T. Belman. Not so fast. the GOP and Trump must do something about election fraud or we will see a repeat of 2020 and 2022.
President Trump has a quasi-incumbency advantage for the Republican nomination, but there is much chatter about how he can officially seal the deal on his third primary victory.
However, one thing he does not have to do is “unite” the party, at least not in the way some believe.
During the 2008 Democrat primaries, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were locked into a vicious campaign that saw Obama squeak out a slim delegate victory. In theory, a party can’t be more “divided” than having two candidates essentially tied. Eight years later, the Republican primary saw Trump spar with 16 candidates en route to winning a smaller percentage of delegates than any Republican nominee since 1968.
Both primaries produced battle-tested nominees by the time the general election cycle began. And while during the process it seemed there was immense internal division, voters of Obama in 2008 and Trump in 2016 evidently were not fazed by in-party hostilities by the time the general election arrived. In fact, those vicious primaries mobilized voters because Obama and Trump proved that they could withstand the storm, and voters rewarded them greatly for it. This was proven by Obama setting the then-popular vote record in 2008 and furthered by Trump setting the then-Republican candidate record for general election votes in 2016.
The alternative to this is having a nominee who faces very little opposition, which is not as beneficial as it sounds. The primary may appear more united, but keeping the all-important momentum going is the key to winning for any candidate. Recent history proves when it is assumed a primary is a “lock,” voters are more likely to stay complacent during the general compared to the party that experienced a tight race throughout the entire process. Furthermore, when a candidate experiences attacks for the first time during general election debates, they are less prepared to counter them than those who experience them during the primaries.
Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders by 12 percent in 2016, but Hillary already had the vast majority of the superdelegates pledged to her candidacy prior to the election, making that primary a foregone conclusion. Likewise, McCain and Romney were granted their long-assumed turns as the Republican nominee without much resistance in 2008 and 2012, respectively. All three nominees endured a noticeable lack of voter enthusiasm before their significant electoral college defeats, despite the party elites all strongly backing them.
What this shows is the party is the voters, not the long-entrenched figures associated with it. Trump has already united voters, which is why he doesn’t need the establishment seal of approval.
In 2015 Trump was an outsider that joined a party with strong allegiances to the political dynasties of Bush, Cheney, and Romney, and had put their hopes in the young, up-and-coming Paul Ryan. Trump has since ended the Bush and Cheney dynasties by defeating Jeb Bush soundly in the 2016 primary and endorsing a 2022 primary challenger to Liz Cheney who went on to beat her by nearly 40 points. Paul Ryan has also bowed out of public politics, and there is a good chance Mitt Romney is serving his last term in public office.
Voters supported 91% of Trump’s endorsed candidates during the 2022 midterms, despite candidates not being nearly as popular as Trump himself. Republicans also outvoted Democrats on a national scale by the millions despite disenfranchisement that took place in Arizona.
The portion of the party not united behind Trump represents a vast minority, as virtually all polling shows Republican voters strongly prefer Trump to be the nominee. The narrative that the party isn’t united comes from T.V. personalities, and the minority of Republican political figures who are given airtime for being openly anti-Trump.
The main goal for many old-guard, career-political establishment Republicans such as Chris Sununu is to stop Trump as opposed to securing a party victory. They would rather a Democrat win than Trump, which is why voters reject them.
Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson are other openly anti-Trump candidates who fail to crack double digits in the polls, and Paul Ryan now refers to himself as a Never-Again-Trumper from his NewsCorp perch. But even Mitt Romney conceded they are in the minority of the party in saying:
“Among the potential contenders in 2024, if you put President Trump in there among Republicans, he wins in a landslide. Though I would probably be getting behind somebody who I thought more represented the tiny wing of the Republican party that I represent.”
Matt Kane is a writer who graduated from Stony Brook University with a bachelor’s degree in political science whose work has been published by RealClearPolitics. Follow on Truth Social: @MattKane