At the same time, Republican presidential contenders are not going to throw away their shot and clear the field for Trump. Some, such as Senator Ben Sasse and Governor Larry Hogan, have already tried to distance themselves from the latest antics. Others have either defended Trump’s claims or took a more silent acquiescence, such as Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley or former Governor Nikki Haley. But come the run-up to 2024, we can be sure that they will not let Trump’s position get in the way of their own ambitions.
Despite his current effort to declare himself a winner with baseless fraud claims, Trump may not face such a forgiving Republican electorate in 2024. Right now, Trump is viewed as an unstoppable colossus of the Republican Party, and is frequently seen as someone who is not bound by any historical precedent. Perhaps that happens with him. But he may very well follow the pattern of past one-term presidents. The party faithful may blame the former president for their failure to win. For Republicans, continuing to push for Trump could lead to a new concern – the fact that previous former presidents choose the third party route when denied the nomination, leading to a split in the next election.
Trump’s current flirtation with a third presidential run in 2024 may be a way of staying relevant or providing an out when his current effort to dispute this election fails. But for both Trump and the Republicans, there is reason to believe that a third try could be the road to ruin.