Over this last weekend there was a Republican presidential fishing expedition, the first for 2024, at an RJC event in Las Vegas.
Big shark Trump spoke and was received politely. Other sharks were received much more enthusiastically. So if Trumpsters are expecting a free ride to the nomination, these opening salvos aimed at their fish should serve as a wake up. There is Trump blood in the water and it’s drawing the predictable response.
Here are some choice comments on the 45th president from various contenders.
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Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, “We keep losing and losing and losing and the fact of the matter is the reason we are losing is because Donald Trump has put himself before everybody else. It is time to stop whispering. It’s time to stop doing the knowing nods that we can’t talk. It’s time to stop being afraid of any one person. I am ready for that fight.”
“Trump said we would be winning so much we’d get tired of winning. Well, I’m sick and tired of our party losing. This is the third election in a row that we lost and should have won,” opined Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan. “I say three strikes and you’re out.”
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said in his speech, to great applause, that, “I’ve got a great policy for the Republican Party. Let’s stop supporting crazy, unelectable candidates in our primaries and start getting behind winners that can close the deal in November.” That was a definite sideways launch at Trump.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz took another outside shot at Trump, “Candidate quality matters. I will say, some of the nominees, particularly some of the gubernatorial nominees who raised next to no money, ran no TV commercials, and didn’t really run a campaign, dammit, this is serious business. If you can’t raise money and run a campaign, step aside and let the adults do the work that needs to be done. So I’m frustrated when my party fields candidates that have no realistic chance of success.”
And Trump favorite…ahem…cough …Mike Pence hit Trump in regards to the recent midterms, “Candidates focused on the future did well. Candidates that focused on the past or re litigating the past did not fare as well…I would say my former running mate was one of the people talking about the past and it was not helpful.” Haley and Pompeo also spoke and clearly signaled their intentions to run.
One major problem with the challengers to Trump, too many of them. Trump commands a solid 40 percent or more of the party faithful, probably more amongst primary voters. If you split up the remaining 60 percent several ways Trump will always win primaries.
The big beast who could take Trump, Ron DeSantis, is still playing coy, as is fellow potential ace Tim Scott. If Republicans don’t eventually coalesce around one of them they are likely doomed to Trump and all his baggage. Not a good way to run in November 2024.