I might be wrong, but watching Donald Trump yesterday at CPAC, he looked and sounded like he never left the White House.
Potentially in his mind he hasn’t: after all, as he claims, he was robbed, the vote was stolen.
If time fixes angst anger and fury, he’s still not been out of the place long enough for that to happen, because he was the Trump of old.
And my suggestion post-November that he wouldn't be back might be sorely tested.
I felt - in fact, I think I still do - he was a moment in time. He read the room in 2015, people were sick of Washington, an outsider was needed to drain the swamp.
That message propelled him to a victory I don’t think can be repeated, mainly because he’s no longer an outsider.
Easy to say a lot of stuff when you have no record. He’s got four years and the four years didn't even result in another four years, and presidential history tells us most before him actually managed that trick. so being a one-term president has got to hurt your chances.
Second problem, his own party. He said yesterday he isn’t starting his own - that’s mainly because even though he’s nuts he’s not an idiot. in a two-party country, a third party splitting the vote goes nowhere and he has clearly worked that out.
But that aside, what you can’t deny is all those who voted for him still would, and in a crowd like CPAC they still love him.
He’s a conservative and has that old fashioned quality of wanting to hold people to account, and have them deliver what they promise.
If he is serious, age will be an issue, but once again for the same reason Biden got away with it, Trump could get away with it too.
He’d be running against another old bloke, but would the party have him? Even if he lined up, polls say yes, and yes by a mile, but polls several years out from the real contest say a lot of stuff, and the other contenders – Pompeo, Pence, Rubio, so on - haven’t declared so who knows what the field will look like.
It will be equally intense as well, because Biden looks weakish already. Signing a lot of executive orders isn’t governing, doing nothing against the Saudi prince over Khashoggi is doing nothing, backtracking on your vaccine roll-out numbers is embarrassing.
Biden is a lot of goodwill and hot air so far so it maybe he’s ripe for the picking.
Though is giving Trump another crack the republicans answer or is getting someone a couple of decades younger and fresher the better choice?
So, a lot of water to go yet, but what we saw yesterday was a bloke who loves the stage more than he loves golf and that’s saying something.
I’m still calling a long shot, but not as long as it was in November.
Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.
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