I spoke to Bloomberg‘s Josh Green for a piece on the political impact of the potential reinstatement of Donald Trump under new Twitter owner Elon Musk.
Back in January, I wrote about what it would take for Democrats to defy historical trends and hold onto the House. Typically, the party that controls the White House loses congressional seats — often dozens of them — in the first midterm after a new president is elected. Everyone agreed it would take something big. And although a Twitter takeover was not yet a gleam in Elon Musk’s eye, Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist, presciently identified Trump’s return to Twitter as being the sort of black swan event that could supercharge Democratic fortunes, since there could be “no bigger midterm wild card than letting the tiger out of its cage.”
It’s too late for a Trump resurrection to help Democrats on Nov. 8. But Donovan remains confident that the same dynamic still holds and could boost Joe Biden — or whoever is the Democratic nominee — two years from now. “What’s the best thing that’s happened for Republicans over the last 18 months?” Donovan asked, when I spoke to him on Friday. “It’s obviously the absence of Donald Trump from the main stage.”
If Musk carries through with what he’s hinted at and reinstates Trump, the right will celebrate the act as one of the greatest “owns” of liberals ever. It will add immeasurably to Democrats’ unhappiness if Republicans win back Congress. But it may ultimately have nothing like the political effect that Musk and his partisans appear to desire. “It’s going to feel bad, it’s going to touch a lot of nerves on the Democratic side if Trump comes back,” says Donovan. “But anybody taking a longer view should see that it’s beneficial for them to have Trump out there being himself.”
Read the full piece here.