To the extent that Republicans with 2024 presidential aspirations feared Donald Trump and the wrath of MAGA, NBC reports that the fear is subsiding as potential candidates now anticipate that Trump will be indicted for some kind of felony related to January 6, 2021 (Or perhaps the classified files in Mar-a-Lago, which – in the exact right context, might be just as traitorous as January 6th). It would seem as though Cassidy Hutchinson has set a select type free to start taking concrete steps.

According to NBC:

But Jan. 6 is only one factor in the jockeying to take on the undisputed leader of the GOP, sources say. There’s also the ambition of politicians that’s typical for any end-of-midterm election cycle; a hope Trump won’t run again; a belief by some that he could be indicted as a result of Jan. 6 or his efforts to overturn the election results in Georgia.

Even Republicans who still support Trump aren’t sure that they want him running again, as NBC quotes one GOP Iowa operative Bob Vander Plaats, who states the obvious:

“The best way I can put it, is that if there’s a Trump candidacy — and so many of us respect what he did as president — many are afraid we’re going to end up in an endless debate on the past versus a debate on moving forward in the future,” Vander Plaats said of what he’s hearing “on the ground” in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

Vander Plaats goes on to say that he fears that the debate will be about rigged elections, January 6th, personal grievance, instead of Joe Biden and $5 gas.

Most importantly, the combination of the January 6th hearings along with indications out of Georgia, such as Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger running right over Trump’s attempt to take over the party along with Trump’s own behavior wreaking of weakness lately has taken a lot of the fear out of the equation:

“The fear factor is gone for a lot of consultants and some politicians who otherwise were worried about crossing him,” said one top Republican consultant who, nonetheless, didn’t want to publicly cross Trump and spoke on condition of anonymity. 

So the fear isn’t “all” gone.

Strangely, the article doesn’t mention the one man who is the heir apparent, Ron DeSantis. DeSantis never agreed to “not run” if Trump sought the GOP primary as he is the only one strong enough to contemplate a man-on-man race with Trump. DeSantis is particularly dangerous for Trump and the country. He is all the MAGA, all the fascism, none of the criminal charges or other baggage. DeSantis surely smiles and does a few fistbumps with every new witness brought forth by the Committee.

DeSantis surely feels free to “Floridize” the country with his own version of extreme MAGA, every bit as fascist. Some of us consider the 2024 race DeSantis’s to lose. Regardless, Trump appears increasingly toothless as his “candidacy” in 2024 seems as much about staying out of prison as it is about getting into the White House.