By Lauren Leazenby
Donald Trump is the only sitting president in U.S. history to have lost the popular vote twice; the first instance won him control of the nation’s highest office, and the second saw him removed from it. And while President-elect Joe Biden received a record number of votes this election, President Trump did as well. Nearly 74 million Americans voted for the sitting president to remain in office — and they won’t disappear after Trump leaves the White House.
Trumpism is alive and well
The expectation by many pundits prior to the election was a clear sweep one way or the other. Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the Associated Press many had expected a Biden win to bring with it an easy Democratic majority in the Senate and a widened majority in the House — but that’s not the case. Pending two run-off elections in Georgia, the Senate will either remain in Republican control or will be split down the middle. Democrats still hold a majority in the House, but they lost some key seats.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, for instance, drew national attention for supporting the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory. Greene managed to pick up a seat in the 14th Congressional District of Georgia, a state which, on the whole, voted for Joe Biden. She was in fervent support of President Trump, and ran on a “Trumpist” platform.
Representative-elect Greene is not alone. South Carolinians reelected Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has famously defended Trump, and Kentuckians reelected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
This is where President Donald Trump still sees support for his ideology: There is a continuing sentiment of Trumpism in America — that is, the right-wing, conservative political ideology and populist style of governance brought about by President Trump. Trump may no longer be the president of the United States, but his rhetoric struck a chord with many Americans that will remain even after he leaves office.
A recent Politico poll shows that 53% of Republicans or Republican-leaning independents would support Trump for the nomination in a hypothetical 2024 Republican primary.
Trump has expressed interest in running again in 2024, and he would be a clear frontrunner for the nomination as a continuing leader in the party. But in delaying an official announcement of a 2024 bid, he would effectively freeze other prominent Republicans out of the race.
Continuation of the Trump ‘dynasty’
That same Politico poll showed, next to Trump, Republicans voiced support for Vice President Mike Pence and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley as a potential presidential nominee. Being part of Trump’s former administration, they would be in a difficult position politically if they have to break with Trump to launch a campaign.
Riding a wave of Trumpism, however, these candidates could be successful in the case Trump doesn’t run in 2024. Some have pointed to Mike Pence as a potential Trump successor. His is a similar ideology to Trump’s, albeit conveyed with a more even-keeled temperament.
Others predict Trump’s children and children-in-law may become more involved in politics going forward. Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle have been attempting to expand their influence in the Republican National Committee, according to anonymous GOP sources, but Don Jr. has denied allegations that he’s trying to “take over the party.” Lara Trump, who is married to the president’s son, Eric, said recently she is considering a Senate run in North Carolina.
Trumpism on online platforms
Parler, a new free speech social media platform, has gained popularity among some of Trump’s supporters who are breaking from what they see as a crackdown against free speech on Twitter, Facebook and other existing platforms.
A migration of conservatives to the platform — as well as activity on the app by prominent conservative voices like Fox News host Sean Hannity and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — is indicative of the fact that Trump’s supporters aren’t just going to move on with a Biden presidency. Many find new spaces and new ways to continue this ideology. Trump is also expected to continue his large rallies, regardless of whether he runs in 2024.
There have also been rumors about a “Trump TV” streaming service. An unnamed source apparently close to Trump suggested that the president is pushing for a streaming service that would rival Fox News, but there’s no formal announcement that would really corroborate that claim. Additionally, some have speculated that Trump’s allies have been pouring money into Newsmax TV, which is an ultra-conservative news outlet that could also compete with Fox News — but no official partnership has been announced.