In an audio Twitter event with Elon Musk, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis formally entered the 2024 Republican Party primary field last night. There certainly must be a host of happy
people in the GOP welcoming the newcomer’s presence, but there are others who disagree, believing it’s time for the non-Trump candidates to bow out of the way and leave the field – and the country’s future – to the former president who many think was cheated out of his second term.
Who’s right? Is there a set answer? Maybe both sides?
In one of my favorite episodes of “Everybody Loves Raymond” from decades ago, lead series character Ray Barone’s brother, Robert, posed a question that I’ve often pondered in times of uncertainty: “Is it possible to be hot and cold, at the same time?”
On those few occasions where I’ve been sweating but also felt chilled, I’ve wondered the same thing.
By the same token, is it possible to simultaneously agree and disagree with someone you respect? How many times have we read a commentary or opinion piece and nodded our heads through the entire thing only to conclude, “well, he (or she) is mostly right, but…”? That’s the beauty of free speech and thought. If John Locke wrote that no group could ever agree on the meaning of a single word, then how could we be expected to come together on a political issue?
Can we agree and disagree at the same time? In a piece titled “Post-Durham Report, Is It Time for GOP Candidates to Stop Campaigning and Support Trump?”, the irreplaceable Roger L. Simon wrote last week at The Epoch Times:
“I’m beginning to think this might not be the time for the Republican Party to indulge in the luxury of an internal primary fight that often can be damaging. The moment may have come for Donald Trump’s competition to suspend their campaigns in favor of the former president.
“When I say suspend, that’s exactly what I mean—take a pause, given the gravity of the situation. They can resume their campaigns if things change. The symbolism of the suspension would be powerful to the American public. The unity would be impressive. This is especially true in light of the Durham Report and the revelation from the House Oversight Committee that nine members of the Biden family apparently received (as of now) a total of $10 million from China and Romania for doing absolutely nothing. “The argument against Trump by other candidates is that his policies are good, but they can better pursue them without his ‘baggage.’ But as the report shows, that baggage exists almost entirely because of the most horrendous conspiracy in American history.”
There goes the dilemma again. I basically agree with most of what Simon wrote, but I also disagree… somewhat. This is one of those pictures where nothing is black and white, more like battleship gray with little black and white dots littered throughout the canvas. As with everything else where Donald Trump is involved, it’s hard to make a blanket statement about the man and have it cover everything.
Yes, Trump’s post-inauguration “baggage” exists almost entirely because of the bogus Trump/Russian collusion travesty, but we shouldn’t forget that he’d accumulated a boxcar full of it before he’d ever recited his oath of office, too. In light of the astonishing events of late, if you don’t remember how bad it got during the 2016 GOP primaries, perhaps you should solicit Ted Cruz’s, or Carly Fiorina’s or Marco Rubio’s (“Little Marco”) opinion on the subject.
The only reason the stupid “Access Hollywood” tape was a major thing in the lead-up to the 2016 national election was because of Trump’s checkered past with three marriages and a reputation for dallying with women (those he was married to and those he wasn’t) that he couldn’t hope to shake in a hundred campaigns. Or lifetimes. Almost the same thing.
Pair that repute with the very provable facts that he’d been like a chameleon on a number of very salient issues over the years, most notably abortion. Trump had a lot of consistencies, it’s true, but there were many conservatives who remarked that they couldn’t possibly support Trump back then because they couldn’t trust him to keep his word – that he was only espousing his current positions so as to win the primaries. The naysayers speculated he’d revert back to his “Trump first” core when the rubber hit the proverbial road, leaving “America First” along the side like an Eminent Domain claim to park his limousines.
And while I think much of the “baggage” will disappear now that Trump’s been all-but vindicated by Durham’s report, the latest information on Hunter Biden’s laptop, the myriad of investigations being conducted by House Republicans and the subsequent revelations (by Tucker Carlson and others) about the uneven nature of the January 6 “tourism riot”, there are many, many Americans who’ve formulated opinions about the former president that they’re not about to change because of a special counsel’s say so (which they wouldn’t read about, ever).
It's a well-known fact that Trump trails badly in polls with the least informed of society, the ones who only care about preserving a “birthing human’s” right to suck a growing fetus out of her/his/their/xe’s? womb. Or the nutcases who were suckered by the science establishment to believe that “climate change” will envelop the planet and doom us all within x number of years. Or the idiots who don’t realize that the so-called “rich” pay most of the income taxes in this country, even if the percentage they layout isn’t always as high as liberals would wish it to be.
Or the segment of Democrats who still insist there’s such a thing as “voter suppression” and America needs a president who will work to guarantee “voting rights” for those barred by Christians, white supremacists and/or Republicans from casting their ballots. This group also thinks Disney is a non-partisan entertainment corporation that just tries to make kids smile.
These are the American voters who watch CNN, MSNBC, the three networks’ news operations and supplement their daily educations by reading the Washington Post and New York Times. The icing on the cake is a regular tune-in to the old crows on “The View” to hear non-stop reinforcement of just how awful Trump is from a collection of “woke” hags who never had an original objective opinion about anything.
Who’s right? Not them.
In between the previous group, which probably numbers about forty-percent of the population, and the “real” news consuming conservative folks, which also comes in at about forty-percent, are the so-called “swing” voters. Many of these also hate Trump for whatever reason, and they’re the ones who probably didn’t follow what was going on during the Trump years, just surmising that he was in trouble all the time because the TV anchors said he was.
These “independent” voters claim to favor neither party, though they must have leanings. In today’s times there’s no such thing as a true “moderate”, since the issue positions of the two parties are so far apart on practically everything except for maybe the Ukraine/Russia war, which the Washington “Uniparty” supports because it means big government $$$ for their backers.
Some of these Republicans or Republican-leaners would be susceptible to a pitch from someone other than Donald Trump. And this is part of the reason why having Trump run unopposed is a bad idea.
Another factor, though somewhat less than the others, is the general interest in the “horse race” that accompanies every campaign. If Trump were to run unopposed, there would be no opinion polls, no candidate forums, no debates, no special interest features, etc. In their place would be a ton of negative stories concocted by the establishment media to drum up unfavorable opinion of Trump and whomever he chooses for his running mate.
These reports will serve to solidify opinion on Trump, both for those who love him and those who hate him. Because they need the readers and clicks, the mainstream (what Rush Limbaugh used to call “drive-by”) media will still cover Trump, but they’ll fashion new and creative ways to try and make him look weak and… crazy.
Not that they wouldn’t do it even if there’s a primary race to cover, but here’s thinking it might not be so good for the former president to leave the media narrative to the journalism industry by themselves. If Trump had intra-party competitors, on the other hand, the issues themselves would capture voters’ imaginations rather than Trump’s legal foibles alone.
With the recent entry of Robert Kennedy Jr. into the Democrat primary picture, we can anticipate Democrats will draw quite a lot of interest for their own race, even if the liberals don’t hold traditional debates. The Democrat establishment will destroy Kennedy’s candidacy in due time, but the media coverage could possibly help senile Joe Biden’s reelection campaign.
It goes without saying there are good arguments for having a large GOP candidate field for 2024 and also a good case for leaving it to Donald Trump by himself. Party unity is a fleeting concept, and there would be criticism either way. Trump has enjoyed a run of good luck lately and it remains to be seen whether Gov. Ron DeSantis’s decision to run for president has a noticeable impact on the polls.
Joe Biden economy
Biden cognitive decline
January 6 Committee
Build Back Better
Marjorie Taylor Green
2024 presidential election