Tomorrow is opening day for my Tampa Bay Rays so I’m in full baseball mode even when I’m writing about politics. The Republicans’ current situation reminds me of a team that knows it’s starter can’t finish the game but refuses to get a viable reliever up in the bullpen.
Donald Trump has a wide lead in the “pre-season” polling but the vast majority of political pros don’t think he can win in the general election. To run a candidate that is almost a certain loser in a winnable race is political malpractice.
Many people would disagree with my premise in that they feel the Republicans are waiting for Trump to falter and Ron DeSantis to take his place at the head of the pack. (How large the pack is will help determine Trump’s primary fate.) The problem with that is that DeSantis is already showing signs of not being “ready for primetime”. (In “bullpen” terms – not getting his fastball over.)
If somehow he won the primary, I do think DeSantis would be viable in the general. (He would have overcome his thus far displayed flaws in his yet to be declared campaign.) My succinct assessment of DeSantis is that I think he would make both a terrible and dangerous president. But that is another matter outside of today’s discussion.
Nikki Haley is still in the race but if she dropped out already and I didn’t hear about it that wouldn’t be surprising; she isn’t exactly making a huge impact.
Chris Christie is making noises about a June announcement but he is only viable in the primary if Trump is already out. To me, the most surprising fact about Christie is that he isn’t already in federal housing and I’m not making reference to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Christie is basically a hot air machine who would appeal to MAGA voters looking for a Trump replacement. He, like Trump circa 2016, is entertaining enough to get a lot of earned media (a/k/a free press). I just can’t see Trump out of the race by the end of this June.
Tim Scott makes noises about declaring but can you really see this MAGA dominated Republican primary electorate choosing a Black man?
Continuing with the baseball analogy: if I’m the Republicans’ manager (that is part of their problem in that nobody with wisdom and experience appears to be taking charge of that “team”) my starter (Trump) is looking worn and it’s still in the early innings. I have to get somebody who can give me shutdown innings up in the pen. I just don’t see that happening.
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