Could the Trumps Be America's Next Dynasty?
February 23, 2021
Although the prospect of a Trump Restoration is revolting to most Americans, the family is already hatching plans for a comeback. After all, at least 80% of Republican voters still support Donald Trump, despite the savage attack on the Capitol. And Republican Senators’ acquittal of the former President shows that they remain wedded to their Faustian bargain with him. Furthermore, the Man Who Would Be King seems to have visions of a political dynasty for his family, along the lines of the Kennedys and the Bushes. That may seem like a fantasy, but we should not dismiss it out of hand. We have learned that it is dangerous to underestimate Donald Trump.
The Lingering Danger: A Criminal Conviction
Nonetheless, Trump faces some legal perils that could end his political career. Now that he is no longer President, he may be prosecuted on the Federal as well as the state level. If Trump were tried and convicted, most Americans would probably write him off as a crook.
Three prosecutors are considering possible criminal charges:
· Georgia state officials are conducting a criminal inquiry into his phone call with their Secretary of State, whom Trump pressured to “find 11,780 votes”
· The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia is considering whether to indict the former President for his role in instigating the January 6 assault
· The Manhattan District Attorney is investigating Trump’s financial dealings in New York
However, the standard for a criminal conviction is high. Prosecutors must prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt”, and a trial could involve complicated issues regarding Trump’s “intent”.
In any event, Trump’s hard-core supporters would probably dismiss any conviction as “political”, yet another “witch hunt”. They are eager for him to run again for President in 2024.
The Trumps Hold Strong Cards
Assuming that the former President is not convicted, the Trumps have some unusual advantages. Donald Trump has an extraordinary grip on his party. Only 11% of Republicans blame him for the insurrection. A stunning 28% say that his words and actions on that fateful day, January 6, reinforced their positive view of Trump.
Here’s an example of Trump’s hold on the party. Republicans in Arizona censured Gov. Doug Ducey, a Trump supporter, because he certified the election results showing that Joe Biden won. The state Republican leadership was outraged that Ducey had “defied” Trump by refusing to back his claims of election fraud.
Party officials in other states have moved to censure Republican House Members and Senators who voted against Trump in the impeachment proceedings.
An Ample War Chest
The ability to raise funds is, of course, a key factor in U.S. politics. Donald Trump has created a very powerful fund-raising machine. He raised over $200 million after losing the 2020 election and the popular vote. Trump has great discretion on using about $60 million of those funds. It’s a personal war chest.
And Trump still has Fox News and other TV outlets at his service.
Ivanka Is Gearing Up
While he was President, Trump once remarked at a press conference that his daughter Ivanka would be a better President than Kamala Harris. Ivanka may already be laying the groundwork for a political campaign.
Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner recently purchased a large property near Miami for $30 million. The chatter is that Ivanka may establish residency in Florida so she can run for office there, most likely to challenge Senator Marco Rubio in 2022.
Ivanka will certainly have name recognition. Her father’s tax cuts were popular with wealthy Americans who retired to the Sunshine State, and his pro-Israel policies garnered support from many Jewish voters, an important group in Florida.
Still, Ivanka could face a tough fight. Rubio is a member of the Cuban-American community, which is a significant force in Florida politics. He is a native Floridian, too.
For all the attention paid to Ivanka, the family has some other options.
A Senate Run for Lara Trump?
Lara Trump, Eric Trump’s wife, has reportedly been considering for some time a run for a Senate seat in North Carolina, her home state. Senator Richard Burr, a Republican, will retire in 2022, opening up the position.
Lara could be a compelling candidate. She is attractive, telegenic and a polished public speaker. She gave a forceful speech at the Republican National Convention. A former TV producer, Lara handles the press smoothly.
Sen. Burr surprised many people, and undoubtedly outraged Trump followers, by voting to convict the former President. Some Trump backers think that could boost Lara’s chances in a primary. Sen. Lindsey Graham said the “biggest winner of the impeachment trial is Lara Trump” and added, “Burr just made Lara Trump almost the inevitable nominee, if she runs.“
It’s worth noting that Sen. Graham represents South Carolina, not North Carolina. Also, for the last four years Graham has acted more like a P.R. rep for the Trumps than a U.S. Senator.
North Carolina is Purple
Like his colleague Richard Burr, Thom Tillis, the other Senator from North Carolina, has profound misgivings about Donald Trump.
Although Tillis voted to acquit Trump, he noted pointedly that “No President is above the law or immune from criminal prosecution, and that includes former President Trump”. That was not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Trump brand.
Tillis presumably knows his constituents. Although Trump carried North Carolina in 2020, it’s a purple state, split roughly 50/50 between Democrats and Republicans. There is no guarantee that a Republican, let alone a Trump, will win the next Senate race.
Furthermore, Eric and Lara Trump live in the suburbs of New York City. Although they could no doubt easily purchase a house in the Tar Heel state, would voters view Lara as a North Carolinian…or another “carpetbagger” from New York? In any event, Lara has to move quickly if she wants to run, because of the state’s residency requirements for candidates.
Don Trump Jr.: Rock Star for the Right
Donald Trump, Jr. proved wildly popular among President Trump’s hard-core supporters in the 2020 race. He was in high demand as a speaker on the campaign trail.
Like his father, Don Jr. is good at whipping up a crowd and not bothered by petty issues such as truth and accuracy in his statements. Don Jr. has been a right-winger for years, so he is genuinely in tune with the Republican base politically. Unlike Ivanka, he was never a registered Democrat.
In fact, the younger Trump is on the far-right side of the Republican Party, as indicated by the title for his 2019 book “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.”
Don Jr. grew up as a rich playboy but comes across as down to earth in public. An avid hunter and fisherman, he has an easy rapport with rural voters and the gun-rights crowd. Don Jr. is a more natural “fit” with the Republican base than his sister.
Although Don Jr. has not publicly indicated any aspirations for public office, there is speculation he may consider running in upstate New York, Wyoming or another friendly venue.
But A History of Blunders
Despite his appeal to the Republican base and the far right, Don Jr. has some major flaws. He has often shown abysmally poor judgment.
His most striking blunder was setting up the infamous meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower. Don Jr. has also retweeted memes and texts from white supremacists and conspiracy theorists.
In a typical lapse, during the campaign, Don Jr. called Joe Biden a “pederast”, which triggered a lot of negative press. Don Jr. might not be able to get away with such antics as a candidate in his own right.
Worst of all, Don Jr. cannot even pretend that he was a highly successful entrepreneur. His role at the Trump Organization was marginal, to put it charitably. At least he had plenty of time for shooting and fishing.
Their Dream, Our Nightmare
The Trumps’ dream of a dynasty may seem far-fetched, given Donald Trump’s blatant attempts to overturn the election.
But Donald Trump has defied conventional wisdom repeatedly, and he may do so again…particularly with three possible contenders in the next generation.
The Wall Street Democrat