Two weeks ago, I opined here that I didn’t believe former President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE would run again in 2024. Boy, did I get some serious push-back from political friends telling me that Trump is a megalomaniac and there is no way he is not going to run in the next presidential election.
My rationale in that piece for his not running was: “My hope is that Trump’s massive ego will allow enough room for him to contemplate that his name is so toxic to tens of millions of Americans that his nomination might instigate massive civil unrest. If Trump does believe in our nation, as he says he does, then he should know it would be much better to sit out the election and try to use his influence to help the party’s nominee.”
One of my friends, who had a high-level political career, openly laughed in my face when I offered up that opinion. He, in turn, gave me a definition of a megalomaniac that he had just looked up on his phone: “A megalomaniac is a pathological egotist — that is, someone with a psychological disorder with symptoms like delusions of grandeur and an obsession with power.”
“Trump,” my friend continued over a coffee, “is the personification of that definition. He doesn’t care if he’s toxic to tens of millions of voters or who turns out in the streets to protest his run. Do you believe his ego actually allows him to logically think things through? Look at Arizona. Look at Georgia.”
By “Arizona” my friend meant that Trump knew he had to win the state in 2020 and he also knew that the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senators appalled by 'ridiculous' House infighting MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, Chris Christie battle over Fox News Trump's attacks on McConnell seen as prelude to 2024 White House bid MORE, a decorated war hero, was seen as the “patron saint” of the state to hundreds of thousands of voters. Trump knew that if he continued to malign and insult McCain, he would turn off a great many of those voters — and yet, his unchecked ego could not stop itself. Consequently, he proceeded to lose the state and its 11 electoral votes by fewer than 11,000 votes out of over 3.3 million cast.
Next, we come to Georgia. Out of almost 5 million votes cast, Trump lost the state and its 16 electoral votes by just under 12,000 votes. Gee, I’ll bet he secretly wishes he hadn’t demonized mail-in voting after that result. Then, after he did lose the state, he also helped flush the chances of the two Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate down the toilet.
Trump continually cried “fraud” while smearing Republican leaders in the state. If you were looking for a formula to depress the Republican vote, that would be one. And then, quite surreally, some of Trump’s “allies” were urging Georgia Republicans not to vote in the Senate runoff elections — elections that would determine which party would control the Senate come 2021.
No one, perhaps, was surprised to note that approximately 250,000 fewer Republicans voted in the Senate runoffs than in the general election. When we look at the final tally of those special elections and see that Sen. Jon OssoffJon OssoffDemocrats anxious over Abrams silence on Georgia governor bid Perdue on possible run for Georgia governor: 'I'm concerned about the state of our state' Top Senate Democrat calls on attorney general to fire prisons chief MORE (D-Ga.) beat former Sen. David PerdueDavid PerdueThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud Stacey Abrams launches campaign for Georgia governor Democrats anxious over Abrams silence on Georgia governor bid MORE (R-Ga.) by just 55,000 votes and Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockMaternal and child health legislation must be prioritized now Overnight Defense & National Security — Austin mandates vaccine for Guardsmen Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans MORE (D-Ga.) beat former Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerSenate GOP worries Trump could derail bid for majority Perdue mulling primary challenge against Kemp in Georgia: report McConnell backs Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race MORE (R-Ga.) by about 93,000 votes, we can safely surmise that Trump and his allies hit another level of “stupid” when it comes to politics.
As my friend offered to bet me that “Trump will definitely run again in 2024” — a bet I cowardly declined — he threw in one more bit of trivia atop the “pathological egotist” pile: The letters for Trump’s “MAGA” acronym are all included in “megalomaniac.”
It’s amusing, to be sure, in a scary kind of way. All of that said, I still don’t believe Trump will run for president in 2024. While the push-back I took may have helped to convince me that Trump is never going to put our country before his ego, I do believe that same ego — along with his advancing age (he’ll turn 78 in June 2024) — will force him to decline another run.
That ego might tell him: “At 78 years old, we don’t need a humiliating loss heaped upon us because now 90 million Democratic voters came out to crush us, while 30 million fewer Republicans voted for us in 2020 because of ‘Trump fatigue.’ No, much better to not run and to continue to claim voter fraud happened in 2020 while we ride off into a Mar-a-Lago sunset.”
In my estimation, Donald Trump would be wise to listen to the voice of that ego.
Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.