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The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Trump’s Announcement Shows Why He Shouldn’t Be the GOP Nominee in 2024

Trump presented his vision for America in his announcement, but is it too little too late?
Photo Courtesy / YouTube CBS 8 San Diego

In John Wayne’s last movie “The Shootist,” released in 1976, a little under three years before his death, the legendary actor plays an old gunslinger facing terminal cancer. Seeing as he’s faced with the prospect of death, a good portion of the film focuses on Wayne and his character J.B. Books’ reminiscing on his life, showing clips from past films. 

Former President Donald Trump’s announcement of his 2024 run for the White House went much like that. He reminisced on his work on renegotiating trade deals with Mexico and Canada, the price of gas, geopolitical relationships with Russia and China and the unemployment rates of different minority groups under his presidency.

But this isn’t the same Trump we’ve seen since he lost the 2020 election to President Biden. 

At his announcement, Trump laid out a policy agenda, pledging to have better trade deals, ending our supply chain’s reliance on China, a ban on congressional stock trading and principles of small government and self determination among other actual ideas. 

Contrast that with his past statements, where he openly ignored policy in favor of spreading theories about election fraud in 2020, of which has no basis in fact, as proven by Republican-led investigations.

In Wayne’s last film, he gives Ron Howard’s character a code of laws from the wild country: “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid-a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”

Wronged and insulted are just two of many grievances that Trump has committed towards not just members of his own party, but independents and moderate conservatives who want policy ideas, not fictitious stories of election fraud.

When Trump spoke at his announcement, he had the same tone as a man who spent the last night drinking too much booze, now awake and hungover, regretting what he’d done the night before. 

He managed to keep the election conspiracies to a minimum, but still accused China for meddling in our election for some reason and called for election day to be one day only and a transition to exclusively paper ballots for voting. 

Should those ever be implemented, it could disenfranchise voters unable to make it to a polling site, such as rural populations, who tend to lean more conservative.

But the idea that American society will view Trump as a reinvented man will take longer than the roughly 700 days until the 2024 election. Voters reminded him of that in the 2022 midterm elections.

If you want to know why the “Red Wave” never materialized, it was largely in part because of Donald Trump’s offputting candidates who left a sour taste in the mouths of independent voters. It’s almost like him inciting a riot after losing might’ve made his endorsement toxic. 

He spent the 2022 midterms shoving away moderate conservatives from easy wins. He traded Washington Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler for the socialist Joe Kent, because she defied him by voting for impeachment. Kent lost.

Trump endorsed former news anchor Kari Lake, who repeatedly pushes false election theories, over Businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson. Lake lost.

If 2022 proved anything, it’s that voters want normal politicians. That’s why, despite Republicans losing most statewide races in Arizona, running entire campaigns centered around alleged election fraud, Republican State Treasurer Kimberly Yee won by over 250,000 votes, or a 12 percent margin. 

That’s impressive for a purple state and debunks the claims that somehow the votes were “rigged” by Democrats. Judging by her campaign video when she did plan to run for governor, Yee is undoubtedly conservative, she just didn’t let conspiracies dictate her campaign.

Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger were actually rewarded by voters for staying true to their principles and standing up to Trump, while Herschel Walker’s future remains in doubt. New Hampshire’s governor Chris Sununu outran his state’s Republican senate candidate by a significant margin. Noticing a pattern?

The list could extend infinitely, but it’s a direct rebuke of Trump’s election fraud conspiracies. If his endorsed candidates talked policy like he did last night, the midterms would be different.

Republicans getting a new leader should be the focus of any center-right voter in America. Even if you despise Republicans and think that their policies are silly, it’s hard to disagree that democracy works better when candidates debate policy, not conspiracy.

Governors like Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin or Florida’s Ron Desantis show what staying off social media and focusing on governing can do. Governor Youngkin enjoys a 50% approval rating in a blue state and Governor Desantis won Florida, formerly a purple state, by well over 1.5 million votes last week

Just one week ago, Trump made racist comments towards Youngkin, alleging that he’s Chinese, calling Mitch McConnell’s wife slurs and making his least creative nicknames for  DeSantis. Is he really a changed man?

In an ideal world, Trump wouldn’t be announcing a third run. He would spend more time with his family and enjoy retirement. Over the weekend, the former President was at his Mar-A-Lago resort for his daughter Tiffany’s wedding. Raising children is beautiful, but seeing them grow to raise their own families is priceless. It’s time to call it a wrap, Mr. President. I hear that Florida sun is beautiful this time of year anyways.

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About the Contributor
Sergio Padilla
Sergio Padilla, Opinion Editor
Sergio is a junior journalism and business administration student currently serving as Opinion Editor. He joined The Torch in 2021 as a contributing writer. He is born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Outside of The Torch, Sergio has bylines in the San Antonio Business Journal and Pensions & Investments. When he's not writing, you can find him at the gym, watching cowboy movies or in line at Dunkin' Donuts. Sergio can be reached at [email protected]
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