Tuesday, November 15, 2022


Vanity Fair's Eric Lutz has a point:
If the GOP wants to break up with Trump, they should should stop talking about it and actually do it. The party has squandered six years' worth of opportunities to ditch Donald Trump — including two impeachments and an insurrection — because they were too afraid of him and his base to take a firm stand. And now, as the former president prepares to launch a third bid for the White House, the Republican Party seems destined to repeat the same mistake.
Lutz quotes Mike Pence weak-tea response to a question from ABC's David Muir, in a discussion of January 6:
“Given all you witnessed in the Capitol that day, this is a pretty straightforward question, a yes or a no — do you believe that Donald Trump should ever be president again?” Muir asked.

“David, I think that’s up to the American people,” Pence replied, not giving a yes or a no, but assuring him that voters may have “better choices in the future.”
Other Republicans have been similarly coy. “Looking forward is always a better campaign strategy,” West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito told Politico. “We ought to look forward.” “I’m sure I’ll support the nominee of the Republican Party,” Texas Senator John Cornyn added. “But I think there’s likely to be a competitive primary election.”
Typically, they'll trash Trump privately, but not in public. They want it leaked that they don't like him anyomre, but they still want the option of denying that they expressed that opinion. As an example, here's an Axios report:
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie received huge applause at an annual meeting of Republican governors Tuesday morning after blaming former President Trump for GOP failures in the last three elections, according to three sources in the room and a fourth person familiar with the speech.
There's no video, there's no audio, so anyone in attendance who gets attacked for this can just say the report is inaccurate, or claim not to have applauded. But at this point, with so many people reportedly souring on Trump, why not go public?

Another thing Republicans not named DeSantis can do, if they want to rid themselves of Trump, is stay the hell out of the presidential race. But the same Axios story tells us that Christie "is now considering his own 2024 presidential campaign." Why? In the most recent multi-candidate survey of the possible 2024 field, from Morning Consult, Chris Chritie gets 0% of the vote. (Okay, technically 0.475% of the vote -- 4 out of 842 respondents chose him -- but that rounds down to 0%.) The person who particularly needs to stay out is Mike Pence, who's likely to shave a few points off DeSantis's total. Throw in Christie and Nikki Haley and Mike Pompeo and whoever else gets in the race and Trump might win it while the anti-Trump vote is split.

One thing I'm watching is the demographic difference between Trump and anti-Trump voters. According to that Morning Consult poll, Trump's support is now disproportionately non-college-educated and less wealthy:

I think prominent Republicans should publicly kick Trump to the curb, but it's possible that doing so would just make those Republicans look like elitist Establishment swamp dwellers to Trump's base.

Still, it's a good time to publicly jump ship. And they might as well just clear the field for DeSantis as his lone competitor. But they won't.

No comments: