Will Republican Presidential Nominees All Support the Eventual Nominee? – Republicans fear a nightmare scenario for the 2024 presidential election. What if Donald Trump loses the GOP nomination and refuses to endorse the winning candidate?
That could eliminate many Donald Trump supporters from voting for the ticket. Without a united coalition of the rightwing base, it would be difficult if not impossible to defeat President Joe Biden.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel fears this possibility so much that she is trying to get all candidates to support the eventual nominee should they fail in their quest for the White House.
Will They Agree to Ultimately Play Nice?
Donald Trump has already said he would not commit to such a pledge. He told a conservative radio talk show host that “it would depend on who the nominee was.”
Never Trump With an Emphasis on Never
Another possible contender, former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, already said he would not support Donald Trump if the former president became the nominee.
No Oaths from this Potential Candidate
Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, who may have presidential aspirations, has reportedly told McDaniel that he would not agree to a pledge.
Hutchinson does not believe in loyalty oaths, and he thinks that Trump already disqualified himself for actions leading up to the January 6 insurrection.
Pledge to Support or No Debate Participation
The RNC and McDaniel are undeterred. The committee will soon meet about the rules of GOP presidential debates soon and one option on the table is to make candidates sign the nomination support pledge before they can debate.
Requirements Before They Take the Stage
This is not the only controversial debate rule that may come out of RNC plans.
If there are numerous Republican candidates who do not fit on a debate stage, the GOP may demand that candidates meet a support threshold of polling and fundraising strength.
This is similar to what the Democrats required of their presidential candidates in 2019 and 2020. The GOP debates for this presidential cycle may start this year in July or August. So far only two candidates have emerged officially – Donald Trump and former UN Ambassador and Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley – but many more are expected to jump in the race.
Who Will Survive Donald Trump’s Wrath?
Trump with his penchant for insulting nicknames and thermonuclear negative campaigning will likely incur victims in his wake who will not support the nominee, should he win.
Even Ted Cruz in 2016 refused to endorse Trump, although the Texas senator later became one of Trump’s notable cheerleaders.
Trump-DeSantis Blood Bath
If Florida Governor Ron DeSantis runs, there could be immediate bad blood between him and Donald Trump. The former president has already dubbed DeSantis as “Desanctimonious” for the governor’s alleged self-righteous indignation in the culture wars. Trump has also shared a photo of what he said was DeSantis with high school students at a party early in the governor’s career.
The worst is yet to come. The battle could become so bloody between the two that they may refuse to support each other after the primary.
Haley and Donald Trump Not At Each Other’s Throats Yet
Trump has not started insulting Haley yet and he has said the “more the merrier” when she announced her run for the White House. Haley seems to have a fragile truce with Trump and both are circling each other waiting for someone to strike first.
No Donald Trump, No MAGA?
All presidential campaigns are brutal affairs with the accompanying trench warfare of negative attacks. Trump supporters are the most rabid and a loss by their idol would likely result in many MAGA faithful refusing to vote for the nominee. It would likely take a definitive statement from Trump to encourage them to support the GOP winner should he fail. Trump could even decide to run as an Independent if voting in the primary does not go his way.
The RNC will likely not get a pledge in written form from all candidates, even if this is a requirement for the debate. They could all refuse this type of litmus test and McDaniel may find it a futile effort. Thus, complete Republican unity for 2024 may be a bridge too far after a rough and tumble primary.
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Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.