The future of Donald Trump is before the midterms in the USA

He is back.

Twenty-one months after taking off into the Florida sunset, Donald Trump has reappeared as if his recent absence had been but a brief moment.

In the final days leading up to the US midterm elections, the former president has rushed from one political rally to the next, insulting every Republican who gets in his way and publicly speculating about running again for the White House, for old times’ sake.

Top Republicans urged Trump to wait until after the midterm vote. The concern has been that he could detract from their list of Senate and House candidates poised to provide a shellac to Joe Biden and Democrats fueled by a sluggish economy, poor inflation and post-pandemic malaise.

Trump agreed to wait until after tomorrow’s vote to officially pull the trigger. But last Thursday he was in Iowa and announced he would “very, very, very likely do it again.” OK?” By Saturday, the campaign tease had progressed to a full disclosure, with Trump admitting he would “love to” make the announcement on the spot — but holding back out of respect for the two Pennsylvania Republicans who he should stumble to.

According to US news agency Axios, Trump now expects November 14 for a formal statement — the ideal spot for a post-midterms and pre-Thanksgiving news vacuum.

The calculus for this announcement is simple. Latest polls show a very good night for Republicans on Tuesday is likely, with the GOP poised to take back one, if not both, chambers. Who better to ride the party’s success than Trump?

Over the course of the 2022 election cycle, Trump distributed more than 200 endorsements to Republicans across the country. For some candidates who struggled in their primaries, the Trump seal of approval has a Midas effect, helping dozens claim the nominations. In January, many of them will probably be members of Congress.

The endorsements were supplemented by a late — but not insignificant — payout of cash from Trump’s Make America Great Again super-pac, which has spent more than $16 million while saving the most money for a 2024 run .

On last weekend’s campaign trail, Trump seemed close to his old self, giving his former protégé-turned-potential Republican rival Ron DeSantis (“Ron DeSanctimonious”) a new nickname and announcing polls showing that the former President led the race for the Republican nomination with 71 percent support.

Twenty-one months, a riot in the Capitol and countless legal troubles later, the former president looks little changed. The question is: are the voters?

By the time Trump left the White House nearly two years ago, he was banned from Twitter, his allies were under siege, and his party leadership was desperate to deal with him. Now, a year and a half later, the world may have turned in his favor once again.

As he prepares his awaited announcement, Twitter’s new titan – Elon Musk – is in the process of transforming the social network back into the kind of virtual public space Trump thrived on, free from an army of content moderators hired to spread the word to block fake news . Musk has raised the possibility of letting the former president back onto the platform.

Whether or not Trump decides to run is really beside the point. Even before the announcement, he has re-entered the public consciousness and arena.

It’s hard not to think of the other former leaders who have emerged victorious in recent weeks, from Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu. In the tailwind of a global pandemic, economic shocks, energy supply shocks and war in Europe, we can’t seem to leave the shadows of our past.

courtney.weaver@ft.com

https://www.ft.com/content/d9797cb3-ec36-4a45-b7fc-7b277ee0311b The future of Donald Trump is before the midterms in the USA

Adam Bradshaw

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