Donald Trump is finally hitting the campaign trail Saturday as he heads to Salem, New Hampshire and Columbia, South Carolina in a one-day, two-state swing more than two-and-a-half months after announcing his third consecutive White House candidacy.
While some say the former president’s 2024 campaign has been slow to start, others are refreshed by his approach this time around and say it’s a better strategy to win favor with the party as he vies again for a second shot at the White House.
Before holding his first 2024 campaign rally, Trump is heading north Saturday morning to make an appearance at the New Hampshire GOP‘s annual winter meeting.
In the afternoon the former president will be joined at his rally at the South Carolina State Capitol by GOP Senator Lindsey Graham and Governor Henry McMaster – both key allies in the third primary contest state.
Former President Donald Trump is engaging in his first high-profile campaign events Saturday with a stop in early primary contest states of New Hampshire and South Carolina. Pictured: Trump announced in Mar-a-Lago on November 15 his third consecutive bid for the White House
The event Saturday has been branded as more lowkey than his massive rallies from the 2016 and 2020 campaign trail – with at least three advisers claiming the rally will be more ‘intimate’ than previously.
It’s unclear if Trump is taking a new approach overall or if his team is just preemptively managing expectations as it appears excitement for Trump is waning within the GOP with several polls showing voters might prefer a different Republican candidate and their nominee in 2024.
Trump could pick up some legitimate primary challengers from South Carolina as the state’s Former Governor Nikki Haley, who also served under Trump as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Republican junior Senator Tim Scott have been named as potential 2024 candidates.
Once again, the presidential primary field is expected to be quite crowded with at least a few dozen names floating around.
At the rally in South Carolina, Trump will be joined by Senator Lindsey Graham and Governor Henry McMaster
‘There’s an openness to a new generation of Republican leaders — that’s not to say that the president could not win. I do not think it’s a foregone conclusion,’ New Hampshire Republican Mike Dennehy told NBC News.
The onetime adviser to late presidential candidate Senator John McCain said that Trump isn’t a shoo-in for the nomination this year.
‘He’s going to have to earn it,’ Dennehy said.
Some say Trump engaging in more so-called ‘retail politicking’ would do him well – advice he appears to be taking after balking that approach in 2016 and 2020.
Retail politics is a term that references national candidates attending local events to target voters on a smaller, more individualized-basis.
This form of campaigning would signal to party leaders – and those who have moved away from Trump in recent years, that the former president respects the voters and the political process.
Trump could pick up some legitimate primary challengers from South Carolina as the state’s Former Governor Nikki Haley (left), who also served under Trump as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Republican junior Senator Tim Scott (right) have been named as potential 2024 candidates
‘He broke the mold a little bit,’ Dennehy said. ‘He wasn’t a candidate who would hold town hall meetings or walk the streets talking to small businesses.’
‘If he’s smart, I think he takes it down a notch, takes it down to the people more, walking main streets, holding some smaller house parties.’
But Democrats aren’t convinced that Trump has changed his stripes overnight, and claim his radical ideology is facilitating a party where more level-headed candidates can’t succeed.
‘In his bid to consolidate support and scare off competitors, Donald Trump is reminding everyone of just how extreme the MAGA agenda was – from paving the way for the most extreme abortion bans, gifting tax giveaways to the ultra-wealthy and biggest corporations, and embracing the most fringe policies and divisive rhetoric,’ Democratic National Committee spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a statement Friday.
‘The rest of the GOP 2024 field is tripping over itself to be just as extreme and this is just the beginning in their race for the MAGA base,’ he added.
Trump’s rally at the South Carolina State Capitol is expected to be more ‘intimate’ that the famous 2016 and 2020 ‘mega-rallies’
New Hampshire and South Carolina are both key states for those politicians looking to clinch that party’s nomination for president – and are among the states where politicians head when they kick off their campaigns every four years.
The first-in-the-nation state where a primary contest is held is the Iowa caucuses, followed by the primary election in New Hampshire, the elections in South Carolina and then another caucus in Nevada.
All four states are closely-watched and serve as indicators of how well a primary candidate may fare in the rest of the nation.
In 2020, President Joe Biden performed poorly in the crowded Democratic primary race in both New Hampshire and Iowa, but was later able to gain ground in South Carolina when Representative Jim Clybrun threw his backing behind the now-president.
Despite Trump winning South Carolina by 14.9 percent to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and by 11.7 points in the general electron against Biden in 2020, it appears support for the former president is dropping.
A South Carolina Policy Council poll released this week shows that 37 percent of Republican voters in the state want to see Trump as the GOP nominee compared to the 47 percent who want to see someone else win the spot.
Additionally, a head-to-head matchup with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis showed Trump losing by nearly 20 points.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk