'He's as popular as ever.' Sorry, but there's every chance Donald Trump could become president again.

In case you missed it, last week we stepped back in time. 

Donald Trump is running for President of the United States... again.

Memories of the leader of the free world telling his constituents to inject bleach (?!) to help fight COVID, and potentially inciting a riot on the US Capitol building that killed five people and injured hundreds, is still very fresh in the mind. 

We've only had 21 months of reprieve from the chaos of Trump in the White House, so could we really be going back to that reality in 2024? 

On Tuesday night, Trump officially threw his hat in the ring again telling the world, "In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for President of the United States." 

According to American political expert and host of Planet America, Chas Licciardello there's a strong chance he'll be successful. 

Listen to Chas on The Quicky. Post continues.

"In fact, I would say if he can get through the nomination process to be the Republican nominee, I would say he's the favourite," he told Mamamia's news podcast, The Quicky.

During the recent midterm elections, Trump had been boasting that we were about to see a "red wave" dominate, something that didn't come to fruition. But don't let that fool you. When it comes to Trump's base supporters, Licciardello says he's "as popular as ever."


Of course, they don't make up the whole of the Republican Party, and the more conventional members  - perhaps those who live in the city, or the people you think of as "Fox News" - they were never actually fans of him to begin with.

"But they found that the base didn't give them the opportunity to not have Donald Trump, so they just put up with him," explains Licciardello. "They were happy to do a deal where Donald Trump gave them judges and Donald Trump gave him the abortion laws they wanted and Donald Trump would give them a tax cut.

"But every time there's an opportunity to get rid of him, those people have tried to take it... then they've found there's more of the base than there is of them, so they've had to come slinking back and pretend that they like him."

So the question is; are there more of these 'urban' Republicans, or do the base numbers still dominate? That's what time will tell, but according to a Center survey six in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (60 per cent), say they feel warmly towards Trump, including 41 per cent who feel very warmly.

Of course, you're probably wondering how he can even be running in the first place with at least a dozen significant criminal and civil court cases hanging over his head including major investigations into the election, the insurrection, his finances and his handling of White House documents. 

It's for that reason alone that Licciardello thinks Trump has decided to announce his presidential run two years out from the election (which is not normal).


"That is not conventional at all, and you have to ask - why is he doing that? I think the answer is almost certainly because he's trying to put pressure on the Department of Justice to not lay an inditement on him for having purloined a few 100 top secret documents, some of which may or may not involve nuclear secrets," says Licciardello.

Trump went so far as to lie to authorities about having the documents in the first place, only for subpoenaed footage of his closed circuit video surveillance cameras to prove otherwise.

Donald Trump has announced he's running for president in 2024. Image: Getty.


"Anyone who does that normally is going to jail for a very, very long period of time," says Licciardello. "If Donald Trump was not Donald Trump, he'd already be in jail. He is Donald Trump...and so it's quite a big political issue whether you're going to actually charge him for this and try it. And the suggestion is that Donald Trump went early, so that when (not if) they indict him, he can say, 'Oh, this is just a political witch hunt'. And he can say 'it's all about politics', and then put pressure on them to drop the charges."

The thing is, none of it will stop him. The US Justice Department is not permitted to prosecute political candidates during any electoral campaign, and even if he is sent to prison, he can still govern.

"Even in the case of conviction and incarceration, a presidential candidate would not be prevented from continuing their campaign - even if, as a felon, they might not be able to vote for themselves," Arizona State University Professor of Law and Political Science Stefanie Lindquist reiterates to news.com.

So what, if anything, will stop him?

There is one thing that's very different this time around, and that's how his colleagues and current members of the Republican Party are talking about him. Previously, when people within his circles criticised him, they did so anonymously and off the record. But now we're seeing names. 


"We're seeing a number of politicians come out, put their name to it, and say 'Donald Trump is dishonest', 'Donald Trump is horrible for the Republican Party'...being really quite critical. That is new," says Licciardello.

There is also a strong alternative Republican nominee in Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a 44-year-old former military man who rejected mask and COVID vaccine mandates, is anti-abortion, opposes gun control and "woke" politics, and supports the death penalty. 

As Licciardello explains, he tends to just steer his ideology towards whatever the ideology of the Republican Party is in that moment, and he thinks DeSantis "absolutely can" beat the former president. 

If we peer over into the Democrats camp quickly, Biden's popularity isn't exactly setting him up to be a sure-thing for a second term. 

"While he [Biden] doesn't help them [the Democrats] much, he doesn't hurt them much either," is how Licciardello puts it. But Vice President Kamala Harris is even less popular than her boss, and alternatives are looking pretty sparse. 

So, yes, a second-term of Trump is a very real possibility and we can't underestimate the power of his base.

But there is a strong frontrunner hot on his heels, with De Santis the Republicans' chance at a new start. 

Feature image: Joe Raedle/Getty.