Inside the Beltway: 2024: Yep, Trump’s ready to run again

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So is President Trump going to run again in 2024? Chatter about the possibility is intensifying as the 2020 election hangs in the lurch and rumors percolate. Axios reported on Nov. 9 that Mr. Trump was already discussing a second run. NBC News has claimed the president plans to kick off his campaign on Inauguration Day rather than appear at the Capitol to acknowledge presumed President-elect Joseph R. Biden‘s victory.

Mr. Trump also has raised over $200 million since Election Day, destined for a new political committee and his election defense fund, according to The Associated Press. Republican lawmakers including Sen. Rick Scott of Florida and Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana already have stepped forward to support Mr. Trump‘s efforts, this according to Politico. Multiple news organization noted Mr. Trump‘s recent comment to White House staffers that he would “see you in four years,” suggesting he was indeed ready to rumble in 2024.

Well, let’s see then. If that were the case, he’d rev up his campaign apparatus in the coming months and stage strategic appearances before hitting the road in earnest in early 2023, or even before. That’s around 1,000 days from now, give or take a few hours. Yes, well. Time flies in politics, particularly when the players are having fun.

Republicans themselves, meanwhile, also appear ready to rumble.

“A large majority of Republicans and independents have faith President Donald Trump will follow through on his musings about running for president again in 2024,” advises a new Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,995 registered voters conducted Dec. 4-5.

“Among Republicans, 76% believed a 2024 run to be likely, along with 60% of independents. Democrats were less certain, with only 47% believing a run to be likely,” the analysis says.

More in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

LOCKDOWN MANIA

“Don’t let COVID-19 lockdowns become a permanent power grab,” cautions syndicated columnist Ben Shapiro.

“You should be careful; you should engage in social distancing, mask up when in close proximity with others and generally avoid social gatherings involving those with preexisting conditions. But you can do all of these things and still live in a free society,” he says.

“Our politicians don’t believe that, because our politicians have seen how easily so many Americans were willing to indefinitely suspend their freedoms out of trust in our authorities. Until the incentive structures change, our freedoms will continue to be throttled by people who have no problem exercising their own,” he continues.

“One need not be a COVID-19 skeptic in order to question whether the enthusiastic authoritarian streak revealed by those politicians can be curbed. The longer we tolerate it, the more our politicians will normalize their power grabs,” Mr. Shapiro warns.

A TOGETHERNESS MYSTERY

Is it disinterest, weariness, confusion or what? The rates of both marriage and divorce are both falling in America, says the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Both marriage and divorce rates in the United States declined from 2009 to 2019 but rates vary from state to state. In 2019, there were 16.3 new marriages for every 1,000 women age 15 and over in the United States, down from 17.6 in 2009,” the federal agency says.

“At the same time, the U.S. divorce rate fell from 9.7 new divorces per 1,000 women age 15 and over in 2009 to 7.6 in 2019.”

Wyoming had the highest rate of marriages with 22.3 marriages, Vermont the lowest at 12.3 marriages. Texas had the highest rate of divorces at 8.6, while Maine had the lowest at 4.6.

The Census Bureau also explains that there are numbers for men and women alike, but offering a limited scope provides a more “digestible” look at the statistics for the average reader.

“Historically, women’s data was often presented when a choice had to be made. Previous research found that women often report data for themselves and report their marital history more accurately,” the agency explains.

NOT HAPPY WITH VILSACK

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is dismayed by the choice of Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary for the administration of presumed President-elect Joseph R. Biden, a position he also held for eight years during the Obama administration.

“On Tom Vilsack’s watch, the USDA allowed Ringling Bros. circus to force arthritic elephants to perform, left abused tiger cubs to suffer in the filthy cages of ‘Joe Exotic,’ permitted laboratories to keep highly social monkeys in solitary confinement, turning a blind eye to violations of law,” says Rachel Mathews, director of the PETA’s captive animal and law enforcement efforts.

“If the agency continues with business as usual — serving the interests of circuses, laboratories, roadside zoos, slaughterhouses, and puppy mills that it now calls its ‘customers’ — animals will suffer greatly. PETA challenges Mr. Vilsack to prove his many critics wrong by committing to enforcing animal protection laws as if lives depended on it. Because they do,” she says.

FOXIFIED

Fox News Channel the most watched network in the entire cable realm, according to Nielsen Media Research. Fox News drew 2.7 million prime-time viewers last week, with ESPN in second place with 2.5 viewers, MSNBC (2.2 million), CNN (1.8 millions) and Hallmark Channel (1.7 million).

Fox News programs comprised 10 of the top 20 cable telecasts in total viewers and delivered 10 telecasts with over 3 million viewers, more than any other cable news network, including more than CNN and MSNBC combined,” a source tells Inside the Beltway.

POLL DU JOUR

• 48% of registered U.S. voters say President Trump should concede the election “right away”; 18% of Republicans, 46% of independents and 74% of Democrats agree.

• 28% of voters overall say Mr. Trump should concede “eventually” if he can’t prove “widespread fraud” in the election; 42% of Republicans, 30% of independents and 16% of Democrats agree.

• 14% overall say he “should not concede no matter what”; 29% of Republicans, 11% of independents and 4% of Democrats agree.

• 9% overall don’t know or have no opinion; 10% of Republicans, 13% of independents and 6% of Democrats agree.

Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,995 registered U.S. voters conducted Dec. 4-7.

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