The clock is ticking for Donald Trump. Wedged between the 2024 Presidential run and the current landscape which benefits from his silence, Trump is trying to walk the line between staying relevant - and trying not to draw too much heat towards himself.
It's a delicate line for him to balance on, and the end of the journey could end in two vastly different ways: the White House in 2024 - or prison.
January 6 Hearings Resume in September and Trump is Worried
If you read the Truth Social feed of Donald Trump this week, it's mostly focused on two things: endorsements for primary candidates, and lashing out at the January 6 "unselect" committee as he calls it, and chairwoman Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY).
It shows Trump's mental state as things stand. He's trying hard to stay on top of the political arena, by bestowing his blessing on primary candidates who can bring him easy wins that he can show his followers as proof of his continued primacy.
But on the other hand, you can tell Trump is worried by how frequently he brings up the January 6 committee and Liz Cheney specifically. After all, you don't spend time on topics that don't concern you.
Trump wrote on Truth yesterday, "Liz Cheney is having little luck getting people to focus on the Fake Unselect Committee after losing tremendous credibility in her record setting loss in Wyoming. She lost by almost 40 points, and now she wants to tell other politicians 'how to do it.' Also, people are beginning to focus on the fact that because I recommended 10,000 to 20,000 troops on January 3rd, which recommendation was turned down by Pelosi and the D.C. Mayor, I cannot be held accountable - But maybe they can!"
The January 6 committee reconvenes in September, and it's clear that Trump feels the heat of the hearings bearing down. What the J6 committee and Department of Justice are doing could spell two vastly divergent futures for the king of MAGA, and whether or not Trump ends up in the White House or prison for 2024 could depend on public opinion and pressure to indict him. Trump as a result is pushing hard for people to focus on any irregularities or unpopular points regarding the J6 committee and chairpersons, while waving his primary victories as high as he possibly can.
Republican Strategy is Up in the Air Thanks to J6 Hearings
There's no doubt about it, Donald Trump has put the Republican party in a difficult place. Once the party of family values and law and order, they're now dealing with an identity crisis that can only resolve one of two ways. Either they can embrace MAGA culture to the point where they can no longer be separated from one another, or they can reject it - and flounder until they find a new image that resonates with voters.
With Trump's political and legal future uncertain, Republicans heading into the 2022 midterms are biting their nails and waiting for the other shoe to drop. While Trump's troubles have made him ever more popular among hard-line voters and die-hard supporters, it's pushing away the moderates, independents and on-the-fence voters who brought him victory in 2016.
So Republicans are having to form strategy against a future they can't predict - and it's a frustrating dance between embracing the beast that is the MAGA following, and rejecting it to prepare for a potential "after the fall" landscape. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has already signaled that the Republican chances to retake both House and Senate in 2022 are waning. The Senate, McConnell suggests, is a 50-50 chance, down from a previous homerun outlook. McConnell still feels good about Republican chances for the House, but it's a marked departure from the optimism strategists embraced earlier this year when it looked like nothing could steal victory from Republicans.
Unfortunately for McConnell et al., they may have stolen victory from themselves as the chaos makes strategy impossible. But there's nowhere Trump shines more than astride the back of a beast of chaos - so this may be exactly what his voters need to rally and snatch victory from defeat.