WATERLOO – Republicans attempting to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2024 believe the more candidates running against him, the better.
Although more than a dozen Republicans have shown interest in running for president, GOP insiders, conservative activists, and prospective candidates anticipate that fewer contenders will try to unseat Trump than they did the first time he was a candidate.
Because there were so many contenders for the nomination at the time, the GOP organized two-tier debates to accommodate everyone. After contributing millions of dollars to his campaign and amassing delegates in states with early races, Trump won the nomination.
Republicans who want to get rid of Trump claim that if they don’t quickly unite around a different candidate, they risk nominating Trump once again, as they did in 2016.
He shouldn’t be taken lightly. Asa Hutchinson, a former governor of Arkansas and potential presidential candidate, said, “You think about the organization he has, the fundraising capability he has, the 100% name recognition that he has, the ability to attract media attention, I mean, he’s a very, very formidable candidate.
However, despite being a strong candidate, history shows that he will not prevail in the November election.
Trump against “someone else”
Republicans in and outside of Washington worry that Trump will once again cost them the White House. He has persisted in spreading bogus conspiracies about the 2020 election, is the subject of a federal investigation, and frequently trails President Joe Biden in polls conducted around the country.
When primary voters have a choice between the former president and more than one other Republican, despite his declining power, a majority still backs him.
According to a January survey by the New Hampshire Journal, Trump was leading 37% of Republicans in this crucial early election state. In Florida, Ron DeSantis received 26% of the vote. Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire received 13% of the vote.
Mike Pence, the former vice president, and Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the UN, each received a meager ten percent of the vote. Glenn Youngkin, the governor of Virginia, had no support, while 18% of Republicans were unsure.
However, Republican voters in New Hampshire would split their support between the former president and his primary rival if the contest was between Trump and “someone else.” According to a nationwide Marquette Law Poll, DeSantis would have a roughly 2-1 advantage over Trump.
Those polls are unsettling some Republicans, who are Republicans.
According to David McIntosh, president of the influential Club for Growth, a conservative economic organization, if it turns out that a “bunch of people, candidates that nobody takes seriously” are on the ballot with Trump and DeSantis, “that makes it more likely that Trump ends up winning some of these early primaries.”
The Democratic Party is consistently considerably more effective at this. They converse with one another,” McIntosh added. “Republicans, everyone believes that this is their opportunity to shine for five minutes. Additionally, it doesn’t cost much to get by in Iowa.
Trump’s early domination, according to potential contenders, party officials, and top operatives, is not a justification for his potential rivals to boycott the primary. Republicans who are sincerely thinking about running for president should have the chance to introduce themselves to people and participate in debates.
Marc Short, a Pence aide, stated that he thinks the “process has a way of weeding out the strongest candidate” and that narrowing the field could be counterproductive. “A natural effect takes place. Money stops flowing if you are unable to express support, according to Short.
Sununu, who recently began his fourth term as governor of New Hampshire, claimed in an interview with USA TODAY that there haven’t been any informal discussions among prospective candidates about stepping aside. In the coming months, he said, more candidates will make announcements.
“Look, if people are entering the race, that’s OK, I think there is a broad understanding and acceptance of that. However, if things aren’t going well, you ought to leave, Sununu advised.
The shape of the Republican primary field
Several senators mentioned as potential GOP candidates have already made up their minds to decline. Sens. Tom Cotton from Arkansas, Rick Scott from Florida, and Josh Hawley from Missouri have declared that they will not run for president in 2024. First-term senators Scott and Hawley are up for reelection.
The position of Sen. Ted Cruz is also open, but the Texan, who finished second to Trump in 2016, is not anticipated to run for president again.
Although several current and past governors, including Sununu, Hutchinson, Haley, and Maryland’s Larry Hogan, are publicly considering campaigns, no other significant Republicans have declared candidacies.
Haley earlier declared that she wouldn’t challenge Trump. However, the former governor of South Carolina is moving forward with her intentions to formally introduce her campaign on February 15 in Charleston.
Politics is at play. Things shift. Except for ardent supporters of Donald Trump, I don’t think anyone will hold it against her, said Katon Dawson, a former South Carolina GOP chair who is supporting Haley.
In an interview, Hogan, whose second term as governor of Maryland ended last month, stated that he is “taking a careful look at it” but has not yet made a decision. The political environment is “not nearly as settled as it was,” according to Hogan.
Being the first to start isn’t necessarily a wise move, according to Hogan.
“No one needs to enter at this time.”
Because they don’t want to serve as a crutch for Trump, who made his first trip to South Carolina and New Hampshire as a 2024 candidate last Saturday, some prospective candidates have delayed their announcements. Trump made a name for himself by calling his 2016 rivals nasty nicknames. Additionally, he attacked DeSantis over the weekend, branding him “disloyal” for considering a campaign.
Others are expanding their fundraising and campaigning efforts. Many people balance their day jobs and presidential aspirations.
In Florida, a populated battleground state where the legislative session lasts until early May, voters recently re-elected DeSantis to a second four-year term.
DeSantis, in my opinion, is acting appropriately by holding off on making an announcement and instead focusing on improving his standing in Florida, said McIntosh. But everyone is waiting for him to make a statement because they believe he is the only candidate who has a chance to unseat Trump and maintain his support base.
Candidates who are not officially in government, like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have been courting supporters in South Carolina, Iowa, and New Hampshire for nearly two years.
Sununu asserted, “You don’t have to be an officially declared candidate to truly be running, putting your name out there, and being effective. “No one needs to enter at this time.”
I want to see the money
Candidates, however, can no longer afford to wait. To have a chance of obtaining the nomination, the majority must be in the race by the first presidential debate. Republicans claim that the debates will be a key chance for candidates to gather support and generate money.
The first debate might occur at the same site where the Republican National Committee holds its annual summer meeting in July. The RNC is thinking about using a threshold for donors or individual donations to decide who gets to debate.
Building name ID also takes time, according to anti-Trump GOP strategist Sarah Longwell, who has been interviewing voters in early GOP primary states. DeSantis has more time than anybody else because he is the “shadow presumed frontrunner.”
Longwell claimed that she has discovered that even the most ardent followers of the former president are unaware of his possible rivals. She remarked, “They don’t know the names of anyone else.” They are still not very attuned to alternatives.
In November, Trump officially began his 2024 campaign. In a weekend fundraising email, he made sure to highlight the fact that he was the “FIRST Republican presidential contender to campaign in the two early primary states” and boasted that “[n]o other candidate is working this early to get every last vote.”
His potential rivals criticized the appearances as being underwhelming.
Hogan remarked, “It was a little underwhelming. It wasn’t really impressive… He needs to put in a lot more effort if he wants to run a successful campaign, in my opinion.
Before Trump visits New Hampshire, Sununu stated in an interview that the majority of Republicans want to forget about the former president. “It’s obvious that he entered the contest at his political low point. For him, nothing is improving. There are also plenty of other excellent options available.
No one can inspire the voters as much as Trump, according to a statement from Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung, who noted that Trump continues to lead in state and local polls.
“Anyone worried about 2016 happening again does not support America First. The only individual who can restore Republican control of the White House in 2024 is President Trump, who is without a doubt the party’s undisputed leader “said he.
Only one past president of the United States, Grover Cleveland, has ever held office for two terms that weren’t consecutive. But Trump has an early advantage, according to insiders, because he maintains a sizable donor list and has a sizable base of support.
Alice Stewart, a GOP strategist who worked for Cruz in 2016, claimed that “GOP movers and shakers are admitting that we need someone that has the policies of Trump, but are not the dumpster fire that Trump is.” Republicans who are thinking rationally understand that we must get past Trump.