Donald Trump Is Trapped by His Own Strategy. That Doesn’t Mean It Won’t Work.

By |2023-03-01T06:28:47-05:00March 1st, 2023|Election 2020|

In his effort to outflank Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida — his most potent challenger-in-waiting for the Republican presidential nomination — Donald Trump goes only in one direction: hard right.At the start of this year, Trump announced his education agenda, declaring that he would issue mandates to “keep men out of women’s sports,” end teacher tenure and cut federal aid to any school system that teaches “critical race theory, gender ideology, or other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content onto our children.”“As the saying goes,” Trump declared, “personnel is policy and at the end of the day if we have pink-haired communists teaching our kids we have a major problem.”Later in January, Trump revealed his “Plan to Protect Children from Left-Wing Gender Insanity,” in which he promised to bring a halt to “gender-affirming care,” to punish doctors who provide gender-affirming care to minors, and to pass legislation declaring that “the only genders recognized by the United States government are male and female and they are assigned at birth.”“No serious country should be telling its children that they were born with the wrong gender,” Trump declared. “Under my leadership, this madness will end.”At one level, these pronouncements reflect Trump’s determination to prevent DeSantis from outflanking him. On a larger scale, they reveal a predicament facing not only the former president as he seeks renomination in 2024, but the conservative movement in general, including white evangelicals, the Republican Party and Fox News.Trump’s strategy requires him to continue his equivocation on white supremacism and his antisemitic supporters and to adopt increasingly extreme positions, including the “termination” of the Constitution in order to retroactively award him victory in the 2020 election. The more he attempts to enrage and invigorate his MAGA base in the Republican primaries, the more he forces his fellow partisans and conservatives to follow suit, threatening Republican prospects in the coming general election, as demonstrated by the poor showing of Trump clones in the 2022 midterm contests.Questions about the pandemicCard 1 of 4When will the pandemic end?