Increasing numbers of Trump supporters look towards post-Trump future

By | February 23, 2023

The Washington Post reports:

One recent snowy evening at a gun range in the middle of Michigan, the police showed up at a meeting of the Saginaw County Republican Party that unraveled into a shouting match — the latest flare-up in a power struggle between loyalists to Donald Trump and people like Josiah Jaster.

The 20-year-old insurance actuary, dressed up in a coat and tie, had been working with allies to elect a less Trump-centric slate of delegates to the upcoming state convention. By the end of the night, they had won 36 out of 37 spots, wresting some influence back from the die-hard pro-Trump crowd who had claimed party leadership positions last fall. Both camps tipped off the police that the meeting could get heated — and it did — but officers made no arrests and mainly watched from the back of the room where some of Jaster’s opponents stewed.

“I and a lot of other Republicans who were supportive of President Trump are becoming less and less supportive,” Jaster said. “Not because I’m a ‘Never Trumper.’ I just don’t believe Trump is the best person to move this party forward.”

That distinction is reshaping the Republican base as the 2024 presidential primary kicks off. The MAGA vs. RINO dichotomy that defined the GOP for much of the last eight years is increasingly obsolete. In its place, a new dynamic emerged from interviews with more than 150 Trump supporters across five pivotal electoral states. In between Republicans who remain firmly committed or opposed to the former president, there’s now a broad range of Trump supporters who, however much they still like him, aren’t sure they want him as the party’s next nominee.

The foremost reason is electability. Even Republicans who said they still supported Trump and believed his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen acknowledged doubts on whether he could defeat President Biden or another Democrat in 2024. “They’ve put so much doubt and mistrust in the people’s minds that he might have a hard time winning,” said Mark Goodman, a retired FedEx driver who lives in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga., and remains a staunch supporter.

It’s not the first time that Trump supporters have admitted their misgivings. But during his presidency, the only choices were to be with him or against him, so they stuck with him.

Now there is a new option — a way to still support Trump as the 45th president without being sold on him as the party’s best shot at becoming the 47th. Not anti-Trump, or even non-Trump — just post-Trump. That’s how 70 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents could have a favorable view of Trump in a Marquette Law School poll last month, while the same survey found Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) beating him 64 percent to 36 percent in a hypothetical one-on-one matchup. [Continue reading…]

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