It’s hard to find someone these days who a) pays attention to Republican politics and b) thinks Donald Trump won’t run for president for the third time in 2024.
But even as Republicans race toward what appears to be that inevitable outcome, there are signs that Trump as the GOP nominee in 2024 is a tough proposition for the party.
There are two such signs in the latest New York Times/Siena College national poll of registered voters.
1) 54% believe that in his actions after the 2020 election, Trump “went so far that he threatened American democracy.” (Only 38% said he was “simply exercising his right to run for office.”)
2) 51% said Trump had “committed serious federal crimes” in regards to the various ongoing investigations against him.
Consider these two data points. A majority of the electorate believe that the former President of the United States actively threatened American democracy and committed federal crimes.
And yet, despite those numbers, Republicans — or at least the Republican base — seem poised to nominate him again for the nation’s highest office.
Which seems, well, like a risk?
(Note: In the Times/Siena poll, Trump takes 42% to Joe Biden‘s 45% in a hypothetical 2024 presidential game.)
The challenge for Republicans is for Trump to stay extremely popular with the GOP base. Which would make it very difficult for anyone – even Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – to knock him down in a primary fight.
But numbers like these should worry Republicans about what they would get with Trump as their nominee. Will voters really support a candidate who they believe has broken federal laws?
Point: Welcome to the Trump conundrum – unbeatable (or close) in a primary and deeply problematic in a general election.