President Donald Trump immediately teased a 2024 White House run after Joe Biden was declared President-elect, propping himself up as the front-runner for the Republican Party. But his leadership within the GOP could partially vanish in the aftermath of the deadly siege from pro-Trump rioters on the U.S. Capitol, as the House voted to impeach the president a second time for “inciting violence,” with some lawmakers even calling on Trump to resign.
Republican support for a non-consecutive Trump term dipped by twelve percent after last week’s assault, according to a Morning Consult-POLITICO poll released Wednesday, with 42 percent of Republicans saying they would vote for Trump in 2024, compared to the 54 percent who said the same in November.
“The events of January 6 will surely have lasting consequences for many politicians and for both political parties, and not least for Donald Trump. The violence at the Capitol has severely damaged Trump’s standing among many people who voted for him and even generally supported him as president,” Ken Kollman, professor and director at the University of Michigan’s Center for Political Studies, said.
Just before to the Capitol attack, thousands of pro-Trump supporters gathered at a “Save America” rally, challenging the election results based on false claims of voter fraud, where Trump vowed, “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen.”
His remarks, along with his hesitancy to act and condemn the rioters, was one of the reasons that the House voted to impeach Trump, making him the first president to be impeached twice by the chamber, which will likely impact his 2024 presidential chances.
Trump argued, however, that his pre-riot speech was “totally appropriate.”
“Trump obviously has a passionate following—a ready-made voter base—but I think that the Republican establishment might take pains to coalesce around another candidate earlier than they did in the 2016 primaries,” Jacob Neiheisel, campaign expert and associate professor of political science at the University of Buffalo, said. “Trump likely knows this, but it isn’t at all clear to me that this would be a deterrent to him if he really wanted to run again.”
Other members of the GOP who are rumored to run in 2024 are Vice President Mike Pence, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Donald Trump Jr., and Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Mo.).
Pence was the only other 2024 Republican presidential prospect to break double-digits in the poll, as he garnered 16 percent of Republican support, compared to the 12 percent in November.
While Trump may be pushed out of the party due to his mismanagement during the last few days of his White House term and the growing number of Republicans who have begun to distance themselves from the president, some experts have suggested that he might decide to form his own third-party based on “Trumpism,” similar to what President Theodore Roosevelt did in the 1912 election when there was stark party division and booming progressivism in partisan politics.
“There is, of course, precedent for a third party run from a former president… when there is a clear divide within one of the major parties. Since the divide within the GOP right now seems to be less about policy and more about personality and style, I think that this might make a third party run likely,” Neiheisel said, noting, “assuming that Trump wants to run again and isn’t barred from holding office again by the Congress.”
Kollman, however, suggested that he doesn’t anticipate Trump starting a new party, and instead, said his run may “drive the creation of a third party of former Republicans and few Democrats who would be considered moderate.”
“My prediction is that Trump is finished as a politician with any chances of office on the national stage,” Kollman added.
The Morning Consult-POLITICO poll was conducted Jan. 8 to 11 among 595 Republican voters, with a four percent margin of error.
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill.