For cripes sake: Never Trumpers should not be rooting for Trump to run again

AP Photo/Ben Gray

You would think this would be clear enough from the name. If you’re Never Trump, you should want him to never (again) come within a thousand miles of being president.

Pretty straightforward.

When you join the “No Homers Club,” the first — and really only — rule is that Homer isn’t allowed in.

And yet, some of my fellow NTers seem to be struggling with the concept:

Some Trump foes have picked up on the former President’s jealousy and are using it to advance their own objectives. Next week, Palm Beach televisions, perhaps including those in Mar-a-Lago, will once again air a commercial by the Lincoln Project intended to remind Trump that DeSantis is the new GOP “it” guy.

Rick Wilson, one of the ex-Republicans behind the Lincoln Project, is hoping to provoke a very specific reaction from Trump.

“We want Trump to kill his own babies,” Wilson said. “We believe if we narrow the field and it’s only Trump in 2024, it’s an easy choice for Americans to say ‘no.'”

Some Lincoln Project critics snorted at that comment, remarking that of course the LP is eager to see him as the nominee again. They made mega-bucks off of his last candidacy. He’s their meal ticket. They want him back in the fray for the same reason CNN and MSNBC do, to get people to pay attention to them again.

But Wilson isn’t the only person on the other side encouraging Trump to bring it on. My jaw dropped when I read this quote in WaPo’s story today about Biden reassuring Democrats that he’ll run again in 2024:

Trump, 75, has taken to hinting strongly that he intends another campaign, which has strengthened the rationale for some Democrats of having Biden back on the top of the ticket. Democrats expect Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and his continued false denials of the 2020 election result, to be a drag on his campaign in 2024.

Barry Goodman, a Democratic donor who served on Biden’s national finance committee for his 2020 presidential campaign, said many donors are “praying that Trump runs.”

“I think no matter who runs, a Democrat beats him,” he said of Trump. “At the end of the day, people are not going to put that despot in office one more time.”

Have we learned nothing?

Does Barry Goodman not hear how much he sounds like Hillary Clinton advisors in 2016 who cheered Trump on in the primary, believing he’d be a pushover in the general election if he somehow grabbed the Republican nomination?

Let me say this slowly so that it sinks in:

He
Absolutely
Can
Win
Again

It is true, as Wilson and Goodman suggest, that he’s the weakest hand Republicans could play in 2024. There are some voters who’d otherwise be open to voting for a normie Republican nominee in the Glenn Youngkin mold who’d hold their noses and opt for the Democrat over a twice-impeached conspiracy theorist who tried to overturn the last election. If the GOP nominated Ron DeSantis, say, I think he’d be a solid favorite against 115-year-old Joe Biden and an almost prohibitive favorite against Kamala Harris. But Trump would also be a solid favorite against Harris and no worse than a coin flip against Biden. He finished 50,000 votes short of a second electoral college win last year despite having presided over a pandemic disaster, never once averaging above 50 percent in job approval during his four years, and seeming chronically unhinged. He’d get to face a senescent Joe Biden in 2024 with the latter having to run on his own dismal record this time, not just taking pot shots at his opponent’s.

He can win. This dissolute, decadent country would happily roll the dice again on a coup-plotter despite the real risk that the election would break America, whatever the outcome. Either Trump would win fair and square and the 53 percent of the country that ended up not voting for him would come face to face with what the other 47 percent are willing to countenance in the name of owning the libs. Or Trump would lose again but this time he’d demand that the Republican majorities in Congress refuse to certify his opponent’s victory on some bare allegation of fraud a la 2024 and have the House decide the election instead. The best-case scenario in that situation would be that the congressional GOP defies him, breaking only the party. The worst case is that they obey him and declare him president, which — no exaggeration — would likely trigger a crack-up of the United States as blue states ultimately moved to secede, unwilling to be disenfranchised in a soft coup.

All of this is foreseeable and all of it could almost certainly be avoided simply by Republicans nominating someone else, as there’s no one else in the party with the will or the cultish devotion needed to try to overturn an election. But the GOP won’t avoid it. Trump will be nominated by acclamation if he wants to run again. And there are more than enough “Never Democrat” voters on the right and in the center to keep things close in the general election. Sure, there’s a nonzero chance that the United States might dissolve if we put him on a national ballot again, but have you seen inflation lately?

We get the country we deserve. Whatever happens, that’ll be the consolation.

I’ll leave you with this, a reminder that Trump’s propaganda campaign last fall has left most of his party primed for a “stop the steal” coup-attempt sequel in 2024.