I’ll be the first to admit that I was most definitely not on Trump Train in 2016. In fact, throughout the majority of the 2016 election season, I was a staunch opponent of Trump.
No, I wasn’t a Never Trumper. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that things wouldn’t work out. I was convinced he was only running to satisfy his ego. I strongly believed he would be detrimental to the Republican Party. I was also suspicious of him, worrying that he was a closet New York liberal. As far as I was concerned, Trump had no chance of winning. In fact, after he secured the nomination, I was convinced the election was over.
I was looking forward to Barack Obama’s presidency coming to an end, but I had no hope for the future. A Clinton victory was tantamount to a third Obama term. Even though Mitch McConnell had successfully delayed Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, his efforts would be for naught in the end. So, the impending election of Hillary Clinton meant losing the White House and the inevitable replacement of Justice Antonin Scalia with a radical left-wing justice.
I had every intention of voting for someone besides Trump in 2016. But after FBI Director James Comey ended the investigation into Hillary’s email scandal, I’d finally seen enough to make me realize that if she were to win the election, it would be the same as giving her a permission slip for corruption on top of pursuing a radical left-wing agenda. I was finally on the Trump Train.
Still, it was a long Election Day. I believed Trump was destined to lose, and I couldn’t shake that feeling. But he not only prevailed, he proved to be an effective leader for conservatives. It’s a travesty that the outcome of the 2020 election will be permanently tainted with skepticism. And for the longest time, I wanted nothing more than for Trump to get his revenge in 2024, as it became apparent that the proof of election irregularities and voter fraud wasn’t going to get its day in court.
But today, I am not excited about Trump officially announcing his candidacy. I didn’t even watch his announcement. I’ve seen clips, however, and I admit it’s hard not to get a little tinge of excitement when he stays disciplined and on message. Imagine how much better things would be if he were still in office.
However, this time around, my chief concern is how Trump’s candidacy will impact the party. Despite his effective and successful presidency, he remains a divisive figure in the GOP — for which he bears a significant portion of the blame. He feels entitled to the nomination, so much so that he’s been attacking fellow Republicans, and he announced his campaign a week after the midterm elections to ward off potential primary challengers. I’d have felt better about it had he waited until after the Georgia runoff election.
But Trump is now officially in. His candidacy is something we no longer have to speculate about. Who else will run? Who knows? Trump’s star has faded since he left office, and Trump fatigue may make alternative candidates more palatable. He comes with a lot of baggage, and sometimes I’m unsure if our country wants that.
That said, I’ve been wrong about Trump in the past. I could be wrong again. But my chief concerns about Trump cast a dark cloud over the next two years.