Quick thought on the GOP presidential primary

Americans for Prosperity Action has endorsed Nikki Haley, which gives her a political heavyweight in her corner and makes it more likely that she will remain in the presidential primary until at least her home state of South Carolina, if not considerably longer.

It doesn’t matter much if I write that it’s time for Chris Christie to drop out, or for Haley to drop out, or for Ron DeSantis to drop out. They’re all going to stay in the race until they feel it’s time to quit, or they see no discernable point in remaining in the race, or they run out of money. And a candidate’s sense of when to quit is often different, and much later, from everyone else’s. I will remind you that Doug Burgum and Asa Hutchinson are still running for president.

But . . . right now, in the RealClearPolitics averages, Trump is at 47 percent in Iowa, 45.7 percent in New Hampshire, and 49.3 percent in South Carolina — which is, remember, a winner-take-all state when it comes to delegates. In the national polling, Trump is at eye-popping 61 percent.

The non-Trump vote out there is currently just barely a majority in those early states, but it remains divided among multiple candidates. If some non-Trump candidate managed to consolidate much of that vote, and either win or come close to winning those early primaries, it’s likely that the 2024 Republican presidential race would transform into an actual competition instead of the current coronation. If one non-Trump Republican won, or came close to winning, Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, it is likely that the least-dedicated Trump supporters might reevaluate their options.

But there is no way to beat Trump with at least three competitors each taking a chunk of the non-Trump vote.

And that is what we are headed for unless something changes. At this point, DeSantis isn’t going anywhere, he’s still running second in most polls. Haley isn’t dropping out, as she currently enjoys the best momentum and is overtaking DeSantis here and there.

Meanwhile, Chris Christie said he intends to stay in the GOP primary race through the Republican convention. Christie’s adamantly anti-Trump campaign is currently garnering about 11 percent in New Hampshire. That’s an 11 percent that Haley and DeSantis would love to have.

It’s the same phenomenon as 2016; ego, arrogance, and unrealistic hopes of some miraculous turnaround are keeping multiple non-Trump candidates in the race and, in some cases, attacking each other instead of making the case for someone besides Trump to be the nominee.

I am fond of quoting the character Rust Cohle from the television series True Detective: “Time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done, or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.”

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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