Donald Trump

How Donald Trump Became Unbeatable

Author: Editors Desk, Sarah Longwell Source: The Atlantic
February 26, 2024 at 21:23
Mark Peterson / Redux
Mark Peterson / Redux
How did we get here again?

Not too long ago, Donald Trump looked finished. After the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the repeal of Roe v. Wade, and a poor Republican showing in the 2022 midterms, the GOP seemed eager to move on from the former president. The post-Trump era had supposedly begun.

Just one week after the midterms, he entered the 2024 race, announcing his candidacy to a room of bored-looking hangers-on. Even his children weren’t there. Security had to pen people in to keep them from leaving during his meandering speech.

Today, thanks to Trump’s dominant performance in South Carolina, the Republican primary is all but over. Trump’s margin was so comfortable that the Associated Press called the race as soon as polls closed. How did we get here? How did Trump go from historically weak to unassailable?

I talk with Republican-primary voters in focus groups every week, and through these conversations, I’ve learned that the answer has as much to do with Trump’s party and his would-be competitors as it does with Trump himself. Most Republican leaders have profoundly misread their base in this moment.

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