Report: Trump Is Systematically Laying the Groundwork to Steal the 2024 Election

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No one, probably himself included, knows if Donald Trump is going to run for president again in 2024. In the not-running column, there’s the fact that he spent most of his adult life teasing runs for office without ever going through with it until 2015. Also he is famously lazy and hated the actual responsibilities being POTUS entailed. “I loved my previous life. I had so many things going…this is more work than in my previous life,” he told Reuters in 2017. “I thought it would be easier.” Yes, it was an extremely rude awakening for the reality-TV host to learn that being the leader of the free world didn’t simply involve some speeches here and some military parades there. Necessarily, he made some changes to the gig to make it more palatable to his style—watching an absolutely absurd number of hours of TV a dayrolling up to the Oval Office at noonnot reading his intelligence briefings, ignoring warnings of a global pandemic—but when it came to the actual work of running the country, Trump-y boy was not a fan.

What the 45th president did like about being POTUS was the power, and for that reason, we cannot discount the possibility that he will take another stab at it in less than three years’ time. And according to wildly disturbing reports, he’s laying the groundwork to ensure he has friends in high places—the kind who could help sway an election in his favor— when, and if, he does.

Per Axios:

Trump and his associates are systematically reshaping the Republican Party, working to install handpicked loyalists across federal and state governments and destroy those he feels have been disloyal, sources close to the former president tell Axios. Why it matters: If most or all of Trump’s candidates win, he will go into the 2024 election cycle with far more people willing to do his bidding who run the elections in key states. He will also have a well-funded policy and political infrastructure and his own social media ecosystem.

His apparatus touches everything from unseating governors, members of Congress, state legislators, and secretaries of state, to formulating policy and influencing local school boards.

As Jonathan Swan and Andrew Solender note, the common thread among the majority of candidates Trump has backed thus far is that they’ve all supported his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and would presumably be willing to do the same come 2024. David Perdue, for instance, who has Trump’s backing for Georgia governor, told Axios on Wednesday that he wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s election results—which said Joe Biden won—if he had been in office. Elsewhere, Trump has endorsed candidates in Arizona and Michigan, all of whom share his baseless belief that the election was stolen from him, which, by the way, he still won’t stop talking about.

Sources who have spent time with Trump at his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago say it’s impossible to carry out an extended conversation with him that isn’t interrupted by his fixations on the 2020 election. He’s intensely focused on demands that Republicans “get smart” and pursue efforts to “audit” and overturn that result. “We try to get him onto other topics, but you always get dragged back,” said an adviser to the former president.

Trump is also going after the few congressional Republicans who have defied him. He’s endorsed primary challengers to Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and representatives Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.)—all of whom voted for his impeachment.

Just as chillingly, the ex-president has “called for bills instituting reforms some of his advisers say would have kept him in power,” and his lackeys currently in office are backing them.

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