Washington DC – Donald Trump has seemed largely immune to scandal throughout his time in politics. From his early days as a U.S. presidential candidate, he navigated gaffes that could have ended his career, from obscene remarks to allegations of racism, ultimately winning the Republican nomination and later White House. won the house.
His leadership of the Republican Party has since survived two impeachments and a failed run for a second term. Even as his supporters attacked the United States Capitol on his Jan. 6, 2021, prominent Republicans continued to support him.
But Trump, who is running for president again this year, has faced a series of challenges that many experts say will be difficult to overcome.
“I think his career is doomed,” said Ronald Stockton, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Michigan Dearborn, of the former president. People hate stress, I think people turn their backs on him.”
investigation and setbacks
Trump faced several investigations and legal proceedings throughout 2022, including a congressional inquiry into the January 6 attacks.
A committee in the U.S. House of Representatives finally recommended criminal charges against Trump, releasing a report in December detailing the former president’s role in the attack.
“The central cause of January 6th was one man followed by many others: former President Donald Trump. The events of January 6th would not have happened without him.” the report said.
Second congressional committee wins nearly four-year legal battle to gain access to Trump’s six-year tax returns and plans to release redacted returns Friday .
Meanwhile, in New York, the former president’s real estate firm, the Trump Organization, was found guilty of tax evasion in a civil suit earlier this month. Separately, the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into possible mishandling of classified government documents by President Trump.
Mr Trump has denied wrongdoing and dismissed the probe as a “witch hunt”.
Beyond legal troubles, Trump has also experienced setbacks in his political leadership. For example, the Republican Party’s disappointing results in November’s midterm elections represent a major blow to his brand of “America First” politics.
During the primary season, Trump was successful in boosting his supporters and defeating his detractors within the Republican Party. However, candidates he supported, including Mehmet Oz of Pennsylvania and Herschel Walker of Georgia, ultimately lost important congressional elections.
The failure of the Trump-backed candidate has been particularly egregious, in contrast to the success of Republicans who have distanced themselves from the former president. For example, in Georgia, where Walker lost the Senate runoff vote, Brian Kemp comfortably re-elected his governor despite breaking out with Trump after the 2020 vote.
As the midterm polls ended, a Fox News headline captured the disillusionment some Republicans felt with Trump’s leadership. ‘The biggest loser of the night’.”
Trump launched his campaign for the 2024 presidential election on the heels of the midterm elections, but his announcement failed to inspire enthusiasm outside of his far-right supporters. The New York Post, a right-leaning tabloid, sarcastically summed up the news with the quip, “Florida man announces.”
Then, on Nov. 22, the former president suffered a political scar from self-harm when he hosted a private dinner at his Mar-a-Lago mansion. Guests included white supremacist Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West, better known as Ye, who recently sparked controversy with his anti-Semitic remarks.
The episode sparked criticism from Jewish groups, Democrats and even some Republicans.
Rise of Ron DeSantis
Mr. Trump has always relied on the loyalty of his Republicans to get him through hard times. In 2016, he joked that he could “shoot someone” on New York City’s busy Fifth Avenue without losing his voters.
Six years later, however, many Republicans are looking to a new leader to stabilize the ship. That is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who easily won re-election this year. He’s one of several names emerging as Republican challengers in the 2024 presidential election, alongside former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley and Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence.
If DeSantis faces off against Trump in the Republican primary, he had a 14-point lead over the former president, according to a Wall Street Journal poll this month.
A staunch ally of Trump not long ago, DeSantis was first elected governor of Florida in 2018. He quickly became a rising star in the Republican Party for opposing pandemic restrictions and championing conservative policies, including public education.
A U.S. Navy veteran and former congressman, DeSantis has also shown willingness to engage in far-right policies and provocations like Trump. For example, in October he helped coordinate flights to transport asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard, a liberal enclave.
Trump has repeatedly criticized DeSantis for not ruling out the 2024 presidential election, and has nicknamed the governor “DeSanctimonias.” DeSantis dismissed the former president’s attacks and said accepting the “looming attack” is part of leadership.
But Trump still has many devoted allies in the Capitol and right-wing circles. For example, his Ohio Senator-elected J.D. Vance defended Trump amid dismal midterm election results.
“Attempting to hold Trump accountable instead of money or voter turnout is not only wrong. wrote last month in American Conservative.
Trump himself has spoken out about his accomplishments, blaming polls that show him lagging behind DeSantis. “We are a nation in deep decline, a failed nation,” he wrote on the Truth Social platform this week.
“Somehow we will make America great again!”
Can Trump Rise?
While Trump is shrouded in darkness, the twice-impeached former president has a reputation as a political survivor. So what’s different this time?
Stockton, a professor of political science, said Trump had lost his appeal as an outsider.
“He was the newest player, and compared to all the dull but capable rivals he had, he got people excited. And he wiped them out,” Stockton said in 2016. He explained the campaign of
“It will never happen again. He is no longer new. He is old now.”
But James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington-based think tank, said he would not rule out Trump.
Zogby said he used the criticism and scrutiny facing the former president to stir up bitterness among his supporters. This scrutiny allows Trump to portray himself as a victim being persecuted by a wide range of enemies, from Democrats to moderate Republicans.
Zogby told Al Jazeera, “He’s back just because the Republican Party has become almost cult-like, taking advantage of a level of resentment among much of the Republican Party.”
“In that sense, the more attacks there are against him, the more his supporters resent the very groups that are targeting him: the mainstream media, the government, the Democratic Party, etc.”