Rolling Stone sparked the latest round of Donald Trump 2024 speculation by reporting, citing an anonymous source, that he’s been telling dinner companions in recent months that he intends to run again. My former colleague Byron York notes that even if Trump had no intention of running again, he and those in his political orbit have every incentive to keep speculation alive as long as possible. Because once he announces he won’t run, the political world will move on from him.
Given Trump’s strength within the party, he can afford to announce a run for president in the fall of 2023, perhaps as late as November, and still be the front-runner on the day he announces. (In the 2016 cycle, the last competitive Republican primary, the earliest filing deadline was South Carolina on September 30, 2015. But the rest are November 6 or later.)
This leaves other 2024 Republican hopefuls with a difficult dilemma.
Anybody who wants a future within the Republican Party would likely want to avoid having to be in a primary with Trump given that Trump will turn his base against any opponent by mercilessly attacking that person. It’s why Nikki Haley, for instance, has said she would not run were Trump to do so.