While most Democrats dread the possibility of another Trump presidency, they may welcome his candidacy right now.

Donald Trump is by far the most prominent and dominant force in the Republican Party. He is their superb vote-getter and most likely to bring out the Republican base in force. But therein lies his vulnerability.

Trump is a profoundly divisive person. Americans have a strong view of the former president — positive or negative. At a time when Republicans otherwise have the upper hand, he will motivate Democrats to get out their vote during the midterm election like no other force. Too many Republicans fail to give full attention to the depth of dislike and hatred he arouses.

While Trump’s skill in maintaining his popularity among his base may be admirable, it is essential to note that it has not grown. It may have even diminished slightly. A recent New York Times/Siena College poll finds, “The number of Republicans who hold an unfavorable view of him has doubled since our final polling in 2020.” 

The same poll revealed “that more than half of Republican primary voters want to move on from Trump” and “Biden still led Mr. Trump in a hypothetical 2024 matchup, 44 to 41 percent.” 

These polls must be taken with a grain of salt, given our Electoral College system, but they speak to Trump’s candidacy’s weakness. He has the potential to drag other Republicans down.

There are many reasons Democrats will benefit from Trump announcing his candidacy for president. Biden won the 2020 election by 8 million votes and 306 to 232 Electoral College votes. It isn’t easy to imagine loyal Trump supporters changing their votes. It’s equally hard to imagine Trump-haters changing their votes.

Words like a cult, religious devotion, intentional blindness and living in an information silo have often applied to MAGA loyalists.

The common core of these words is an emotional tie to the former president. He has tapped into their feelings of not being heard by Democrats, a sense of grievance or betrayal, and concerns over loss of class status. He successfully tapped into fear concerning advances by minorities and changing gender standards. Perhaps his most important accomplishment is that his followers believe he is working for them.

Trump rarely speaks of policies. His stock and trade have been to play on the underlying discomfort of a significant portion of the American public. “Drain the swamp” and “Make America great again” have a gut-level appeal and continue to touch many. The problem is that it is attached to a personality that offends more Americans than it attracts.

Very few Trump supporters watched or were influenced by the January 6th Select Committee hearings. But a small percentage did. Republican witnesses detailed the former president’s role in the insurrection, and emotion-laden videos replayed repeatedly. These images, plus Trump’s continuing iteration of a stolen election, will only solidify the opposition of Democrats, independents and some Republicans.

The same will happen with his continuing legal and potential criminal issues looming. The drip, drip, drip nature of these problems for Trump may not affect his loyal supporters, but the process is both uncomfortable and unfavorable for many traditional Republicans. For them, the chaos and drama have become tiresome.

Trump’s willingness to support inept candidates, such as Georgia’s Hershel Walker and extremists who support the lie that he won the 2020 election, plays well to only a limited crowd.

Instead of highlighting Republican concerns about inflation, violent crime and illegal immigration, Trump will name-call and highlight himself. These characteristics will tarnish the support of most, but not all, of his endorsements.

The result will be some glaring losses of candidates endorsed by the former president in the midterm election. Losses that might have been avoided without Trump on the campaign trail. If he is the Republicans’ nominee in 2024, those losses will come back to bite him.

Numerous conservative Republicans have voiced the same concerns. They are right to be worried.