Navigating the 2024 GOP Primary: Can Republicans Unify to Dethrone Trump?
Remember 2016? Pokémon GO was sweeping the nation, Drake was dominating the charts, and Donald Trump was running a presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton. He didn’t just waltz into the GOP nomination that summer, though—Trump had to fend off a handful of Republican rivals to secure his spot at the top. He wasn’t necessarily dominating in every state primary, but all of the votes cast against him were distributed among a variety of different candidates, making it hard for just one competitor to accumulate enough support to topple Trump.
If the GOP wants a new nominee, every candidate—besides one agreed-upon individual like Nikki Haley or Ron DeSantis—will have to drop out and endorse them. Just look at what the Democrats did in 2020 to help get Joe Biden the party's nomination. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders led in polling at the time, with no main opposition and a variety of other candidates vying for votes.
Right before Super Tuesday, though, nearly every candidate but Biden dropped out and endorsed the future president, clearing his path to victory over Sanders. Republicans need to take note of this strategy if they want even the slightest chance at beating Trump in a primary contest. They need to choose one candidate to challenge him head-on and all get behind that person. If they fail to do so, they’re all going to be in for their own painful defeats.
The only problem is that, with eight candidates running against him, there’s no sign that anyone can consolidate enough support individually without all of the others dropping out.
The opposition vote is spread out amongst Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, and a few others. This is a recipe for failure if you’re in the anti-Trump wing of the GOP. He’s a beatable candidate in theory, but the Trump train isn’t going to derail until his opposition rallies behind one single candidate.