The odds are stacked against Donald Trump's comeback attempt in both the GOP nomination battle and potential general election rematch against Joe Biden, according to a new CNN analysis of the race.
"Former President Donald Trump is giving it another go. He announced last week that he’s trying to become only the second man (after Grover Cleveland) to be elected to non-consecutive terms as US president," CNN senior data correspondent Harry Enten reported. "Trump’s move comes at a time when his political brand is at its weakest point since his first presidential bid in 2015-2016."
Potential 2022 GOP rivals gathered in Las Vegas for the first cattle call of the 2024 election.
"Trump’s announcement earned him the support of very few elected officials on Capitol Hill. It was much more reminiscent of his first bid in 2015-2016, when Trump initially drew little support from lawmakers in Congress. The difference this time, of course, is that Trump is the former leader of the party whom most Republican members of Congress had endorsed in 2020 instead of a political neophyte like he was seven years ago," Enten reported. "Instead, there seems to be about as many senators (one) already backing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as there are for Trump. This is important because endorsements from party officials have historically been correlated with presidential primary success."
Despite the lack of endorsements in 2016, Trump still secured the GOP nomination.
"Trump’s first bid may have been an aberration, though. He was facing off against more than a dozen competitors who split support among the conservative political class," Enten reported. "This is especially a problem in Republican primaries, which tend to be winner-take-all (or most) affairs, unlike Democratic primaries, which award delegates proportionally. Trump needed well less than half of the GOP vote to accumulate a lot of delegates quickly in 2016."
Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis may currently be the best positioned to beat Trump, Enten wrote.
"First, Florida is Trump’s home state too, and it’s the only place where the two men are on equal footing in terms of name recognition. DeSantis’ lead is a sign that as Republicans nationwide get to know him better, they could move toward him," Enten reported. "Second, Trump won Florida in the 2016 primaries against home-state Sen. Marco Rubio. The fact that DeSantis is now besting him there in the polls is arguably an indication that Trump is in a weaker position than he had been in 2016."
Enten concluded, "the bottom line is that Trump’s got an uphill climb ahead of him for 2024 – both in a GOP primary and in a general election. He can certainly win a second term, but the odds are currently against him."
Read the full analysis.