Donald Trump added to his commanding lead in the polls for the GOP's presidential nomination last week after he was slammed with 34 felony counts by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg – but that isn't scaring off rivals for the top of the 2024 ticket.
Reacting to South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott's announcement this week that he is forming an exploratory committee for his own presidential run, Bloomberg political analyst Jonathan Bernstein suggested Republicans see the former president as a fading star who can be beaten.
Noting that Scott refused to answer whether he feels he can successfully take on Trump, Bernstein wrote that his announcement, with more candidates expected to jump into the fray, indicates his rivals smell blood in the water.
"That all these candidates are moving forward indicates they believe the contest is up for grabs, which means that they are hearing that message from people active within the Republican Party," he wrote before adding, "traditional politicians like Scott and [Nikki] Haley care about their reputations and would be reluctant to move further down the campaign trail if the signs pointed strongly to one candidate."
Pointing out that Trump has a rabid base of viewers who would vote for him, even if he was in jail, Bernstein claimed it might not be enough in a contested primary.
"For a former president and two-time nominee, the opposition he faces from some within the Republican Party is apparently convincing enough to Scott and others that they think taking him on is a viable option," he wrote. "And that’s before we see how Trump’s legal trouble plays out."
Adding the caveat that there is no way of knowing if Scott could win in the primaries and that it is highly unlikely -- he suggested, "But what Scott is hearing must suggest that Trump isn’t a sure thing and that DeSantis isn’t a beloved second choice. That’s a situation that Scott — or one of the other seeming longshots — could capitalize on."
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