By now, the election is over, and we probably already know who has control of the Senate, the House, Governor’s Mansion, and a host of other seats up locally and nationwide. So yay! - or boo! - depending on your party affiliation. Of course, there are probably some elections that we still don’t have the results for and may not for a while now, so I think we can all agree: grrr.
But let us now turn our attention to the next national election, because for one, this country can’t wait to move on to the next election (though maybe not as much as Israel), and for two, Donald Trump can’t wait, so why should we? As always, Trump has situated himself as the center of attention because, in case you aren’t aware, Donald Trump must have the world revolve around him.
Case in point: Last week, Trump couldn’t wait to start ripping on his potential Republican challenger, Ron DeSantis, by calling him out at a rally. Trump pointed to his poll numbers, which show him significantly more popular amongst Republican voters than DeSantis. Up until five seconds ago, Trump held firm on his stance that the polls are fake, but once one comes out that his him the lead, he believes them. And this is the Trump problem in a nutshell: his ego.
When Trump tells us that he will win, he is not making a prediction; he is telling us that he knows with 100% certainty that he will, in fact, win. Not only is losing not an option, but the only way that it could possibly even happen is if someone cheated him out of it. There is no possible way in the mind of Donald Trump that he could lose in a fair fight. We saw the results of this belief following the 2020 election.
But you know when we did not see this? After the 2016 primaries. Because Trump actually won the 2016 Republican Primary. He also was not really challenged in 2020. He has never had to bear the loss to a Republican and deal with the fallout. If you recall during the 2016 primary debates, when asked who on the stage wouldn’t take the pledge to not run as an Independent, only Trump raised his hand. If you think he wouldn’t do the same in 2024, or worse, never concede the election to begin with, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
And if you think Democrats are not hoping Trump is the nominee, you have another think coming. They spent millions of dollars promoting Trump-aligned candidates this year. They believe he is the beatable one. They know he would be easier to defeat than a disciplined candidate like DeSantis. As we sit here today, there is no Democrat as popular among Democrats as DeSantis is among Republicans. People won’t show up to vote for a Democrat, but they definitely would show up to vote against Donald Trump. We’ve already had four years of Trump. We know what he is all about. More people will want to prevent him from getting back into office than would want to prevent DeSantis. Plus, because Trump absolutely requires everything to be about him, the election would end up being a referendum on Donald Trump, rather than whomever the Democrat is.
But that’s not all. Even if DeSantis manages to pull out a win over Trump, and even if Trump opts to not run as an Independent, there is always the possibility of him turning to spite DeSantis and the Republican Party. All he has to do is tell his most ardent supporters that the Primary was rigged and the election stolen, and that if you are a true patriot, you should just stay home in the 2024 election. And that will have a dramatic effect. Trump has enough sway over his supporters that this would certainly have a significant effect. Don’t believe me? That’s exactly what happened in Georgia in 2020. Trump was upset that the state didn’t claim that there was voter fraud, and told his supporters to stay home for the Georgia runoff for two Senate seats. That’s how we now have two Democrat Senators from Georgia and how the Democrats have a majority in the Senate. All because of Trump’s ego and his unwavering belief that he must win or else he was cheated.
So to recap, there will be one of two options in 2024: Either Trump wins the Primary and makes the election all about himself, driving a mass of humanity to vote who otherwise may not show up, or DeSantis wins and Trump throws a fit because his fragile ego can’t fathom losing, and tells his supporters to stay home. Either way, Republicans need to be aware of the monster they created. Trump never was in this to better the lives of Americans. He is not principled, he is not disciplined. He is a big ball of ego that will smash anything in his path - even his own side.
Izzo Zwiren is the host of The Jewish Living Podcast, where he and his guests delve into any and all areas of Orthodox Judaism.