Trump's re-election loss has him thinking 'smarter' -- and becoming more dangerous: columnist
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Donald Trump may have refined his approach to politics in the year since he was ousted from the White House by voters.

"One of Trump's chief characteristics as president was that he wasn't very good at his job. He spent too much time watching Fox News and raging on Twitter and sometimes seemed to think his chief role in the Oval Office was to tangle with the media — he was a man who loved attention but didn't seem much interested in doing the work," Joel Mathis wrote for The Week. "Trump will always be Trump. He's 75 years old; it's a bit much to expect major changes in his approach or outlook at his age. Still, there are signs that as he prepares for a likely 2024 run to recapture the presidency, he's taking a smarter, more systematic approach to acquiring and using power — and, perhaps more importantly, that his party is shaping itself to accommodate him."

Mathis noted Trump is focused on Senate races and moving to replace Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

"Trump made clear last week that he's taking a keen interest in statewide races for officials who will oversee vote counting in 2024. "We have to be a lot sharper the next time when it comes to counting the vote," he said in a video for Pennsylvania Republicans. 'Sometimes the vote counter is more important than the candidate. They have to get a lot tougher and smarter.' Trumpist candidates for secretary of state are raising record amounts of cash for their campaigns," he wrote.

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He noted a QAnon-linked effort to run a slate of Secretary of State candidates including Rachel Hamm is running in California, Jim Marchant in Nevada, Kristina Karamo in Michigan, Mark Finchem in Arizona, and Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) in Georgia.

"Trump became president in 2016 almost by accident, carried along by his celebrity and Twitter mania into a job he clearly didn't expect to hold. It showed. Heading into 2024, though, it appears the former president has a better idea of where the levers of power are, as well as a Republican Party more willing to help him push them," Mathis wrote. "That doesn't mean he'll be successful: His impulses have always overwhelmed his efforts at self-discipline in the past. But Trump may not have to be that much smarter or cunning to become more effective at pursuing his goals."

Read the full column.

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