Op-ed by Elad Hakim | Photo: Alamy
President Donald J. Trump is the leading Republican candidate for president. He is obliterating all Republican contenders and is beating Joe Biden. Trump’s lead has only increased in recent weeks and months, further bolstering the irrefutable fact that Americans want Trump to be the Republican nominee for president. As a result, there is no compelling reason for the other Republican candidates to stay in the race.
Since the day Trump announced his reelection bid, he has led all Republican contenders. This lead has only grown since then. According to a recent Morning Consult poll, Trump is at 61%, which is 48 percentage points more than his nearest polling rival. Trump’s lead has grown despite the politicized/weaponized indictments and the efforts by some to remove his name from the ballot (there are currently active cases in Colorado and Minnesota).
Despite Trump’s commanding and consistent lead over the Republican field, some Republican contenders continue to stay in the race, thereby depleting funds that could be utilized against the Democrats and Democrat efforts to “win” the 2024 election.
There is no compelling reason for the remaining Republican “contenders” to stay in the race. To the contrary, there are only a few reasons why they continue to do so, none of which are praiseworthy.
The criminal cases
The most likely reason why the non-Trump candidates refuse to drop out is because they believe and/or hope that Trump will be convicted in one or more of the politicized criminal cases, thereby rendering him “unelectable.” In other words, if Trump is convicted, they are likely hoping to come in and “sweep” up the Trump voters who they believe will abandon Trump and vote for a Republican if Trump is convicted and is somehow not the nominee.
This assumption shows a deep misunderstanding of the MAGA movement and the MAGA, Trump-loving voters. Specifically, even if Trump is convicted, a conviction would not prevent him from running and would not cause his supporters to abandon him.
To the contrary, given the large percentage of people who view the criminal cases as nothing more than the politicized weaponization of the justice system against the leading political opponent and presumptive Republican nominee, Trump would likely continue to enjoy tremendous support.
Removal from ballot
Along these same lines, the non-Trump candidates could also be banking on the possibility that Trump’s name will be removed from the ballot on one or more states pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment. Were this to happen, they could come in and “save the day” for the Republicans by giving voters a self-proclaimed better and more electable alternative to Trump.
This, too, reflects a grave misunderstanding of the MAGA movement and those supporting President Trump. More particularly, if Trump’s name is removed from the ballot, many Trump supporters will either refrain from voting or simply write Trump’s name as a write-in on the ballot. In other words, Trump voters will not reward another Republican candidate who failed to fight for and support Trump against the unjustified and weaponized efforts to destroy him and his movement.
The same argument likely holds if the GOP tries to keep Trump off the ballot or tries to disqualify him as a candidate if he is convicted in one or more of the politicized criminal cases.
Voters associate the other candidates as an extension of a party they no longer trust
Another factor working against the remaining candidates is that many Republican voters no longer trust that the Republican Party has their best interests in mind and associate the non-Trump candidates as an extension or arm of the Republican Party.
Whether or not this is an accurate comparison is up for debate, yet this does not diminish from the fact that many Republican voters view Trump as the only person who has their best interests in mind, does not rely on special interest groups and big-money donors, and who is willing and tough enough to push back against the Democrats, RINOs, and the swamp.
It is time to face reality
The remaining Republican candidates must come to grips with the fact that they will not defeat Trump in a fair race. By staying in the race, they are simply delaying their inevitable defeat and wasting time, money, and resources that could be utilized to defeat Biden and the Democrats. The upcoming third GOP debate is a perfect example of wasteful and needless spending, especially considering how the first two debate were “received.”
As reported by Politico, the first debate drew 12.8 million viewers, while the first GOP debate in August 2015, which included Trump, garnered 24 million viewers. According to The Hill, Trump said the following on Truth Social, “The Debate on FoxNews had a hard time with the proverbial RATINGS. It was one of the lowest rated EVER, if not THE LOWEST. It showed that many of those participating are “second tier” and merely ‘pretenders to the throne’.” Unsurprisingly, Trump’s interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which aired at the same time as the debate, did extremely well.
The second debate fared no better. According to NBC News, the second debate only drew 9.3 million viewers which, according to Nielsen ratings, “represents — by a significant margin — the lowest TV audience for any Republican presidential debate since the start of the 2016 cycle, when Trump first became a candidate.”
The ratings crash is not surprising given Trump’s absence and the fact that the candidates spent much of their time shouting in unison and/or above one another in hopes of being heard.
Rather than wasting time, resources, and money, all Republican contenders should put their own self-interests aside, bow out of the race, and support Trump. The American people clearly want Trump, and the Republican Party should, for once, listen to the people.
Mr. Hakim is an attorney and columnist. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Thinker, and other online publications. He is also a regular guest on OANN’s Tipping Point, and has appeared on Newsmax, Steadfast and Loyal Podcast with Allen West, The Dave Weinbaum Show, and Real America’s Voice. The views expressed herein are the author’s own and do not constitute legal advice.