Key Point: The Republican governor of New Hampshire, who was mentioned as a potential challenger to Donald Trump in the Republican primaries, has written an op-ed on how best to defeat Donald Trump.
How To Make Sure Donald Trump Never Gets Into the Oval Office
The 2024 Republican presidential primary contest is shaping up as one like no other. Donald Trump, the most recent Republican president, is running to return to office. In spite of — or, perhaps, because of — he’s under criminal indictment in four different jurisdictions, Trump has a major lead in every poll of the Republican contest.
The former president is leading, while most of the other candidates running have been muted in their criticisms of him, and especially reluctant to criticize Trump following the indictments. Ron DeSantis, who was supposed to be Trump’s strongest challenger, has run what’s been called one of the worst campaigns in the history of politics. And the candidates willing to directly criticize Trump, like Chris Christie, Mike Pence, and Asa Hutchinson, are polling in single digits, or worse.
One candidate who was seen as a possible challenger to Trump is New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a popular Republican who has long sought to keep the former president at arm’s length. Sununu ultimately decided not to run for president, telling CNN in June that “if we’re only talking about Donald Trump, then we’re only talking about relitigating elections or Jan. 6… We’re only talking about yesterday.”
But that doesn’t mean that Sununu hasn’t been keeping an eye on the race. The governor wrote an op-ed for the New York Times Monday in which he argued how the GOP can defeat Trump.
“If Republicans Narrow the Field, We Will Beat Trump” is the headline of the op-ed, which is far from the first time this sort of argument has been made, especially that Trump, just as he did in 2016, stands to benefit from a crowded Republican primary field.
Sununu begins by offering advice to the rest of the field, ahead of the first debate this week.
“To win, they must break free of Mr. Trump’s drama, step out of his shadow, go on offense, attack, and present their case. Then they need to see if they can catch fire this fall — and if they can’t, they need to step aside, because winnowing down the field of candidates is the single best chance to stop Mr. Trump,” the governor writes.
He also had advice for specific candidates.
“Tim Scott, Ron DeSantis, and Vivek Ramaswamy — candidates with compelling stories, records, and polling — must show voters they are willing to take on Mr. Trump, show a spark, and not just defend him in absentia. Chris Christie, who has done great work exposing Mr. Trump’s weaknesses, must broaden his message and show voters that he is more than the anti-Trump candidate.”
Sununu went on to predict that if Trump is the nominee, the GOP will lose in 2024, “up and down the ballot,” because “every candidate with an (R) next to their name, from school board to the statehouse, will be left to answer for the electoral albatross at the top of the ticket.”
The governor also argues that despite Trump’s national lead, his leads in Sununu’s home state of New Hampshire and Iowa, the first two states on the calendar, are much smaller.
He went on to suggest that the field be narrowed so that a specific challenger to Trump can emerge, although he did not name a specific candidate who he favors, or who he would like to drop out.
“This is why Mr. Trump must face a smaller field. It is only then that his path to victory shrinks. Leaders within the Republican Party — governors, senators, donors and media influencers — have an obligation to help narrow the field… It must be said that candidates who stay in this race when they have no viable path should be called out. They are auditioning for a Trump presidency cabinet that will simply never happen. And even if a Trump administration magically materialized, no public humiliation that great is worth the sacrifice.”
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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. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.