Will Donald Trump win the Republican nomination?

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. Illustrated | Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump is back in the ring again, announcing on Nov. 15 that he was launching his third campaign for the presidency. However, questions remain as to whether he will have enough support within the GOP to clinch the party's 2024 nomination. Here's everything you need to know: 

Is Trump the frontrunner for the Republican nomination?

It's hard to say, given that there is still a long time to go before the election, but there have been some hints as to what a potential clash for the GOP nomination could look like.

While many Republicans will likely throw their hats in the ring, Trump's main competition — at least for now — appears to be Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The governor, who is coming off a midterms victory in which he was re-elected in a landslide, looks primed to become one of the new faces of the GOP, and many pundits believe he will almost certainly announce a bid for the presidency.

While the debate continues over whether DeSantis is likable enough to be elected president, it appears that he will be the greatest competition for the former president. DeSantis appears to have the edge among voters, with a recent YouGov poll of 1,500 Americans finding that 23 percent of respondents wanted him to be the GOP nominee in 2024, as opposed to just 20 percent who wanted it to be Trump.

However, polls, much like the political landscape itself, are constantly changing, and 41 percent of respondents said they didn't want either man to be the Republican nominee. It remains to be seen whether Trump can boost his standing enough to catch up to DeSantis in the polls.

Is this indicative of Trump losing his own party's support?

Many signs seem to point to the answer being yes. While Trump has enjoyed steady approval ratings among Republican voters since leaving office, the winds began to shift following the recent midterm elections. The Democrats did significantly better during the midterms than expected and much of the blame for this was placed on Trump, who saw almost all of his endorsed candidates lose by large margins.

Many in the GOP were quick to brand the former president a loser, and some, such as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, are urging others in the party to leave Trump behind. It seems voters are feeling the same way, with a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll obtained by The Hill reporting that 20 percent of respondents said Trump was the biggest loser of the midterms.

The co-director of the poll, Mark Penn, told The Hill that the results were indicative of Trump becoming a weaker candidate after the midterms. Add to this the fact that he personally endorsed losing candidates, and Penn told the outlet there was a real possibility that Trump would have a significant battle in a GOP primary.

However, even prior to the midterms, there were signs that the Republican party may have been ready to move on from Trump. A New York Times/Siena College poll published this summer found nearly half of the 350 GOP respondents wanted someone other than Trump to be the Republican nominee, with only 49 percent saying he was their preferred candidate. An additional 16 percent of Republicans said that if Trump was the nominee they would either back a third-party candidate, vote for President Biden, or not vote at all.

Who doesn't think Trump will be the nominee?

Beyond Christie, there are a number of high-profile figures within the Republican party who have expressed a similar mentality regarding the future of Trump in the GOP, including people like Paul Ryan. The former speaker of the House, who announced his retirement in 2018 during Trump's first term, predicted in a recent interview that the former president would not be the GOP nominee in 2024. During the interview, Ryan lambasted Trump as bad for the party, and said that by the time the general election comes around, "Trump's unelectability will be palpable."

"We all know that he's much more likely to lose the White House than anybody else running for president on our side of the aisle, so why would we want to go with that?" Ryan added. "We all know that he's much more likely to lose the White House than anybody else running for president on our side of the aisle, so why would we want to go with that? He's not going to be the nominee, I don't think."

Another prominent Republican, outgoing Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan — an often outspoken critic of Trump — told CNN that the former president was to blame for Republican losses in elections. "It's basically the third election in a row that Donald Trump has cost us the race, and it's like, three strikes, you're out," Hogan said. "People who tried to relitigate the 2020 election and focused on conspiracy theories … they were all almost universally rejected."

Other GOP members seemed to express similar sentiments, including Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, who told Time he "could care less" about Trump.

Who does think Trump will be the nominee?

Still quite a few Republicans. Many of them are figures who were previously aligned with Trump's MAGA movement, but who have now chosen to back him following his campaign announcement.

This includes Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third-highest Republican in the House. Following his candidacy, Stefanik became the highest-ranking GOP member to publicly support Trump's 2024 bid. In a statement, Stefanik wrote, "It is time for Republicans to unite around the most popular Republican in America, who has a proven track record of conservative governance," adding that it was "very clear" Trump was the leader of the Republican Party.

Rep. Ronny Jackson (Texas), a physician who was previously Trump's medical adviser, tweeted, "President Trump is the GREATEST President I've ever seen. I'm on his side 100%! PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS MY COMPLETE AND TOTAL ENDORSEMENT!!!" This sentiment was echoed by Kari Lake, who lost her campaign to become governor of Arizona. Lake, like Jackson, tweeted that Trump had her "complete and total endorsement."

So who will it be?

Even if Trump does emerge as the eventual nominee, he will likely have to go through more than just DeSantis to reach the GOP mountaintop.

While Trump remains the only person to have officially declared he's running for the Republican nomination, a number of others have hinted at their intention. This includes prominent GOP members such as Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and even Trump's own former vice president, Mike Pence.

With all of these names, it may be that the Republican Party is beginning to move away from Trump. John Watson, a former chair of the Georgia GOP, told Politico that Trump was becoming "noise that is being ignored by people as they position and think how we win the next election."

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