especially among establishment Republicans.
Yet again, they will seethe, Mr. Trump the carnival barker is seizing the microphone to talk about himself and take credit for the great victory. Because, really, politicians never talk about themselves or take credit for things.
In truth, the only difference between Mr. Trump and all the other politicians who constantly talk about themselves and take credit for things is that Mr. Trump can honestly claim the credit.
He actually deserves credit for the stunning upset victories the Republican Party will enjoy next week.
The very issues that are propelling Republicans to victory are the very issues that Mr. Trump brought to the forefront of the party. No longer the party of wealthy Wall Street white people, Mr. Trump’s Republican Party is the party of working Americans.
Mr. Trump’s Republican Party is the party of law and order.
Mr. Trump’s Republican Party is the party of border security. And — increasingly — Mr. Trump’s Republican Party is becoming the party of Hispanic Americans.
Mr. Trump’s Republican Party is the party of freedom.
Mr. Trump can also take credit for the army of rising stars in his new Republican Party who are fighting and winning in places the Grouchy Old Party had flamed out.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Kari Lake in Arizona are two of the hottest rising Republican rock stars who are in the mold of Donald Trump. In addition to embracing Mr. Trump’s “MAGA agenda,” they fight with the same level of zeal and intensity.
Like it or not, today’s Republican Party belongs to Mr. Trump. And so does tomorrow’s.
• Charles Hurt is the opinion editor of The Washington Times.
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