When Fewer Options Mean a Real Choice

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

I am glad to see that I'm not the only one to notice that the Trump machine has made time of the essence in defeating its champion.

Recently, George Will urged Republican candidates to withdraw from the primary to give breathing room for a viable challenger, and at least one newspaper editorial has followed suit.

Both pieces are worth reading in full, but George Will captures the problem well:

Image modified from work of Jon Tyson, via Unsplash, license.
By catalyzing a coalescence around Haley, Scott could transform the nation's political mood. As long as the Republican race pits Donald Trump against a cluster of lagging pursuers, the nominating electorate cannot ponder a binary choice. When, however, it is Trump against one experienced, polished, steely and unintimidated adversary, voters can internalize this exhilarating reality: There is a choice suitable for a great nation. [bold added, link omitted]
Interestingly, Will appeals to Tim Scott to take the lead on this, which I think is wise: Scott is far enough behind that he might be reconsidering his run anyway. This is despite his long career as a successful politician (unlike newcomer Doug Burgum) and his being well-regarded in most quarters (unlike Mike Pence, who will get no support from Trump supporters and will have trouble with more secular voters).

Scott would have the most to gain, both for his long-term political career and for the good of the country he seems to love, of all the other candidates.

One would hope that his example would lead to other concessions and a narrow-enough field -- Haley alone or with only one or two non-Trump challengers, whom she could manage -- that the prospect of a real choice could rally non-Trump Republicans before it is too late to avert the rematch nobody really wants.

-- CAV

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