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12.19.2022 0

Poll: After announcing 2024 campaign and getting another special counsel, Trump expands lead in GOP primary as Republican voters reject establishment

By Robert Romano

Former President Donald Trump has expanded his lead in the latest Harvard-Harris poll of the Republican presidential primary taken Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, with Trump leading Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, 48 percent to 25 percent, a massive 23-point lead.

That is up from a month ago on Nov. 15, the day Trump announced his 2024 campaign, when Harvard-Harris had Trump up in the race by 18 points, 46 percent to 28 percent.

The uptick came after what can only be described as everything and the kitchen sink approach to attempt to politically knock Trump down, with conservative news sources that Republicans tend to watch engaged in visible “blame Trump” post-election press coverage after the GOP failed to pick up any seats in the Senate — even though Trump was not on the ballot and as Republicans were winning seats in the House and reclaimed a majority there.

And then, just days later, on Nov. 18, Attorney General Merrick Garland once again thrust Trump into the limelight by appointing Special Counsel Jack Smith to investigate and presumably prosecute Trump.

In Garland’s Nov. 18 announcement of the appointment of the special counsel, Trump’s Nov. 15 announcement he was running for president — something he has a constitutional right to do —  in the constitutionally prescribed 2024 election was the rationale for the heightened criminal investigation.

Garland stated, “Based on recent developments, including the former President’s announcement that he is a candidate for President in the next election, and the sitting President’s stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a Special Counsel.”

Here, Garland is admitting that the justification for the special counsel was political: Trump and Biden are running against each other in the next election.

In order for a special counsel to be appointed, according to 28 C.F.R. 600.1, the Attorney General must determine “that [a] criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted and… investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances…”

Meaning, Attorney General Merrick Garland has a “conflict of interest” and cannot continue the investigation on his own. Because Trump is President Jode Biden’s opponent in the 2024 presidential election.

Perhaps, rather than the special counsel appointment making Trump appear criminal, it made President Biden and the Justice Department look criminal for investigating their political opponents in a presidential campaign — again.

Trump also spoke of overhauling the U.S. Constitution on Truth Social to provide for more robust post-election challenges, all to near universal condemnation by Washington, D.C. establishment and news, but Republican voters were unsurprisingly unphased.

And Trump selling superhero trading cards featuring him, again offering another cycle of negative news content for Trump had no impact — other than raising a few million dollars for Trump.

In the meantime, Trump is doing just fine in the Harvard-Harris poll against current incumbent President Joe Biden, 45 percent to 40 percent. If the election were held right now, Trump might win.

Also doing just fine in the Republican primary is Florida Gov. DeSantis, who with sizeable 25 percent of support among Republican primary voters, who leads former Vice President Mike Pence, who only garners 6 percent, by 19 points. Trump is up over Pence by 42 points.

What does that mean? Republican voters hate establishment candidates. They won’t vote for them. But they will vote for candidates they perceive as taking on the establishment. Trump and DeSantis have that street cred with Republican voters because they don’t betray their principles — and in the 2024 GOP primary that will be the gold standard. Stay tuned.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

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