Trump 2024: Presidential Campaign or Revenge Tour?

Steamrolling through the Republican primaries, for some time former President Donald J. Trump has known he will be the 2024 GOP nominee.

For an even longer period of time that despicably continues, Mr. Trump has been persecuted by the left for the sin of being elected president and—gasp!—being a Republican populist. (Spare me the argument that Mr. Trump is not a Republican, as he sought and has won the GOP nomination.)

That Mr. Trump believes his persecution by the left and this GOP primary win are entwined is inarguable. Consequently, it is understandable that he employs his current rhetoric regarding “revenge,” be it his own and/or his supporters.

Understandable, however, is not the same as helpful, particularly heading into a tight general election where every vote will be critical to victory, and the left is doing its level best to unlevel the electoral playing field.

Thus, the timely query: when will Mr. Trump’s revenge tour turn into a presidential campaign?

In his March 7th, American Greatness article, “Trump Is Right: His Best Revenge Will Be His Success: A Successful Trump Term Will Be Retribution against the Left,” Mr. Jeremey Frankel does a stellar job explaining why Mr. Trump’s messaging focus on “revenge” and “retribution,” despite its echoes of solipsistic coarseness, has positive public policy implications for voters. Indeed, he goes further by getting to the heart of the matter by positing the most important questions regarding this vengeful messaging:

It would be understandable for anyone who has seen what Trump and his supporters have been through over the last nine years…to ask why Trump would seemingly want to take the high road here. Why let the persecutors get away and not have a dose of their own medicine?

In short, will Trump ‘be our retribution?’

However, this might not be the right question, as the two are not mutually exclusive in the slightest. In fact, they go hand in hand.

‘Revenge,’ in this context, will consist of Trump simply keeping his promises, which, by definition, will set the left back tremendously.

This is a perfectly suitable answer for Mr. Trump’s supporters. Yet, for those who do not yet support Mr. Trump, such as some Republicans and independent voters, the problem is that Mr. Frankel is having to do Mr. Trump’s job for him. Bluntly, as the standard bearer for the Republican Party, it is incumbent upon Mr. Trump to explain why his policies are beneficial to all Americans. If your campaign rhetoric requires contextualizing, you are going to lose. “Bigly.”

True, in every primary there is an element of internecine battle, and rhetoric can become heated both against one’s intra- and inter-party rivals to secure the nomination. Such heated rhetoric is usually cooled by the nominee (if not their advocates) to unite their party, garner a majority of undecided voters, and win the general election. This has not been the case to date with Mr. Trump’s messaging.

Yes, the left loathes Mr. Trump, and the “retribution” they seek is against him. Yes, large numbers of his GOP primary voters are seeking varying degrees of “revenge” and “retribution” against the leftist forces destroying everything they cherish, including Mr. Trump. Both of these groups know the context of Mr. Trump’s “revenge” rhetoric. In fact, undecided voters are unaware of Mr. Trump’s political persecution. The question is whether they care about it or, worse, welcome it.

Thus, Mr. Trump’s promise to be his primary voters’ instrument of revenge, retribution, and justice is counterproductive to winning the 2024 presidential election. Such rhetoric plays into the hands of the left’s smear merchants, furthering their paranoiac depictions of Mr. Trump as a chaotic, impulsive, and vindictive would-be dictator. This, even as this failed leftist administration is attacking—often in collusion with multinational corporations—such fundamental, God-given, and constitutionally protected rights such as freedom of conscience, religion, and speech and wreaking havoc through its spendthrift policies and inflation with American families’ budgets and finances.

These are but some of the momentous stakes in the 2024 presidential election. Americans already have a petty, divisive, and vindictive leftist in the oval office. Offering to return a petty, divisive, and vindictive GOP populist to the oval office may not have the appeal to voters that Mr. Trump’s supporters think.

Americans are not a vengeful people. We are an aspirational people. The vast majority of undecided GOP and independent voters are not looking for a president vowing revenge or retribution against anyone or to be their unilateral arbiter of justice. They are looking for sane, sound governance by their elected servants to transcend the insanity of the age. It is past time for the GOP’s decidedly “unhappy warrior” to transcend his travails and positively affirm why he is the best candidate, not just for his loyal supporters but for all Americans.

After all, the best “revenge” is living well. But if Mr. Trump’s lack of impulse control and vindictive calls for vengeance continue, no amount of contextualization will prevent his defeat—and, with him, the entire GOP populist agenda. Then, come 2025, only the left will be living well.

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) served Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003-2012, and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars; and a Monday co-host of the “John Batchelor Radio Show,” among sundry media appearances.

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

Photo: Palm Beach, Florida - March 5: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a Super Tuesday election night party on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (Photo by Jabin Botsford /The Washington Post via Getty Images)