AUSTIN, Texas - Former President Donald Trump is making a third run for the White House. He made the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago home Tuesday night.
Donald Trump believes voters will give him the Republican nomination in 2024. But his decision to run again comes as the GOP appears divided on the future of the party.
This week, the Texas GOP released a poll showing registered Republican voters prefer Ron DeSantis by double digits over Trump in 2024.
Matt Mackowiak, chair of the Travis County Republican Party, and Jamarr Brown, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, joined FOX 7 Austin's Mike Warren to discuss.
Mike Warren: Matt, beginning with you. Trump running isn't a surprise. Is this going to be good, bad or ugly for the Republican Party?
Matt Mackwoiak: Well, the timing is a little unusual. You rarely see a major presidential candidate announce, you know, less than a week after an election. And, of course, we have a pivotal United States Senate race in Georgia on December six. Now, the majority for the Senate may not be at stake, but a 50/50 Senate and a 51/49 Senate matter far more than just the one Senate seat in play. Trump is going to have to show that he can win a general election, something he lost in 2020. He hurt us in 2018 in the midterms, and I think he hurt us in 2022, getting behind some untested and unproven candidates. That said, he does start as a major candidate with significant support and significant name, significant base. And it's going to be incumbent upon someone, perhaps Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, perhaps Senator Ted Cruz or perhaps others to step forward, make a case not just that they are conservative who can save the country, but who can defeat Trump in the primary and win the general election.
Mike Warren: Jamarr, the Texas Democratic Party tweeted that they celebrated Trump's announcement. How does his run help the Democrats? Take us through it.
Jamarr Brown: Well, you know, for the past few years, the Republicans really embrace Donald Trump. And it's interesting that they're not now, and they're actually looking toward other people and polling is starting to show that. But one of the things that's important is even here in Texas in the 2020 presidential election, that is when we got the closest in terms of the Electoral College. Donald Trump only won Texas by five and a half points. And so it's not great for them if Trump is their nominee. But, you know, the process will have to play out. The campaign will all have to play out, and we'll see what happens.
Mike Warren: Matt Mackowiak, if you could lay out some scenarios for us going forward with the fight for the GOP nomination. You know, a lot of people talking about Ron DeSantis, a lot of other strong Republican candidates out there with Trump in now. How is some of this going to play out, you think paint a picture.
Matt Mackwoiak: Yeah, I think Trump has a high floor, but perhaps he also has a low ceiling. And I mean that among even Republican primary voters. Now, it should be said that he's been counted out before. He was counted out in 2016 on many occasions, including by me. He was carried out even in 2020 and all the way in between. That said, it's pretty clear our voters are starting to think about electability, starting to think about strategy, starting to think about winning elections in a way maybe we haven't before. And it's not just the Texas poll you cited, the Club for Growth. The conservative organization had a poll showing Santos ahead of Trump in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Now, of course, this all presupposes that the Santos will actually run. He was just reelected by 19% by a massive landslide in Florida. So Trump does have some challenges. He's got legal risk related to the fraud investigation in New York, related to efforts in Georgia, related to secure documents being held at Mar a Lago in South Florida. He has potentially financial issues to deal with as well in political challenges. So we'll see whether he's able to get the nomination. We're a long way off. It's going to be at least a year before we know more.
Mike Warren: Jamarr, do you think Trump could win?
Jamarr Brown: Well, I think the thing is, you know, Matt laid it all out where, you know, he's under investigation. He's been impeached twice when he was President of the United States. So definitely is not good for the Republican Party. But Trump is bad for the country. He's shown that in his policies. He's shown that in how he's incited violence and vitriol all across the country. And so it will be my hope that he does not win because there's so many people that would be at stake if he happened to win.
Mike Warren: Okay. All right. We got to wrap it up for now. But there's going to be so much more to come with this one. Jamal, Matt, thank you both very much.