A common refrain heard after the midterms is that Donald Trump might be finished as the top dog in the GOP. In a New York Times essay, former aide Kellyanne Conway suggests wishful thinking is in play among his obsessed enemies as she makes the case that "Trump Derangement Syndrome" is real. "Shrugging off Mr. Trump’s 2024 candidacy or writing his political obituary is a fool’s errand—he endures persecution and eludes prosecution like no other public figure," she writes. "That could change, of course, though that cat has nine lives." Conway makes clear, however, that 2024 is not 2016—"it's tough to be new twice"—and that Trump's path to reelection will not be a breeze given the "serious and substantive men and women" who are potential Republican opponents.
Any of the them would be better than President Biden, she writes. But "until one faces the klieg lights, and is subjected to raw, relentless, often excessive scrutiny, and unfair and inaccurate claims, there is no way to suss out who possesses the requisite metal and mettle." Some key points: The perception that Trump-backed candidates underperformed in the midterms? Overstated. The sentiment that supporters want Trump's policies without Trump the man? It "may not be possible to have one without the other." Trump's 2020 campaign was riddled with "disastrous mistakes" as he lost support in key demographics, writes Conway. "Success lies in having advisers who tell you what you need to know, not just what you want to hear." (Read the full essay.)