The Republicans are doubling down on trump, as they push trump's Big Lie of the 2020 election being "stolen" and as they exile any Republican official who dares defy that Narrative.
But is that really a good idea?
- There has been no evidence that trump aided Republicans in mid-terms or off-cycle elections in 2018 - he kind of broke even, and overall the Republicans lost control of the House - to where he would be of any help this upcoming 2022 cycle. As the electorate overall tracks further Left into the near future, there's no sign being all-in on trump will be a boon. If all trump has to bring to a rally are his grievances and Big Lie bullshit, it'll be easy service to the trump faithful but not a damn bit of good winning over other voters who'll have the same reasons they had in 2020 to side with the Democrats. The only thing the Republicans will have an advantage in this situation are their voter suppression laws... which may backfire and suppress too many Republican voters instead.
- trump is facing a number of civil court cases (there's so many there's a dedicated Wiki page for them) - he's currently (May 2021) facing three sexual harassment and defamation lawsuits that may see him compelled to give testimony on the stand, and a number of contractual fraud cases involving the trump Corporation - as well as a number of criminal investigations involving state-level tax fraud (New York) and election interference (Georgia) that could well see him on trial by 2022 and in jail by 2024.
- There's still the ongoing legal matter of Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking empire with serious ties to trump and a number of trump allies.
- trump is facing legal scrutiny and possible conspiracy charges involving the January 6 Insurrection. As the Justice Dept. and FBI are rounding up more of the trump-led rioters and presenting evidence of conspiring between the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and other pro-trump groups - follow Emptywheel for more info on all that - there's more and more evidence of trump's closest handlers - hi, Roger Stone! Hi, Michael Flynn! - involved in the planning and staging, increasing the odds the prosecutors can establish links to trump himself. There are good odds trump may not be available to help Republicans if he's tied up with all these legal matters, especially if even one of these cases ends up with him behind bars. Granted, trump has survived avoiding any serious legal punishment in the many years of court cases and bankruptcies and harassment accusations, but he's running out of favors and legal protectors and any cover he once had. trump's facing serious cases now, and his lawyers are running out of tricks.
- Speaking of running out of tricks, trump is also running out of allies. All of the legal nightmares affecting trump are also affecting his inner circle. Who is going to help trump in 2024 if Roger Stone is out of the picture on his current legal battles over back taxes, Steve Bannon is facing a fraud case this year, and Rudy Giuliani under investigation for shenanigans in Ukraine and here at home. There's still Michael Flynn, but he's a serious liability and will be under tight scrutiny if he ever shows up running anything on a future trump campaign.
- For all of trump's bragging about how popular he is, the facts are he's one of the least popular political figures of the last 20-30 years, and both elections - 2016 and 2020 - he LOST the popular vote (by 3 million to Hillary and 6 million to Biden). He only won in 2016 due to the failings of the Electoral College. If trump were going to run again in 2024 - which he could, and like 2016 he'll mow down any opposition in the primaries because his ONLY popularity is with the rabid Far Right base of the GOP - he's going to try something that hasn't happened since Grover Cleveland ran three times and won two separate terms. And Cleveland got away with it because HE was more popular than his opponents all three times: he lost the Electoral College in 1888, in reverse to how trump pulled it off in 2016. There is no sane way trump could pull his EC flip if he's facing the overwhelmingly popular Biden again in 2024.
- One last thing: trump is old and getting older. Yes, he's actually a few years (74) younger than President Biden (78) now, but trump is not in the best of shape, never had been. There still hasn't been a satisfactory answer about his unscheduled visit to Walter Reed in 2019, fueling speculation he's had "mini-strokes" or at least a heart attack. By 2024, trump will be 78, and he's doing nothing as of now to cut back on a lot of his bad habits. By all signs, Biden's doing a better job taking care of himself if he's looking at re-election when he's 82.
Any one of these things under normal political conditions would be a death-knell for the political candidate. Then again, trump has made it a habit of defying the norms and the many ways of crashing due to political gravity.
But the odds can't keep favoring him. trump is too toxic and prone to self-destruction: we've seen that already.
For the Republicans to keep their faith in such a toxic person highlights their party's own toxic nature. This is how far they've sunk. For the Republican Party since 2015 and well into the 2020s, it's been and it's going to be nothing but trumps all the way down.