Writing in The Bulwark/Triad, Jonathon V. Last reports that Nikki Haley Needs an Act of God.
Unless something happens to Trump, there is no future apart from Trump. And that applies to all would-be 2024 GOP candidates.
Every Republican who wants to be president in 2024 is caught in the impossible position of (1) Desperately wanting Trump to go away while simultaneously (2) Hugging him as tightly as possible in the hopes that if he goes away, he or she can take over his coalition.
Here is the plain truth: If Donald Trump runs in 2024, he will be the Republican nominee. Full stop. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if Trump declares early, then no other Republican would challenge him. He’ll basically run unopposed, with the field clearing itself.
The CPAC straw poll tells that story pretty clearly.
Trump wins at 55%. DeSantis gets a distant second.
Funnily enough, the poll that really shows Trump’s strength is is the second poll they conducted, wherein they asked the attendees, What if Trump doesn’t run?
Forget Ron DeSantis at the top. CPAC was held in his backyard. Look further down: Don Jr. clocks in at third with 8 percent. Ivanka winds up tied with Nikki Haley at 3 percent.
But here’s the most meaningful result: Look where Mike Pence is in the No Trump poll: 1 percent.
In a race without Donald Trump in it, Trump’s vice president polls at 1 percent. And that’s the same number he gets even if Trump is running.
That’s the number that every Republican presidential hopeful is looking at because it signals that if they are crosswise with Trump, even a little bit, then they have no future.
Here is the dirty secret of the Republican politics: All of those people strutting around Orlando testifying to the greatness of Donald Trump are secretly hoping for an act of God that makes him disappear. They need an indictment or a financial collapse or a health event to drive him permanently out of politics. They are praying for Cyrus Vance and hoping that the Manhattan district attorney finds something criminal in Trump’s tax returns. They are thrilled that Twitter and Facebook kicked him out.
They’ll never say any of this publicly, but their futures are hostage to Trump. And unless some exogenous event kneecaps Trump and tarnishes his children, they might as well retire from politics and go work for Goldman Sachs.