Why isn't Donald Trump planning to form a new party?

The former US president ruled out forming a new movement apart from the Republican party.

Donald trump

Trump confirmed that his intentions are not to form a new party, as the Wall Street Journal had suggested. Photo: Reuters

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué Donald Trump no piensa formar un nuevo partido?

On February 28, more than a month after his departure from the White House, Donald Trump reappeared publicly and revealed much of his political future. Despite not confirming or ruling out a new candidacy for the next 4 years, he did confirm that his intentions are not to form a new party, as the Wall Street Journal had suggested.

This decision, although surprising because of how unpredictable the magnate is, is quite understandable in the aspirations that the New York politician may have. The American two-party system allows but does not facilitate the creation of new parties. Only Theodore Roosevelt managed to finish second in national elections with his new party. Many others don't even get seats in Congress.

Historical background

The most important division that the Democratic party experienced (and that led to the consolidation of the Republican party) was in 1860 when the Democrats from the north and the ones from the south went to the polls with one presidential and vice-presidential candidate each. This internal division arose from the support and rejection of slavery in the south and north of the country respectively.

The consequence of this division was the victory of Abraham Lincon, the first Republican president in American history. A republican party infinitely different from the current one, made up of supremacist, evangelical, and conspiracy groups.

But perhaps the most important division in post-Civil War times was that caused by former President Theodore Roosevelt. After serving 8 years in office (first replacing President McKinley upon death and then winning the election), he decides not to compete in the second election for the Republican party. His successor was Howard Taft. However, Roosevelt disapproved of the Taft administration and decided to compete unsuccessfully within the party.

In the national elections, the Progressive Party created, despite its popularity and defeating Taft and the Republican party in the national elections, the Democratic votes left Woodrow Wilson as US president. This scenario may be the most similar to Trump if he decides to launch separately in 4 years.

Donald Trump has a loyal voter base, even polls say that the majority of Republican bases would support a new candidacy in 2024. However, despite getting more votes than what is left of the Republicans, it would be almost impossible to beat Democrats separately. The only way left is to achieve complete control of your party.

Donald Trump vs Republicans

Right now Trump dominates at the grassroots. The former president has great popular support and he, more than anyone, knows how to touch the strings of conservative voters and unify them. However, his "charisma" is not as efficient within the traditional politicians who remain at the head of the party and will represent resistance to Trump's interests.

Also read: Who is the new president of the United States?

The eccentric politician will have as main rival figures within the party the senators who voted in favor of him being tried politically for the attack on the capitol by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021: Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, and Pat Toomey.

Of these 7, according to NPR, only 2 are serving their final terms as senators, which may represent upcoming battlegrounds between pro-Trumps and anti-Trumps Republicans who want to fill those vacancies. The rest have great support, even being critical of Trump (for example Romney) or they will not compete again until 2026.

There were also relevant politicians who, despite not voting against Trump in his trial, did show great concerns after the takeover of Congress. Among them are Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republicans, and Nikki Haley, who was an ambassador to the UN in the Trump era.

Let us remember that several Republicans even opposed Trump's re-election in 2020, which shows a large number of voters and conservative politicians who will try, at all costs, not to leave the GOP (as the party is known) in the hands of the Trump family and their allies.