According to Washington Post political analyst Paul Waldman, the Donald Trump that folks saw at a Wyoming rally this past weekend is a far cry from the Trump that came from nowhere in 2016 and wowed voters by giving voice to their perceived grievances on his way to defeating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
As he explains, Trump offered conservative voters hope by instilling a degree of optimism that he was the person who would change their lives for the better.
In 2020 his pitch to Republicans was to allow him to stay in the Oval Office and continue what he had started but his campaign was dogged by a multitude of factors including the mismanaged Covid-19 pandemic, two impeachment trials and exhaustion with his antics.
Now, Waldman pointed out, Trump rallies are about personal slights he believes he has endured with the former president spending more time seeking revenge against his Republican enemies while offering his supporters little idea of what he would do if given another shot.
In a word, Waldman stated that all Trump has to offer his supporters is “spite.”
“His personal animosities and resentments always played a key role in his political decisions, but what’s different today is how little anything else seems to animate him,” Waldman added, “When we look back on the bizarre spectacle of the 2016 election, we sometimes forget that amidst all the vitriol, Trump had an argument that was compelling to many Americans embittered about what had happened to them and their communities.”
Noting that that promise had “worn thin” by 2020, the columnist claimed Trump changed his pitch to make the case that he would protect them from their enemies.
Now, as he eyes 2024, Waldman stated Trump is making it all about revenge.
“Trump no longer has a story to tell about America that ends with a better future. That’s not to say it’s impossible he wins in 2024. As we’ve seen again and again, elections are often determined by unforeseeable circumstances; a well-timed recession or crisis can change everything,” he wrote.
“If and when Trump runs again, his bid will have all the anger and hate of his past two campaigns, but none of the optimism he had in 2016,” he predicted. “He has been distilled to his bitter, resentful core. The result could be a race even uglier than what he subjected us to before.”
You can read the whole piece here.