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‘Inevitable’: Has Trump Already Won the Republican Nomination? 

Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.

After looking very vulnerable after the 2022 midterms, Donald Trump is way ahead in the polls as Ron DeSantis fades. Is the Republican nomination contest already over? 

Trump vs. DeSantis: What We Know

As recently as December, it looked like Donald Trump might be done. Fox News and other Murdoch properties had all but excommunicated him. Candidates he backed in swing states in the midterm elections were nearly wiped out, and his November campaign announcement speech received mostly negative reviews. Furthermore, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis soon emerged as the favorite, at least among the GOP donor class. 

But just a few months later, with DeSantis imploding and none of the other GOP candidates so far distinguishing themselves, Trump remains far ahead in just about every poll of the 2024 Republican contest. 

Sure, it remains very early, the first voting won’t take place until next January, and not every candidate who will be is even in the race yet. Trump has been indicted once already, could be indicted other times, and is currently facing a civil rape trial. 

But despite all that, Trump remains comfortably ahead for now and even talking about skipping GOP primary debates

According to the latest GOP primary tracker from the Morning Consult poll, Trump leads the Republican contest with 58 percent support, which is far ahead of second-place DeSantis with 21 percent, followed by former Vice President Mike Pence with 7 percent, and Nikki Haley, Liz Cheney and Vivek Ramaswamy with 3 percent each. 

Politico asked this week whether a Trump win in the GOP primary is “inevitable.” 

“What you need to decide is: Are we just going to put this race on autopilot, ‘he’s ahead, let him win, let’s see what happens, how bad can it be?’” Trump ally-turned-enemy Chris Christie, who is rumored to be considering a White House run himself, said in New Hampshire this week, per Politico. 

That story also closed with an anecdote that while a group of young men had attended the former New Jersey governor’s speech in New Hampshire, they left immediately afterward- because “they were members of the college baseball team and, by attending Christie’s town hall, had gotten out of running at practice.”

While some anti-Trump types, or even those who had supported him in the past but concluded that it was time to move on, had hoped that DeSantis would emerge as a viable alternative, but it’s looking more like that’s not the case. 

“Whoever the nominee is going to be needs to be forward-looking and they need to be focused on the American people, not the grievances of the past, and it certainly can’t be about the 2020 election,” Rep. Mike Lawler, a freshman Republican Congressman from New York, told Politico, in a rare rebuke of that type of Trump for an elected Republican, even if Trump’s name wasn’t mentioned. 

At the same time, there is much concern about Trump’s viability as a general election candidate.

A piece by Jewish Insider, meanwhile, looked at how establishment Republicans, especially those associated with the Republican Jewish Coalition, are worried that the “real reality” is that “Trump seems increasingly likely to win the nomination in 2024.”

“Based upon my circle of friends and my informal survey,” Pennsylvania GOP activist Jon Tucker told Jewish Insider, “there’s just a fervent hope and prayer that, somehow, Trump will get out of the way and allow other candidates to get back in.”

Other donors noted that none of the other candidates are getting traction in the primary contest. Some quoted in the article, however, said they would likely vote for Trump in a general election against President Biden. 

“Donald Trump gave us wokeism,” Eric Levine, a “prominent” GOP fundraiser, told Jewish Insider, adding that he would never vote for Trump again. “Donald Trump gave us the progressives. Donald Trump gave us Joe Biden. His losing the Senate intentionally gave the country to the progressives. And then, of course, Jan. 6 speaks for itself.”

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Expertise and Experience:

 Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.