If you’ve been wondering whether Donald Trump still plans to drag the Republican Party down with him if he is indicted, you can stop right now.
Trump promised reporters covering last weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) event that he would "absolutely" continue his bid for reelection even if he is indicted in one of several ongoing criminal investigations into his handling of classified documents and efforts to subvert to the 2020 election.
Trump also delivered a keynote address that lasted one hour and 45 minutes, according to Politico, because he obviously had a lot of important points to make.
“We had a Republican Party that was ruled by freaks, neocons, globalists, open border zealots, and fools, but we are never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush,” Trump said during his speech. “People are tired of RINOs and globalists. They want to see America First.”
Trump's digs at Jeb!, RINOs, and globalists are notable because he has been using all three references as establishment-themed attacks on his chief GOP rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, DeSantis skipped CPAC this year, opting instead to deliver a speech to roughly 1,000 well-heeled donors at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.)
But Trump also encouraged a broad field of GOP candidates to run because splintering the group will likely improve his chances of capturing the nomination.
“I really say the more the merrier," Trump said when asked about several of his former administration officials being likely to challenge him. Trump's former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has already thrown her hat in the ring.
"I mean, they think they did a good job,” Trump said of their work in his administration. “They’re very ambitious people, but they think they did a good job.”
Predictably, Trump described his reelection bid in grandiose terms, calling it the "final battle" for his MAGA acolytes.
“Either they win or we win. And if they win, we no longer have a country,” Trump told the crowd.
What do Americans really think about the issues? It turns out they are a surprisingly liberal bunch, as Rachael Russell of Navigator Research tells us on this week's episode of The Downballot. Russell explains how Navigator conducts in-depth research to fill in gaps in policy debates with hard data instead of pundit speculation. The challenge for Democrats is that many voters say they hold progressive beliefs but still pull the lever for Republicans. That imbalance, however, presents an opportunity—Democrats just have to seize it.
Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard also recap the first round of voting in the race for Chicago mayor, which saw a progressive apocalypse averted; the resolution to the long-running uncertainty over the speakership in the Pennsylvania state House that saw Joanna McClinton make history; Rep. Elissa Slotkin's entry into Michigan's open Senate race, which makes her the first prominent candidate to run; and the inexplicable decision by conservatives to go dark on the airwaves for a full week following last week's primary in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.