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Is It Possible For Someone Who Wins The GOP Primary To Also Win A General Election?

Think Of All The Baggage

Yesterday, John Cornyn, Texas’ senior senator, and a candidate to eventually replace McConnell as Senate GOP leader, held a remote press conference and made some headlines in the Dallas Morning News for an overtly anti-Trump statement. Todd Gillman asked him whether Trump’s performance on CNN town hall last week had given him pause about his efforts to return to the White House. Cornyn replied that “We need to come up with an alternative. I think President Trump’s time has passed him by and what’s the most important thing to me is we have a candidate who can actually win… I don’t think President Trump understands that when you run in a general election, you have to appeal to voters beyond your base. There’s no question that President Trump has some enthusiastic supporters as part of his base. That works well for him in a Republican primary, but not well when you need to expand your appeal in a general election.”

Appealing to voters beyond the MAGA base isn’t something Trump’s top rival, Meatball Ron DeSantis (married to an even worse monster than himself!!), is too good at either. He’s announcing next Wednesday. Today told his big money supporters that only he can beat Biden: “You have basically three people at this point that are credible in this whole thing. Biden, Trump and me. And I think of those three, two have a chance to get elected president— Biden and me, based on all the data in the swing states, which is not great for the former president and probably insurmountable because people aren’t going to change their view of him.” Between Trump and the media, swing voters who lean Republican and swing voters who lean Democrat have grown to dislike DeSantis and dislike his policies.

But are any of them able to appeal to mainstream general election voters? Pence is about to announce. Is anyone worse on policy? He has a long putrid record and MAGAts hate his guts. I don’t know what he thinks he’s doing. Anthony Scaramucci endorsed Chris Christie, so we know Christie will get at least one vote… but who— other than some crooked hedge fund operators— likes him and thinks he would make a good candidate, let alone a good president? Asa Hutchinson? Sununu? Nikki Haley? Tim Scott? None of them are ever going to get into double digits among Republicans let alone among normal people.

And then yesterday we learned that North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is probably going to jump into the race. Who? He was a software developer who lucked out when Microsoft bought his company, Great Plains Software, for over a billion dollars in December 2000. He’s been buying elections ever since. He spent over $3 million to win the GOP gubernatorial primary (against the establishment candidate) in 2016. One of his big accomplishments was to ban abortion in North Dakota— probably not something to attract cross-over voters in a general election. (He also banned teaching critical race theory in public schools.) Burgum is also a homophobic and transphobic extremist.

No wonder crackpot fringe candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is garnering some support.

The latest from Republican polling firm Rasmussen:

  • Trump- 62%

  • DeSantis- 17%

  • Pence- 6%

  • Haley- 5%

  • Hutchinson- 3%

  • Ramaswamy- 2%

Reuters had a poll of Republican voters out in the field at the same time. These were the results:

  • Trump- 49%

  • DeSantis- 21%

  • Pence- 5%

  • Haley- 4%

  • Ramaswamy- 4%

  • Scott- 1%

  • Christie- 1%

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