Friday, February 17, 2023


What are these people thinking?
Republican presidential candidates will be blocked from the debate stage this summer if they do not sign a pledge to support the GOP’s ultimate presidential nominee, according to draft language set to be adopted when the Republican National Committee meets next week.

The proposal sets up a potential clash with former President Donald Trump, who has raised the possibility of leaving the Republican Party and launching an independent candidacy if he does not win the GOP nomination outright.
I'm sticking with my prediction that Trump won't run third party -- he'll never put together a team sufficiently competent to get him on all fifty state ballots and he won't want to lose twice in one year. But I think this will cause a problem for the GOP long before the primary voting starts.

It's safe to say that Trump won't sign this pledge. Why should he? Do you think he needs to introduce himself to the American public via the debates?

He'll simply refuse to sign, which means he'll look to his base like a tough guy playing hardball against "the Establishment" or "the Swamp" or whatever he'll call it. This will thrill those voters. It could also mean much lower ratings for the debates. Will people seriously want to watch Larry Hogan trading barbs with Mike Pompeo while Will Hurd raises an index finger and asks to be included in the discussion? Of course not. Who cares about those people? Viewers will want to see the guy who's a no-show. They'll want to see what he has to say to all those also-rans, as well as to Ron DeSantis. Trump knows this. So he'll wait for the party to beg him to debate.

In an August 2015 debate, Trump refused to pledge his support to a nominee other than himself. He signed the pledge the next month, but then abandoned it in March 2016. This time, Trump might not bother to capitulate, even temporarily. He doesn't need the exposure.

So Trump might never participate in a 2024 primary debate. Maybe that's what the party wants, in the vain hope that his absence from the debate stage will cut into his vote. It won't. It will just make him look like a threat to politcal insiders. That's his comfort zone.

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