Clear signs Trump intends to run in 2024

Clear signs Trump intends to run in 2024
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If there was any doubt that Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE wants to run for president, that doubt, I think, can be summarily dismissed. It was never likely Trump would accept losing as his last political act, but in the past few weeks he has been hinting ever more broadly at running in 2024. Now he is taking real action to move forward.

Starting his own website and his impending tour with Bill O’Reilly are steps along the path. In each, Trump and his team have not only moved his candidacy forward but have also made concessions to reality.

Lara TrumpLara TrumpPast criticism of Trump becomes potent weapon in GOP primaries Trump endorsement shakes up GOP Senate primary in NC Lara Trump calls on Americans at border to 'arm up and get guns and be ready' MORE announcing she would not run for the 2022 open North Carolina Senate seat is the most concrete sign, I think, that her father-in-law is running for president. I’ve said before that Lara Trump’s candidacy would be dangerous to Trump: A loss in either the primary (unlikely) or general election would have been a severe blow.

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Trump’s mystique and power are largely based on the perception that he is a winner. Anything that dents that perception is a disaster. Not to mention there is only room in the spotlight for one Trump — and it won’t be an in-law.

The launch of his website and the big Bill O’Reilly tour are two more big steps. Banned from the major social media sites, Trump had to establish an online presence. Even if it doesn’t get much traffic, Trump needs an unfiltered place for announcements, responses and attacks. While some might find it surprising Trump has not launched a premium or streaming subscription service, his O’Reilly tour gives us a clue why.

Trump was always going to run into a “content” problem. In short, it’s easy for a president to keep the spotlight. By definition whatever the president does is news. But once out of office, everything changes as Trump has found out. In order to have a decent news/streaming/premium service, you need to constantly put out new information. You have to make news. Trump bitching about being a victim gets old, as does the stream of criticism of President BidenJoe BidenTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Republicans focus tax hike opposition on capital gains change Biden on hecklers: 'This is not a Trump rally. Let 'em holler' MORE. Trump’s blog flopped because he just doesn’t have enough to say.

That’s why the O’Reilly tour makes sense. O’Reilly has been doing these tours for years, is an experienced interviewer and follows the issues. He can shoulder much of the “content” burden. O’Reilly is also a shrewd, practiced interviewer. He will be able to construct an interesting set of questions, sprinkled with a few questions that look to be tough. O’Reilly will engage in a bit of judicious sparring for Trump and make sure the event is entertaining.

For both Trump and O’Reilly, it’s a win-win. O’Reilly gets back in the public spotlight with a series of sure-fire sold-out venues. Trump participates in what will look like substantive interviews. And, since O’Reilly and his team have done these tours before, the whole process is easy for Trump. Just show up and collect a big check.

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The Trump-O’Reilly tour helps mitigate another problem for Trump: His rallies get to be stale after just a few. When Trump first ran his whole shtick was a novelty, and his race for the GOP nomination was a dead-on sprint. He got in later than anyone has in years and was able to blitz the opposition. This time is different. It’s nearly three and a half years until Election Day 2024. That’s a very tall order for Trump to hold the public’s interest — not to mention his own.

The problem for Trump and his team is staying fresh and relevant. The failure of his blog is a bad sign. Reaching for O’Reilly is a smart creative play, but it only chews up about six months. Trump has clearly run into a wall pretty early in his post-presidency. He has about a year to solve this problem or he might just bore his way out of contention.

Keith Naughton, Ph.D., is co-founder of Silent Majority Strategies, a public and regulatory affairs consulting firm. Naughton is a former Pennsylvania political campaign consultant. Follow him on Twitter @KNaughton711.