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As Trump's victory path closes, focus shifts to 2024

"The first question is, does Trump run again? If he runs again, he's going block out the sun, and he will be unbeatable in a Republican primary," said Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak.

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President Trump
President Trump
(Tasos Katopodis/Getty)
Updated: January 4, 2021 - 11:40pm

The thousands of Trump supporters planning to converge on the nation's capital on Wednesday are unlikely to succeed in their hopes of pressuring Congress to block the certification of Democrat Joe Biden as the next U.S. president. But their complaints — and the tens of millions of Americans who voted for Trump — will continue to influence U.S. governance and politics for years to come, including who receives the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

One of President Trump's campaign attorneys on Monday suggested to Just the News that Vice President Mike Pence delay certifying the results for Biden when Congress convenes Wednesday and instead ask legislatures in the six disputed swing states to clarify which candidate's slate of electors should be approved.

Pence is unlikely to perform such an action, even though it was also endorsed by Phill Kline, director of the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, which has informally collaborated with the Trump campaign on filing numerous election-related legal challenges in multiple states.

"The United States Constitution, under Article Two, says the state legislatures determine the manner in which presidential electors are selected," Kline told "Just the News A.M." television program on Monday. "So, they have the responsibility, they have the authority, and they need to meet as a body and debate this election, and then determine whether they certify or decertify. It shouldn't be in the hands of a couple of local election officials who have accepted millions of dollars of private funds to tell them how to run the election." 

President Trump on Monday blasted Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton for his intention to certify an Electoral College victory for Biden based on election results the president tweeted are "verifiably WRONG." Biden leads in the official tally 306-232, but at least 14 Republican senators have now joined more than 100 GOP House members in a bid to challenge the results in several contested states.

"How can you certify an election when the numbers being certified are verifiably WRONG,” Trump tweeted on Monday morning. “You will see the real numbers tonight during my speech, but especially on JANUARY 6th. @SenTomCotton Republicans have pluses & minuses, but one thing is sure, THEY NEVER FORGET!" 

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Later in the morning, Trump followed up with an additional tweet on the matter: "The 'Surrender Caucus' within the Republican Party will go down in infamy as weak and ineffective 'guardians' of our Nation, who were willing to accept the certification of fraudulent presidential numbers!

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Once at least one U.S. House member and one U.S. Senator submit an objection, the two chambers of Congress separate to debate for two hours per disputed state and vote on whether to continue counting the votes in light of the objection. Both chambers must vote by a simple majority to concur with the objection for it to carry, otherwise the objection fails.

Under the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, in a contingent election no candidate wins a majority of Electoral College votes, and the election is thrown to the U.S. House of Representatives. There, each state's delegation has one vote, and a candidate must receive the votes of a majority of state delegations to win. Because of the calendar, the new Congress is the one that decides, not the outgoing one.

As Trump's path to victory narrows, GOP activists gathering at the Republican National Committee winter meeting this week in Florida will be considering who will carry the party's torch forward. The first question on their minds will be: Does Trump run again?

"If he runs again, he's going block out the sun, and he will be unbeatable in a Republican primary," Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak, president of of Potomac Strategy Group, told "Just the News A.M." television program on Monday. "If he doesn't run again, then I think it's a free for all. You're seeing Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, a number of others, maybe Nikki Haley, who are trying to position themselves to perhaps run on Trump's issues, if not run on his brand and his personality.

"I think there's an opportunity to take the fact that Trump has made the Republican Party the working class party for the first time since Reagan, and build on that with those issues — that's presuming Trump does not run in 2024. And I don't think we know that he won't do that."

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