On Friday, the unofficial kickoff of the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination took place in Des Moines as 1,200 evangelicals gathered to hear potential GOP candidates tell them why they’re the best choice to be standard bearer for conservatives.
James Pindell of the Boston Globe was also in attendance, and while he expected to hear unwavering support for ex-president Donald Trump, what he found was the most Republicans are ready to move on from Trump:
There was still a core of support for Trump among those who showed up, but of the 15 attendees Pindell spoke with, not a one said they thought it would be a good idea for the Donald to run again in three years:
“For Mary Bloom, a 55-year-old homeschooling parent who attended Friday’s event and believes some of Trump’s claims about the 2020 election, ‘It is what it is and we all need to move on to the next election.’
“Indeed, while Iowa traditionally grants winners of the first-in-the-nation contest momentum in the presidential race, in 2024 it could do something else: show that the party is moving on. That subtext was apparent in speeches on Friday.”
David Kochel, a longtime Iowa GOP consultant, admits he thinks “without a doubt” that Trump would win the Iowa Caucuses. But he’s not sure if the former president will be in the running:
That’s certainly true, because in six months there’s a better than even chance Donald Trump will be indicted and facing decades behind bars. And even if he does run, he’ll be doing so as a failed, one-term, twice-impeached loser. That’s not exactly a winning résumé for a presidential contender.