In Spectator World, Paul du Quenoy explains that, despite their similarities, Donald Trump is unlikely to quietly cede the 2024 Republican presidential election nomination to a younger candidate the way Boris Johnson bowed out of the Tory Party leadership race to make way for Rishi Sunak. Quenoy writes:
Irrespective of the many other similarities, however, the American political system favors Trump far more than the British system favored Johnson. Johnson’s gambit fell first to the tender mercies of his fellow Conservative MPs, many of whom openly announced that they would never again support him. That alone is unthinkable in today’s Republican Party, where to oppose Trump is practically an act of political suicide. Of the ten Republican congressmen who voted in favor of his second impeachment, eight were either defeated in their primary elections this year or decided not to run for reelection at all. The rest of the congressional GOP strongly covets Trump’s support and endorsements, which succeeded in over 90 percent of 2022 primary contests. His only credible potential opponent for the 2024 nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, is a Trump protégé who agrees with the former president on every issue of importance, even if they keep a certain distance from each other.
Johnson’s parliamentary Conservative detractors spend a lot of time in London, where they are more vulnerable to lobbying, leftist urban sensibilities, and other pressures. Republicans submerged in the Washington swamp have the same problem, but Trump’s nomination does not depend on them in almost any way. It is in the American heartland where his future will be decided. Almost all internal party polls show Trump as the Republicans’ clear favorite for 2024, with DeSantis, who has also not declared his candidacy, trailing by margins of 20 to 30 points. The Never Trumper position has become so dire that many urban Republicans who hold it now openly favor the Democrats, or have actually become Democrats.
Anti-Johnson Tories have no similar temptation to leave their party or moan that their party left them. Their structural strength in Westminster leaves them with no reason to. As their spiritual forefathers did to Margaret Thatcher in 1990, they have used their procedural power to force a moderate alternative on the Conservative rank-and-file, whose resentment of the metropolitan elite will only grow. The new prime minister’s pro-tax policies and anti-tax family history probably won’t help him succeed in a UK facing a recession. Whereas for Trump, as the world already knows, it’s all about winning.
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