The ‘electability‘ argument against former President Donald Trump–you know, that one that his Republican opponents have tried to use to avoid criticizing or engaging him directly–has officially lost by a landslide.
It has been apparent for a while that two federal indictments, one New York state and one Georgia state indictment, weren’t hurting him in a head-to-head match against President Joe Biden.
For the most part, the race has been tied.
But, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, Donald Trump would win the election in a blowout if it were held today, by 51% to 42%.
Of course, this poll is an outlier. Most other polls still show a coin flip between Trump and Biden. But that’s the best Biden can do against someone facing a total of 91 felony charges in the four indictments? Also, neither the Washington Post nor ABC News tend to show any favorability toward Trump.
And where the heck are the outlier polls showing Biden with a big lead? The RealClearPolitics polling average has Trump up by 1.5%. A CBS News poll has Trump up by 1%. A Messenger poll has Trump up by 5%. The most recent Rasmussen and Quinnipiac showed Biden up by 1%.
But the biggest losers from recent surveys are Republican candidates who hoped that Trump would just fade away or self-destruct. Guess what? Since 2016, all the folks that expect him to do either are usually disappointed.
The GOP field–except for Chris Christie, and maybe Mike Pence–is captured in a Catch 22. How do you beat Trump without taking him on directly? If you do take him on directly and win, how you avoid offending his supporters that you need to win the general election?
Time is ticking away and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and others must stop simply claiming Trump lacks electability.
The data clearly shows he is very electable in the general election against Biden.
These candidates must step up and make the case why they would be a better president than anyone in the field–including Trump.
That doesn’t mean going full-fledged Chris Christie vindictive attack dog against Donald Trump.
But it could mean making either an ideological case, a competence case, or a good old age case. Keep in mind that Trump is not that much younger than Biden.
DeSantis has nominally made a case that he’s more conservative than Trump on the abortion issue.
Trump had some big accomplishments, remaking the Supreme Court, tax reform, the Abraham Accords, accountability in the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade, and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
But he also had some real failures. Spending under Trump was out of control even before COVID-19. After COVID-19, he effectively put Dr. Anthony Fauci in charge of the government. Parts of the southern border wall were built–but he started it late and never prioritized his central campaign pledge. One could easily argue he was rolled by the administrative state.
These are all vulnerabilities that Republican candidates could hit.
The administrative state bureaucrats that rolled Trump could be a particularly strong point for DeSantis to exploit. DeSantis fired unruly bureaucrats, bad election supervisors, lousy sheriffs and rogue prosecutors in Florida, and the public rallied behind him.
Haley, who has been rising in polls, could also hit Trump for failing to meet his campaign promises. She has so far only noted that Donald Trump is the least popular politician in America. Despite no longer being a feasible strategy, that’s no longer true.
Biden’s approval rating is 37%, according to the Washington Post/ABC poll. That’s one point lower than Donald Trump’s lowest approval rating of 38% right after the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
The public is undeterred by indictments and is more worried that under Joe Biden their life is worse. This makes Biden vulnerable to almost any Republican. But these Republicans are going to have to pivot to a new and more aggressive strategy to topple the frontrunner.
Barbara Joanna Lucas is a writer and researcher in Northern Virginia. She has been a healthcare professional, political blogger, is a proud dog mom, and news junkie.
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