This week, many of President Donald Trump's supporters were bitterly disappointed when Attorney General William Barr acknowledged, during an interview with the Associated Press, that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. In Axios, reporter Margaret Talev stresses that with key battleground states having certified their election results and even Barr disputing Trump's election fraud claims, Trump's 2020 campaign has almost run out of oxygen. And according to a separate Axios article by Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen, Trump is making plans to announce his 2024 campaign.
Talev explains, "Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots…. Barr's conclusion that 'we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election' would be a blow enough even if it didn't follow notable public statements from other officials."
BREAKING: Attorney General William Barr tells AP that the Justice Department hasn't uncovered widespread voting fra… https://t.co/wRBqu5ksHI— The Associated Press (@The Associated Press)1606850485.0
Talev notes that the deadline for states to choose their electors is December 8 — Tuesday of next week.
But even if Trump's 2020 campaign is doomed, the campaign's numerous lawsuits and bogus claims of widespread voter fraud serve a useful purpose for the president: firing up his MAGA base. Although President-elect Joe Biden enjoyed a decisive victory — winning 306 electoral votes and defeating Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote — millions of MAGA voters remain true believers. And Trump will need them if he does seek the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.
According to Swan and Allen, "President Trump is likely to announce he'll run again in 2024, perhaps before this term even ends, sources tell Axios…. Trump has already set in motion two important strategies to stay relevant and freeze out other Republican rivals."
Swan and Allen note that according to CNN's Kaitlin Collins, Trump told guests at a White House holiday party, "It's been an amazing four years. We are trying to do another four years. Otherwise, I'll see you in four years."
At a White House Christmas party tonight, President Trump told guests, “It’s been an amazing four years. We are try… https://t.co/6UHSNXJbSG— Kaitlan Collins (@Kaitlan Collins)1606875948.0
Trump claimed he won the election “but they don’t like that.” He asked if people were watching the “fraud hearings”… https://t.co/WVP0xfkCii— Kaitlan Collins (@Kaitlan Collins)1606876037.0
The president, Swan and Allen observe, has raised $170 million for his "Election Defense Fund" — and some of that money can be used for future political activity. Moreover, Trump has said that he will push for the GOP to keep his ally, Ronna Romney McDaniel, as chair of the Republican National Committee.
But some Republicans who are hoping to seek the 2024 GOP presidential nomination flatly reject the idea that Trump is entitled to a coronation four years from now.
A GOP source, presumably interviewed on condition of anonymity, told Axios, "I think he will have more trouble than he can begin to imagine. No one is going to let him have a free pass in the primary. The only question left open is whether the media will give up their addiction to him or not — that will determine a great deal."
Axios asked if the "trouble" that the source was referring to was political trouble, legal trouble or financial trouble, and the source replied, "Yes."