(Editor’s Note: The following opinion column is not an endorsement of any political party or candidate on the part of Newsmax.)
Former Vice President Mike Pence suspending his campaign sums up the attempt to dethrone Donald Trump’s grip on the Republican Party.
After the deflated performance in the 2022 midterm elections, every Republican presidential hopeful wrongly assessed the state of party and primary electorate.
Many political pundits, reporters, pollsters, and party operatives believed there was a lane to not only mount a serious challenge to Donald Trump, but they believed there was a lane to defeat him.
This read of the Republican electorate and Donald Trump was thoroughly misguided and turned out to be completely mistaken.
The autopsy of every single opponent of Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican field will be the same: They misread the Republican electorate and thought there was a path to defeat Donald Trump. There isn’t one.
The political pundits and Republican establishment should know better. After all, they watched Donald Trump crush a very talented primary field in 2016, and then upset Hillary Clinton on election night in November.
Since he came down the escalator at Trump Tower, he has asserted dominance over Republican politics.
Fast forward, Donald Trump isn’t merely leading in a crowded field, as in 2016.
He is dominating the crowded field with 50% to 60% of the vote in recent public polling. His main challenger, Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., continues to fade in the polling, bleeding campaign cash and firing staff. No other Republican candidate is consistently polling over 10%.
Donald Trump is the assertive frontrunner, dominating the entire Republican Primary field and conversation.
There are four examples that exhibit his command of the Republican Party:
1.) Trump is dominating the polling, continuing to consistently lead by 40 points and gaining over 50 percent of the vote.
2.) The energy on the ground. He is the only candidate that is able to draw thousands of voters to his rallies and events.
3.) In quarter 3 fundraising, Trump far surpassed DeSantis and all other challengers, raising $45 million.
For context: Gov. DeSantis raised $15 million, Former Amb. Haley raised $11 million, and Sen. Scott raised $6 million. Trump raised more than all three combined. 4. Trump dominated the Republican debate, without attending.
Leading up to the first Republican debate, the entire conversation was speculation about Trump’s plans to attend the debate.
Typically the debates are an opportunity for candidates to have breakout moments in front of tens of millions of viewers.
Instead, Trump dominated the conversation and even counter programmed it.
At the end of the day, skipping the debate didn’t hurt his polling or standing in the race.
Seemingly nothing hurts Donald Trump’s standing with Republican voters or his dominance specifically over this primary.
One of the truest statements Trump ever said happened in 2016, when he jokingly said “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”
“It’s, like, incredible.”
It turns out a majority of Republican voters are Fifth Avenue Republicans.
Following the Jan. 6 Capitol Attack, the media and even Republican elected officials wrongly thought Jan. 6 would break Trump’s grip over the party.
But nothing symbolizes how wrong that analysis was than Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif.
On Jan. 13, 2021, then Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called for censuring former-President Donald Trump.
Exactly two weeks later, McCarthy trekked down to Mar-a-lago asking for Trump’s help with fundraising, recognizing that Trump was still the kingmaker of the party.
In politics of the past, getting indicted would end a politician’s career.
The indictments only strengthened him with the Republican base, causing the party (and even some of his primary opponents) to rally behind Trump for what they perceive as a partisan weaponized attack, an attempt by President Joe Biden’s Justice Department to put his leading political opponent in prison.
The four indictments of Donald Trump have served as rocket fuel for both his poll numbers and small dollar fundraising.
The scariest thing for President Biden should be that the indictments haven’t harmed Trump in the general election polling.
Trump is defeating Biden in numerous recent polls, including CNN, CBS, ABC, and CNBC. Even in swing states key to winning the White House, Trump is beating Biden by four points in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
In fact, the Real Clear Politics Average gives Trump the overall lead over Biden.
The autopsy of every single opponent of Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican field will be the same: They misread the Republican electorate and thought there was a path to defeat Donald Trump.
There isn’t one.
Trump dominates the Republican Primary field for three reasons:
1.) They see him as a fighter, a wrecking ball to the establishment.
2.) They like his policies on the border wall, trade, and foreign policy. His policies dominate the Republican platform.
3.) They believe he is the best candidate to defeat Joe Biden, by a whopping 30 point margin in Fox polling.
The Republican Party is Donald Trump’s party, no matter how much the establishment and donor class kick and scream.
He is inevitable.
Garrett Ventry is the founding principal at GRV Strategies. He is a former senior communications adviser for the Senate Judiciary Committee and chief of staff to Congressman Ken Buck.
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