When a party loses the White House, the new crop of presidential confidence usually begins to move quickly to lay the groundwork for a run in the next campaign.
Not this year.
President Donald Trump’s blatant flirtations to run again in 2024 are crippling a wide field of Republican candidates.
Instead of accessing fundraisers, building networks and visiting early voting states – the usual campaign planning steps – GOP needs White House believers to see what Mr Trump will do next to annoy him and risk disrupting his large and loyal base.
This is the way the president wants it, making sure he gets the attention he wants and creating the money and media coverage he wants.
But strategists say Mr Trump is essentially leaving the party because candidates are not ready because they are trying to avoid passing an unforgiving president, who is a huge Twitter bullshit and tolerant of loyalty.
Alex Connaught, a Republican activist who served as communications director for Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign, said “Trump is significantly delaying the start of the 2024 campaign.”
In a casual campaign cycle, Mr Connaught said he will see presidential candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire this month.
But this year is different, he said.
Trump is flagging another run for the presidency
Grover Cleveland was the only president to win the White House after being defeated in the re-election, as it was a century ago.
Mr Trump has been vocal about his willingness to go that route.
“I don’t want to wait until 2024. I want to go back three weeks,” he told a rally in Georgia on Saturday.
This follows Mr Trump’s recent remarks at a White House Christmas party: “We’ve trying to do it for four more years, otherwise, in four years, I’ll see you.”
‘Trump is a loser’
Such comments are particularly critical to current and former executives who are considered rivals, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former United Nations Ambassador Nicky Haley.
There has been radio silence from all three that Mr. Trump may run again on his claims.
Since Twitter recently issued a warning in one of its tweets saying “election fraud is happening”, Ms Haley has been quiet on social media about Mr Trump’s many legal challenges to overturning the results.
He continues to praise the work of the Trump administration and criticizes democratic policy, but he rarely mentions Mr. Trump.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has overcome Mr Trump’s legal challenges since day one and has been heavily involved in the Pennsylvania case over postal-voting, saying he is prepared to present an oral argument in court if necessary.
The Pennsylvania case is one of about 50 court challenges that Mr. Trump and his allies have come up with in an attempt to overturn decisions in the swing states. President-elect Joe Biden has won – mainly in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
More than 30 have been rejected or abandoned.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers and judges involved in the remaining challenges The safe port is trying to close the remaining cases before the deadline.
The president’s suggestions that he might run again will also affect the long list of other Republicans who will have to win most of Trump’s base to capture the GOP nomination.
That includes Arkansas senators Tom Cotton and Florida’s Rick Scott.
Missouri Senator Josh Howley, who is seen as a viable candidate, has already said he would support Mr Trump running again.
Brendan Buck, a Republican strategist who has worked for the last two Republican speakers in the House, says this leaves all potential candidates in a tight spot.
“The truth is, they all have to go with it, because they know if it’s in two years or six years, and whenever they see it running again, the worst thing you can have among primary voters is against Donald Trump,” Mr Buck said.
“It is in their best interest to point out that Trump is a loser,” he said, adding that “most of them are provoking themselves,” trying to deny it.
Do voters want a Trump alternative?
Republican Governor Larry Hogan of the Republican Party, who emerged as one of Mr Trump ‘s fiercest critics during the Corona virus epidemic, has urged the president to acknowledge Mr Biden for the good of the party.
He often clarified the election circus on social media, instead tweeting primarily about the health crisis.
He said he had written to the Biden-Harris Interim Committee to seek bipartisan support for the Govt relief.
Mr Hogan acknowledged that in 2024 he could really benefit from presenting himself as a legitimate alternative to Mr Trump’s maneuver.
“There are going to be 10 or 15 people who want to be the next Donald Trump and very few people who want to move in a different direction from Trump,” Mr Hogan said in a recent interview, saying he did not think Trump would run again.
Mr Hogan acknowledged Mr Trump’s popularity with the Republican Party, and argued that this year’s election results made it clear that Americans were less likely to vote for another Mr Trump and “less for the general conservative people willing to work across the aisle.”
“This is not a rejection of all Republicans or a total acceptance of radical left policies.”
Republicans were urged to reconvene and highlight
Some Republicans believe the president’s freeze is a good thing, preventing infighting among many rivals who are considering running.
Others worry that Mr. Trump is preventing Republicans from engaging in post-election reckoning, particularly about the future of the failing party.
This includes looking at why the party lost and what needs to be done differently to win over voters.
It has been exacerbated by Mr Trump’s refusal to accept the election results and his unsubstantiated allegations of mass voter fraud that obscured the reality of Mr Biden’s decisive victory.
“Despite a historic loss, there is no intention in the party. On the contrary, the waiting leaders are doubling down,” Mr Buck said.
Trump is raising m 200 million after the defeat
It is suspected that Mr Trump, who ran several times before 2016, will go with another campaign.
But disturbing his expectations will help him attract attention and raise money that he can use to travel and get extra help.
He has already raised more than $ 200 million since his election day defeat, thanks to endless requests for a portion of that money to go to his new political committee and for contributions to an “election security fund.”
“His agenda is to raise money for these calculations and lawsuits, to have the money to shut down the domain by 2024, and to have an efficient proxy and disbursement of money by 2022,” said GOP donor Dan Eberhardt.
For now, the 2024 prospects are likely to turn heads and turn their attention to Georgia, where a couple of elections next month will determine which party controls the Senate.
After that, the focus will shift to 2022 as potential candidates try to increase their profiles by helping candidates in competing House, Senate and State House races.
But the lack of overt jogging to date has left Mr Trump’s critics confused.
“People should jump in the ring and fight him, and make the argument that it’s time for the party to walk away from him,” said Jennifer Horn, a former New Hampshire Republican leader.
ABC / AB