Republicans tell themselves Trump can't win an election — like they did in 2016

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Republicans say they think Trump's recent behavior makes him 'disqualified' for another presidential run. That sounds familiar.

Republican senators both publicly and privately are saying Donald Trump's second impeachment trial will make him unelectable in the 2024 GOP primary.

"Unwittingly, they are doing us a favor. They're making Donald Trump disqualified to run for president," one anonymous Republican senator told the Hill, saying that Trump won't be able to win even if he ran again.

Another unnamed GOP senator told the Hill that it would be "difficult" for Trump to run again after the trial, even if he is acquitted.

"I think closing the door on that [Trump] chapter is probably positive overall," the anonymous Republican senator told the Hill.

Sen. Lisa Murkowsi (R-AK), one of the few Republicans who may vote to convict Trump and bar him from office, made similar comments, even though her fellow GOP lawmakers are likely to let Trump off.

"I don't see how, after the American public sees the full story laid out here...I don't see how Donald Trump could be re-elected to the presidency again," Murkowski told reporters on Thursday.

The comments, however, feel like deja vu from 2016, when Republicans convinced themselves Trump couldn't win the GOP primary — even though all evidence pointed to the contrary.

The fact that the Republican Senate is going to acquit Trump in the first place is proof that Trump still wields control over the party, and Republicans are scared of angering his base.

A new poll from Vox and Data for Progress found just 22% of Republicans blamed Trump for the insurrection, and 69% of Republicans said they would be "less likely" to vote for GOP senators who vote to convict Trump.

"He may or may not be 'unelectable' at this point, but a) that has nothing to do with this trial and b) that alone wouldn't stop the primary electorate from nominating him again," Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist, tweeted. "At this point you're just talking yourself into the idea that he'll think the better of running."

Trump is mulling running again and has been raising money for his future political endeavors off his voter fraud lies.

Polling after the insurrection found Trump's standing with Republicans slipping. Yet a whopping 42% still said they'd vote for Trump in a 2024 primary, according to a Morning Consult survey.

Democratic impeachment managers have been warning that not barring Trump from office presents a risk to the country that he could run again, and incite more violence if he does.

"You know I'm not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years," Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), one of the impeachment managers, said Thursday as part of the managers' closing argument. "I'm afraid he's going to run again and lose, cause he can do this again."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.