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Perhaps the beginning of the end

Melvin B. Miller

One week after suffering a sound defeat in the midterm election, Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency. That seemed to numerous political pundits like bad timing. Even so-called Trumpites could not be enthusiastic about another campaign before the wounds of 2022 have healed. It also seemed to be unwise to distract attention from the Georgia encounter to determine whether Herschel Walker or incumbent Raphael Warnock will be the U.S. senator.

Probably, like many Trump decisions, personal advantage, rather than national or political party interest, was the greatest basis for the decision. The attorney general has been investigating Trump’s conduct to consider whether a criminal indictment is justified. Such decisions are not taken before elections so that the DOJ cannot be accused of acting with political intent.

That protection has been gone since the Wednesday after the election. Trump has also failed to comply with a subpoena to submit documents and appear before the house committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. His status as a presidential candidate also raises some litigable issues. However, the fundamental strategy is for Trump to declare early, and work to retain his base of supporters, so that other Republicans will find it difficult to enter the race.

A person with Trump’s record would not ordinarily consider such a candidacy. Trump was impeached twice, he supported the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol, a Congressional investigation has concluded that Trump had organized a massive insurrection of the nation’s democratic government. And now, with voters turning against him, Trump is under pressure to retain the support and enthusiasm of his adherents.

Trump realizes that it is terminal to his objectives to be branded a loser. As he began his earlier march to the White House, he shocked many citizens when he branded America’s consummate military hero, Sen. John McCain, as a loser. When McCain was shot down as a naval pilot and was imprisoned, he chose to stay with his men rather than to accept an early release. It was shocking that Trump could survive such a comment.

As they say, the chickens are coming home to roost. It appears now that a Trump endorsement is a political kiss of death.

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