Hear me out: Trump won't run again

The third reason I doubt a Trump candidacy will actually materialize is that even as he remains the most popular figure in the Republican party, there are many, many signs that GOP voters are already starting to want something different in 2024. According to a recent NYT Sienna poll, Trump’s national polling share of the total vote in a widely contested primary is under 50 percent, with his closest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, rising up to 25 percent. Another recent Suffolk University/USA TODAY found that DeSantis actually leads Trump when GOP voters’ first and second choices are combined. So, if the Republican field were to narrow quickly enough—unlike what happened during the 2016 Republican primary—DeSantis would currently have the advantage over Trump. Perhaps more importantly, there have been a number of state polls showing DeSantis ahead of Trump, including in the home state of both men, the critical early primary state, Florida, as well as in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.

Further signals that GOP primary voters—and the party elites—will crave something new in 2024 abound. They include: a recent set of focus group surveys published in the Atlantic showing Trump voters cooling to a 2024 candidacy; editorials by the very conservative editorial boards of two Rupert Murdoch-controlled newspapers in recent days beseeching the party to move on for Trump in the wake of continued Jan. 6 revelations; numerous reports that GOP megadonors have stopped giving money to Trump and are turning to other candidates, with a focus on DeSantis; and a set of embarrassing primary defeats for Trump-endorsed candidates in key swing states.

My final reason for not believing Trump will mount a serious candidacy for the presidency in 2024? I think that deep down Trump knows he lost in 2020 and knows that there are decent odds he will lose again in 2024. Being tarnished as a two-time loser would be too devastating to his psyche to risk it.