At this point imagining otherwise is just wishful thinking. The Republican party is now a straight up personality cult, that requires tossing out Liz Cheney and tolerating Matt Gaetz, for no other reason than that the former doesn’t pledge 100% allegiance to Trump and his endless lies, and the latter does. (Facebook’s decision to temporarily uphold Trump’s ban will only inflame his base in their belief that they and their God-Emperor are being Cancelled and this will not stand etc.)
The only supposed variable here is whether Trump wants the nomination. In my view that’s not really a variable: of course he wants it. His malignant narcissism absolutely guarantees that he does everything he can to once again become The Man You Can’t Ignore. This is like asking if the Terminator is going to stop pursuing Sarah Connor.
To be strictly accurate, the one real variable is whether Trump’s health will allow him to run. This is another topic regarding which wishful thinking continues to bloom like MAGA hats at a Spartanburg SC Walmart. Trump is going to live to be 92 at least, and while his mind is gradually becoming increasingly addled with age, this merely makes him more lovable to his supporters, since the crazier and more incoherent he gets the more supporting him owns the libs.
He’s going to run and as a practical matter he’ll be unopposed for the GOP nomination.
Yet another fount of wishful thinking is the idea that this is actually a good thing, because he’s certain to lose the general and drag the rest of the GOP ticket down with him.
Isn’t it pretty to think so? Yes it is, but anybody who is confident about that outcome hasn’t been keeping up with current events, which feature among other things 45% of the voting public having gone full fascist, while the Republican party is busy making sure that the 2022 and 2024 elections will be rigged in their favor to the maximum extent permitted by The Rule of Law, the Wisdom of the Framers, and John Roberts’s secret Federalist Society copy of the Constitution, which by the way is a lot.