Trump’s 2016 playbook vanquished Republican challengers. Can he do it again in 2024?

When Donald Trump ran for president in 2016, he faced a Republican primary field of seasoned politicians and leaders. He went on to beat them all, often by deploying visceral personal attacks — from “little Marco” and “low energy Jeb” to “lyin’ Ted,” whose father Trump once baselessly suggested was linked to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

But now, as he wages a third consecutive White House campaign, the power of Trump’s punches is likely to be put to its greatest test, according to veterans of his scorched-earth style.

Since launching his bid on Nov. 15, he’s been dogged by new controversies — dining with the antisemite Nick Fuentes, saying the Constitution should be partially terminated — and ongoing legal scrutiny as well as a mixed track record with his political power, after his candidates in marquee midterm races went down in defeat.

Some of them predict that if he faces a new slew of GOP challengers, which would be a highly unusual obstacle for a former president running in a primary, he’ll successfully chew them all up, in a repeat of his 2016 playbook.

Or he will choke trying, other party operatives said, regardless of the damage it may do to the broader party.