This article first appeared at betting.betfair.com on 10th November, 2022
It is time to ask the question yet again, at least six years after first asking it. Is Donald Trump finished?
I wrote a piece with that exact title in February, covering his ever-growing mountain of legal threats and increasing lack of cover. It stands up very well today. All the cases have escalated. The legal process moves on. Yet until a few days ago, money was pouring in at ever shorter odds for him to win the 2024 Election.
Trump usurped by DeSantis
That trend has reversed markedly in the wake of the midterm election results. As reported yesterday in Politics Live, Trump was the big loser on Tuesday night. Conservative commentators and publications drew the same conclusion. Check out Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post.
The Republican establishment now believe they have a superior candidate in Ron DeSantis, whose 20% margin re-election in Florida sent the strongest signal possible. Bettors certainly heard it, driving his odds down from 6.2 to 3.6 today. He and Trump are both trading around 2.6 for the GOP nomination now.
What happens next?
Trump is apparently set to proceed with his plan to launch a 2024 bid next week. The co-ordinated noise from Murdoch outlets seem an attempt to convince him otherwise. Here’s my take on the sequence to follow.
Trump will declare. Even if running proves futile, he will earn fortunes from donations, which will help pay what will become an ever-vaster legal bill. Perhaps Elon Musk will reactivate Trump’s Twitter account, although he has also expressed support for DeSantis previously.
Regardless, Trump will be back in the game. More extreme, unhinged and uncontrollable than ever. Ron ‘DeSanctimonius’ will get the same treatment previously used to destroy Lyin’ Ted, ‘Little Marco’ Rubio and ‘Crooked’ Hillary Clinton. Russian bots and trolls will be unleashed.
Trump’s playbook is outdated
This will all take place at a stage in the 2024 election process before anyone else has declared. It will look and sound ridiculous. Yesterday Trump tried to organise a protest in Michigan, but nobody showed up. The tricks only work for so long.
Without the Murdoch empire, Trump will struggle to amplify this campaign. Perhaps he will get the treatment they have dished out to opponents of their preferred candidates in the past. Rather than live, rolling coverage of his rallies, viewers will get short clips of the most bizarre and extreme segments.
Legal troubles will take their toll
CNN’s exit poll on Tuesday night showed just 39% approval for Trump, and 58% disapproval. I don’t envisage any way that Trump improves that position in the months ahead, as the news cycle gets ever worse.