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Is Donald Trump beatable in the Republican primary?

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The natural place to start with any examination of whether a certain electoral outcome is possible — in this case, whether Donald Trump could be defeated in the 2024 Republican presidential primary — is with an admission-slash-cop-out.

Certainly he could. Lots of things could happen between now and then, things that would be hard to predict, developments that reshape the political landscape completely. My favorite example of this is a recent one: In August 2018, would you have assumed that the 2020 election would be largely defined by a global pandemic?

But, again, that’s a cop-out. The actual answer to the question is that, should patterns hold even loosely, Trump is extremely well-positioned to be his party’s 2024 nominee should he desire to be. And there are numerous — countless! — indicators that he desires to be.

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