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Win or lose, Trump supporters don’t want him on the ballot in 2024

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  • President Donald Trump’s supporters love him. But more than a dozen of them told Insider they won’t support him running again beyond the 2020 election regardless of whether he wins or loses in November.
  • Should he lose the election to Biden next month, Trump would still be eligible to run for another term as early as 2024. His supporters say he may be too old at the time and should make way for other faces.
  • “If he loses, then I think it’s time for him to leave,” said one supporter at a recent Trump rally in Pennsylvania. “I think it’s time to get some new blood in and spark some new momentum.”
  • Trump has also suggested numerous times that he could try to run for a third term. That would require a change in the constitution and append decades of US democratic norms.
  • “No president is allowed to do that,” said Ashley LaPorte, who plans to vote for Trump in November. “This is not a dictatorship.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

MIDDLETOWN, Pennsylvania — President Donald Trump’s supporters love their guy but they’re ready to back someone else should he try to run for the White House again in 2024.

Trump would be too old, some of his most fervent fans said. They also said that it would be time for new faces in the White House, such as Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, conservative author Candace Owens or Nikki Haley, the South Carolina governor and ex-US ambassador to the United Nations.

In fact, more than a dozen Trump supporters Insider interviewed at a recent rally in the battleground state of Pennsylvania said that while they are huge fans of the president and believe he’s the best thing to ever happen to America, they’d still want to see a new candidate atop the ticket four years from now. 

“If he loses then I think it’s time for him to leave,” said 20-year-old Antonio Bendetti of Syracuse, New York, who traveled to the Trump rally held on the same Saturday night that the president announced in a White House Rose Garden ceremony his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. 

“I think it’s time to get some new blood in and spark some new momentum,” Bendetti added.

The notion of Trump being on the ballot in 2024 isn’t so far fetched for someone who over the last four years has shattered any and all American political norms. 

If Trump loses in November he’ll be the talk of the GOP as the entire field waits to hear whether he’d try to be the first president since Grover Cleveland in the late 19th century to win non-consecutive terms in office. As recently as last month, Trump told a crowd of supporters that he believed he was owed at least a third term in office, a proposition that would require a rarely-made change to the US Constitution.

“52 days from now we’re going to win Nevada, and we’re going to win four more years in the White House. And then after that, we’ll negotiate, right? ‘Cause we’re probably — based on the way we were treated — we’re probably entitled to another four after that,” he said at a September 12 rally in Minden, Nevada.

Screen Shot 2020 10 13 at 5.37.59 PM

20-year-old Antonio Bendetti of Syracuse, New York, who travelled to the Trump rally held at Harrisburg International Airport in Pennslyvania

Photo by Elvina Nawaguna/ Business Insider


‘That’s bulls—‘

Throughout his time as president, Trump has suggested he could serve more than two terms in office, often blaming the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections and the impeachment proceedings in Congress as unfair to him and the reason he’s entitled to a longer stay at the White House. Trump has also praised the Communist Party of China for abolishing presidential term limits there. 

But Trump supporters interviewed for this story also rightfully point out that such a move would be unconstitutional and they too argue it could lead the US down the path to dictatorship. 

“That’s bullshit. No way!” said Bendetti, a political science student at Pennsylvania State University who will be casting his first-ever vote for Trump in November. “Like, I love the guy —great president — but we have these principles…mechanisms for a reason.”

For Trump to run for a third term, he would need at least two-thirds of the House and Senate to vote to repeal the 22nd constitutional amendment that placed limits on presidential terms. That would require several Democrats and all Republicans to be on board with such a monumental change, a nearly impossible scenario even if the GOP retains its majority in the upper chamber and somehow won back the House in November. Two-thirds of state legislatures would also need to vote to ratify such a change.

“There needs to be new blood,” said Patricia Coohill, a 51-year-old substitute teacher from White House Station, New Jersey. “I would love it, but no. It’s not right.”

“No president is allowed to do that,” added Ashley LaPorte, who lives in Harrisburg. “This is not a dictatorship.”

LaPorte, who went to the Trump rally at Harrisburg International Airport with her husband Vince and their young daughter, plans to vote for Trump in November.

Gary Hall Trump supporter Harrisburg

50-year-old Gary Hall of Loudon County, Virginia traveled to Middletown, Pennsylvania for a Trump rally in September.

By Elvina Nawaguna/ Business Insider


Trolling liberals

Many Trump supporters said they doubt that the president is being serious when he suggests he could try to break the two-term precedent set by President George Washington.

It’s said in jest; he’s just trolling his liberal detractors; that’s just his personality, Trump’s supporters say in his defense. 

“I think he’s joked about it, but I think it’s against the Constitution and I’m for the Constitution,” said 50-year-old Gary Hall of Loudon County, Virginia. “As much as I like him…there’s no way.”

Trump would not be the first US president to try to stretch his time in office beyond the two-term maximum. But the last person who successfully did so ruined any chances for future presidents to succeed again. 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt won a third term in 1940, promising to keep the US out of World War II, which was raging in Europe.

And then Roosevelt won a fourth term in 1944, prompting Congress to pass the 22nd Amendment that was ratified in 1951, limiting presidents to two terms in office. 

Trump supporters

Trump supporters make their way through the long line to get into a campaign rally at Harrisburg International Airport in September 2020

By Elvina Nawaguna/ Business Insider


‘That will be Nikki Haley’s turn’

Trump has shown he’s willing to flip the script on almost every US democratic norm and precedent and has benefited from his GOP backers going along or being unwilling to —at least publicly — condemn him. 

But there’s “no chance” there would be enough support, even among Republican lawmakers for such a consequential constitutional change, said Richard Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine.

Polling by research and analysis group YouGov found that about 55% percent of Americans surveyed  “strongly oppose” changing the Constitution to allow presidents to run for a third term. Among Republicans surveyed, 30% said they were open to the change compared to 14% of Democrats. 

A more plausible scenario with Trump — if Biden ousted him next month — would be to try to clinch a second presidency in 2024.

“Whether voters would want him is hard to say,” Hasen said. “Four more years is a long time.”

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the president’s seriousness about seeking a third term or whether he was preparing for a 2024 run if he loses to Biden next month. 

Trump, 74, is already the second oldest president behind just Ronald Reagan. By Inauguration Day in January 2025, he’d be nearly 79. That would be too old for many of his supporters, who have been tossing insults at Biden for his age at 77. 

But the US Constitution doesn’t place a maximum age limit on running for presidential office, only the requirement that someone be at least 35 years old. 

Still, Trump’s most ardent supporters say he should exit the stage and make way for younger candidates in 2024. Owens, a Black conservative activist, and Crenshaw are among the names Trump supporters suggested should be next in line. Of the 14 people interviewed at the Pennsylvania rally, none mentioned Vice President Mike Pence, who is widely viewed as 2024 GOP front-runner.

“That will be Nikki Haley’s turn,” said 49-year-old Alex Calvi, of Butler, New Jersey, referring to Trump’s former Ambassador to the United Nations and former South Carolina governor.

A Trump 2024 campaign isn’t without its supporters. One woman at the Pennsylvania rally said that while she wouldn’t support Trump running for a third term she’d be OK with another run in 2024 if the president lost to Biden in November.

 “It’s legal,” said Veronica Gemma, 52, of York County, Pennsylvania. “Why not?

 

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