Behind Trump’s Huge Support Linger Doubts On Electability

Every time Donald Trump has more criminal charges levelled against him, we all try to work out what this might mean for his campaign to be re-elected president.

So far each indictment has seen Mr Trump’s poll ratings increase.

Every arraignment brings in more campaign donations – which is lucky as those funds are also being used to pay his legal fees.

So it seems clear that grassroots Republicans are doubling down on Mr Trump and boosting his chances of winning the party’s nomination to be their presidential candidate.

Among the foot soldiers of the Republican movement, the people who will be out campaigning in the next election, who do they think is most likely to win back the White House?

Skyler Akins
Image caption, Skyler Akins (right) wants a candidate who is younger and more vivacious – but will campaign for Mr Trump if he wins the nomination


In Marietta, Georgia, I went a Republican breakfast event where party members gathered over grits and gravy along with bacon and eggs.

A straw poll asking who should be the party’s presidential nominee gave Mr Trump 68.5% of the vote. This is a supportive crowd who largely believe he is an innocent man.

William Spencer says he thinks the only reason charges are being brought against Mr Trump now, two-and-a-half years after the election, is to stop him being returned to the White House.

“They are actually interfering with him executing a campaign and trying to be elected,” he said. “I do believe that that’s the only reason this is happening. And that is election interference.”

Salleigh Grubbs is the chair of the Cobb County Republican party. She reckons that Mr Trump can handle fighting four court cases and an election campaign at the same time.

“He’s a fighter, he’s used to fighting, he’s been fighting for years. So I think he’ll have no problem,” she said.

And she thinks the latest indictment proves that Donald Trump is correct when he says: “They are not after me. They are after you. I’m just standing in the way.”

Salleigh Grubbs
Image caption, Salleigh Grubbs says Mr Trump can balance his legal fights and his campaign together

Across the state of Georgia, party activists are trying to balance their sympathy for the former president’s legal predicaments with a hard assessment of who is most likely to win election to the White House in 2024.

At a wine-tasting fundraiser event in Atlanta, younger Republican activists do recognise that President Joe Biden won more votes in this state in 2020.

They worry that if Trump is their candidate once again the result will be the same in 2024.

Gabe Hartwig told me he will vote for anyone other than Mr Trump in the Georgia primary.

“He lost the last election. I think he has the least chance to win against our current president, and as a Republican, I want to see our Republican candidate win,” said Mr Hartwig.

Like many others I spoke to, Skyler Akins said he is not supporting Mr Trump to become the Republican candidate – but if wins the nomination, he will campaign for him.

“I would like to just see fresh new blood. I’m tired of having 70- and 80-year-old presidents,” he said.

“I think we have a talented group of people that are much younger, much more vivacious that could take our country to a really good place. And also feel like we need someone that’s more forward looking.”

Gabe Hartwig
Image caption, Gabe Hartwig is voting for anyone other than Mr Trump in Georgia’s primary election next year


Allen English is president of the Atlanta Young Republicans.

He reminded me that candidates who were personally backed by Mr Trump in the 2022 midterm elections – and who repeated his lies about a stolen election – were soundly beaten.

“If he were to get the nomination, I certainly would hope that he could win because he will be better than Joe Biden,” he said. “But I will be very concerned in 2024 If Donald Trump is our nominee.”

Voters generally want to talk about the future not the past. Look forward not backward. Focusing too much on what happened in the 2020 election could be a good way to lose in 2024.

That is why even people who think Mr Trump would make a great president again are concerned he might not be the best candidate to help his party re-take the White House.

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